Short Takes: Nov. 9, 1992

TELEVISION

Orwell Meets the Marx Brothers

When Larry Gelbart's Broadway comedy MASTERGATE opened three years ago, it was deemed a parody of the Iran-contra hearings. With the passage of time -- and a sharp TV adaptation for Showtime -- it seems bigger than that: a definitive satire of the obfuscating language of government and the media. The setting is a congressional hearing investigating a CIA diversion of funds, but the details are drowned in dialogue that sounds like a cross between Orwell and the Marx Brothers. "My involvement was strictly limited to the extent of my participation," huffs one official. A...

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