New Singing Casino Drama 'Viva Laughlin' Sure to Go Bust

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

New Singing Casino Drama 'Viva Laughlin' Sure to Go Bust


Byline: Ted Cox

Far be it from me to discourage groundbreaking television, but sometimes there's a reason certain ground isn't broken.

"Viva Laughlin" debuts at 9 p.m. today on CBS' WBBM Channel 2. It's a new U.S. version of a British series, "Viva Blackpool," set in a seaside gambling resort. Here it's transported to the desert city of Laughlin, Nev., outside Las Vegas.

Yet, as few U.S. viewers have seen the British original, that doesn't figure to create much confusion. No, the major problem for "Viva Laughlin" is the connotations it raises with a certain infamous prime-time flop on these shores: "Cop Rock."

Yes, the major broadcast networks are back with another stab at creating a musical TV series - and no I don't mean like "Unplugged" or "American Bandstand" or even "Shindig" or "Hullabaloo." I mean like a movie musical, where characters burst into song at moments of high passion, as in Steven Bochco's misguided attempt to make a musical police show.

Look, I like movie musicals. Although I have to admit I prefer the more contemporary "realistic" musical, a la the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night," there's nothing like "Singin' in the Rain" or "West Side Story" or even those great Astaire & Rogers musicals like "Top Hat" to brighten a viewer's mood.

And even that hyper-conscious style can be done effectively with postmodern irony (see Gurinder Chadha's "Bride & Prejudice").

Yet, formulaic as most TV series are, that formula has never adapted itself to the musical. TV doesn't necessarily have to be "realistic," but it does have to be believable, and something about people bursting into song as they walk along - or as they sell an infant for crack money, as was the case with "Cop Rock" - just doesn't translate to the small screen.

"Laughlin" isn't likely to change that, not because it has gambling addicts sing about their woes, but mainly because, as courageous as it is as a musical, it couldn't be more tiresome as a TV drama.

"Laughlin" opens trying to sneak in that it's a musical. Lloyd Owen stars as Ripley Holden, who has recently swapped a chain of convenience stores for a shot at the big time running a casino.

He goes driving down the highway and strutting through his hotel while singing along with Elvis' "Viva Las Vegas."

Hey, he's simply got the song running through his head and decides to join in. What could be more normal? Maybe it's a little queer that he gets up and does some hip-swiveling on a table, but the guy's opening a casino. He's got a right to be excited.

All pretenses toward "normalcy" go out the window when Holden's rival, Nicky Fontana, played by Hollywood star, Broadway hoofer and, not coincidentally, show producer Hugh Jackman, displays how evil he is by belting out "Sympathy for the Devil. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Singing Casino Drama 'Viva Laughlin' Sure to Go Bust
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.