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Jean and Pablo dispenses offbeat humor and news

The Jean and Pablo Show
Saturday nights at 1 a.m.
TV36, MIT Student Cable.
By Joanna E. Stone
Arts Editor

One of the senior gift ideas written on flame sheets last term was help for MIT's student cable station, TV36. The idea didn't receive very many votes in the senior gift survey, but no matter -- TV36 has recently found some of the help it needs. Saturday a new program called The Jean and Pablo Show aired in its now-weekly 1 a.m. slot (technically, already Sunday).

The show made its debut with the usual TV36 technical problems (the first five minutes were completely silent, as the audio apparently was not hooked up) and with quite a few rough edges. But the program shows promise. It has all the offbeat humor and interactive audience capability (via call-ins) that students have come to seek in their late night entertainment. In addition, The Jean and Pablo Show offers actual news and commentary.

The hosts of The Jean and Pablo Show, Jenn Duncan '92 and Paulo Pereira '93 have a marvelous screen presence and there's a humorous and seemingly natural give and take between them that is wonderful to watch. It should be noted that the hosts are both good friends of mine, and that I write with the additional bias of having been program coordinator for TV36.

Rather than attempt to portray the television studio as one of normal to large dimensions, a technique used by former TV36 shows, The Jean and Pablo Show used the seemingly infinitesimal size of the studio to their advantage, wringing humor and pity from the cramped manner in which they are forced to deliver their hour-long show.

After brief introductions, the pilot show began with the "roller-blading cameraman" taking the audience on a stroll down the Infinite Corridor in search of "a rare commodity." We get a new, rather headache-invoking, perspective from this roller-blade journey. The ten-minute segment, split into two parts, with a greatly appreciated fast forward during the second half by one of the show hosts, had an Extra Strength Excedrin commercial quality to it. The trip was interspersed with candid interviews along the way, such as a brief elevator conversation with one of my most loved professors, Ilona Karmel. The segment was drawn out, but it did make a strong statement. The rare commodity being sought turned out to be a women's restroom.

Using typical prime-time TV talk show techniques, The Jean and Pablo Show plugged its high point, "The UA Exclusive" -- billed at the beginning but not shown until the second half, holding eager audience members glued to the screen while "Jonathan and Karen" sang favorite TV show theme songs.

In order to allow Jonathan and Karen to perform their musical interlude, Jenn and Paulo had to get up out of their seats and squat in a corner. But the claustrophobic feeling created from watching this was offset by the superbly shot on-location UA exclusive.

An interview with poll workers in Lobby 7 and with the supposedly armed guards, Cambridge policemen who turned out not to be armed at all, set the stage for an in-depth look at the recent UA ballot box theft scandal. Paulo, camera running in hand, tried to vote at the Lobby 7 booth and was turned down because he had not voted in the original election two days before. With poignant irony, he later in the program follows Peter Yesley '92, the alleged leader of the Students' Revolutionary Government, to the same Lobby 7 booth and filmed the completion and acceptance of Yesley's ballot. Yesley did indeed vote for myself and the other unopposed candidates running for 1992 class council.

The Jean and Pablo Show did not make any claims at objectivity. Instead it prefaced its Yesley interview with Bexley desk discussions of Peter Yesley and his sex life. Amid such reporting, the show takes time to plug the upcoming performances of the hosts' friends.

Other colleges have student cable stations that are extremely popular and serve as an effective means of campus communication. Perhaps The Jean and Pablo Show can be the beginning of something similar at MIT.