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Real People

March 13, 2012 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"South Park," a cartoon that is and isn't about four little boys in a Rocky Mountain hamlet, begins its 16th season Wednesday on Comedy Central. Sixteen years of "South Park - it began so long ago that Patrick Duffy was the subject of a joke in its second episode - sounds even more amazing than 23 years of "The Simpsons," given the younger show's habitual profanity, vulgarity and violence. But that is also obviously part of its appeal and, indeed, often its very point. What's kept both these small-town allegorical comedies valuable and viable over their long runs are qualities they share: a disregard for empty authority, skepticism regarding beliefs not based in fact, an impatience with hypocrisy and cant, and the happy realization that the worst aspects of humans both as individuals and (especially)
January 31, 1993
Someone should tell you that TV characters are fictional. That means they are not real people and therefore we should make no attempt to model our lives after them. DOUGLAS CARRIGAN Studio City
July 13, 1992 | John J. Goldman, staff and wire reports
The Democrats have hired a Hollywood producer, Gary Smith, to produce Broadway production numbers, "real-people" videos and other kinds of partisan promos each evening. But broadcasters, who are cutting back on their hours of prime-time coverage of the conventions this year, said they expect to carry only a small percentage of them. The networks said they would rather find "real people" of their own to react to events at the convention.
November 1, 1992
Proposition T, the $23-million bond issue, would tax Santa Monica and Malibu residents for upkeep on a regional facility. This community has been incredibly generous to Santa Monica College, but real people know a smelly deal when they see one. LINDA ROSS Santa Monica
July 7, 1996 | Peter Rainer
This 1995 film captures a bit of the freshness and awkwardness of the experience of first love. The two girls--Randy (Laurel Hollomon, right) and Evie (Nicole Parker, left)--are frisky and personable. They seem like real people so their budding romance strikes a few remembered chords (Cinemax Wednesday at 11 p.m.).
September 14, 2009 | Alan Alda
What would he write about himself if he just found out he'd died? I wonder. I know it wouldn't be something soft and sentimental. Larry Gelbart could take an event where sentimentality was allowed, even expected, and turn it on its ear. My friend Allan Katz, who also wrote for "MASH," was with him once at a friend's funeral. When Larry realized he had to leave early, he leaned over to Allan and said simply, "I'm sorry to grieve and run." I'm sure he meant no disrespect, or maybe just the right dose of it, depending on the life and times of the recently departed.
Please pardon Mrs. Dease if she's a bit reluctant to tell people exactly what she's up to these days. She manages her employees' United Way campaign, which is nice. She makes sure that Maria, her precocious 14-year-old, gets in before curfew every night. You know how teen-agers are. She checks in almost daily on her first grandchild, 6-week-old Victoria Lynn. Who wouldn't?
October 24, 1988
What a refreshing change to read an article about Nicaragua on the front page that is articulate, well-researched and, best of all, free of superficial labeling of the Sandinistas and what they stand for. As a U.S. citizen, who has lived in Nicaragua for 1 1/2 years, it is nice to return to Los Angeles and read an article that really is so informative and unbiased. Depicting the Sandinistas and the Nicaraguan people as real people, who make mistakes sometimes as all real people do, but admit their mistakes and try to make changes for the better; and showing them as they truly are--humanists interested in the welfare of the majority of the people in Nicaragua--are crucial in the fight to change the unjust, inhumane, unlawful foreign policy that the United States government is following in Nicaragua.
August 18, 2005
Leni Fleming's article, "Jury Duty Is Just Like a First Date" [Aug. 11], was very clever but specious. While jury duty is sometimes akin to dentistry without Novocain, it is still an integral part of our constitutional and judicial system. When she reduces it to comic levels, she implies ridicule of the entire system. Real people and their lives hang in the balance. GAIL MCCLAIN Laguna Beach
September 25, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel
Did an aggressive anti-smoking campaign conducted earlier this year influence people to give up smoking? There's a good chance the $54-million campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did have an effect, an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports. But it was short -- just three months long. And the impressive-sounding $54 million pales in comparison to the $27 million spent every day by the tobacco industry for marketing, the authors wrote. Nancy Rigotti and Melanie Wakefield described the campaign in the Annals of Internal Medicine, as well as what's known about its outcome so far. (The authors are at Massachusetts General Hospital and Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, respectively.)
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