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Georgetown resident Tom Canope was flipping channels last weekend when he spotted some neighbors. Three Georgetown University students were lobbing insults—as well as a few chairs—on the trash-talk show Jerry Springer after Georgetown coed Caitlin Starrs admitted on the air that she was sleeping with her boyfriend Dave’s best friend, Matt. (Dave and Matt refused to give their last names.) “I thought Georgetown students were much brighter,” says Canope. “I thought they were interested in making the world a better place to live, not going on national television and carrying on like that.” But the students say that their network shenanigans were deliberately disgraceful. “We made up the whole thing,” says Starrs, who insists the threesome just wanted to get on TV while on spring break in Jamaica. “If people are upset, they should get over it—it was just a joke.” Producers of the Jerry Springer show concede that they are occasionally duped by fraudulent guests, but maintain that the majority of fights featured on the show are, indeed, “authentic.”
Stripped Liberty Meadows, the comic strip drawn by P.G. County-bred Frank Cho, which was born in the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, made its final appearance in the pages of the Washington Post last Saturday. The strip, which will continue to run in 30 newspapers, chronicles the hi-jinks of a fraternity of dysfunctional talking animals, a nebbishy scientist, and an Al Cappian-figured beauty named Brandy. Cho has tried to make the strip more appealing to a wider audience by reducing the frequency of beer and “yo momma” jokes, morphing his hapless protagonist from a duck into a human, and downsizing Brandy’s D-cup to a B. Perhaps he shouldn’t have meddled so much. Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. explains that he and his colleagues decided to terminate Liberty Meadows because it “was not nearly as interesting as it was when it started out….It had fallen off in terms of how funny it is, how engaging it is….It just seemed to be not very good.”
Unregulated Behavior What better laboratory to observe the District government’s new emphasis on “customer service” than the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)? Last Wednesday afternoon around 1:30 p.m., restaurateur
Andy Shallal walked into a DCRA office to
renew his business license. The room was especially crowded with nervous business owners, since DCRA offices had closed down early the day before due to a water main break. As Shallal grabbed a number, he observed a clerk sporting an “Excellence Starts Here” button getting into a heated argument with a customer at the counter. Moments later, the clerk declared, “I’m not going to take any more of this crap,” walked away with a co-worker, turned out the lights, and disappeared. “I had to peer over the counter to see where they went,” says Shallal. “I wanted to know, did they hide?” After escorting the belligerent customer outside, a security guard then told the business owners waiting in the dark, “You heard what the woman said—we’re closed for the rest of the day.” Shallal and others waited around, and after about half an hour the counter reopened. DCRA higher-ups were later shocked to hear about the office’s afternoon siesta. “I wasn’t aware that the counter closed early that afternoon,” says DCRA director David Watts. “I’ll have to check it out.” But isn’t the customer always right? “No, un-uh, I don’t believe it,” insists Janet McCormick, a DCRA spokesperson. “I know for a fact that we were all working here the entire day.”
Pop Goes the Weasel The recent dismissal of Weasel, aka Jonathan Gilbert, from the noon to 3 p.m. shift after 28 years on WHFS has triggered another round of rote eulogies about the death of local free-form radio. Meanwhile, the true underground spirit lives on in WWDC-AM’s Eddie Gallaher, the only DJ around who doesn’t have to kowtow to preprogrammed playlists. Due more to inertia than anything else, the 83-year-old “dean of Washington radio” has never moved beyond the crooners he first spun on 78s after replacing Arthur Godfrey on WTOP in 1947. Where else are you going to hear a Vic Damone song followed by the DJ himself making an exquisitely mouthwatering—and damn near heartbreaking—pitch for a local restaurant’s “golden-hot popovers?”
Reporting by Eddie Dean, Elissa Silverman, Jake Tapper, and Jamal Watson.