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'Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character'

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Not only is this “American Masters” valentine to the great comedienne well deserved and overdue, but it’s surprisingly adequate to its surpassing task, with cunning clips from The Garry Moore Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and, of course, The Carol Burnett Show. We are privy to scenes from such ambitious films as Friendly Fire, snippets of the transcendent concert specials with Julie Andrews, interviews with Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, and Tracey Ullman, and accounts of Burnett’s successful suit against the National Enquirer, her fraught relationship with her daughter, and her feminism. (Where did you imagine Lily Tomlin came from?) I once predicated her as the glorious embodiment of Buckminster Fuller’s mantra disclaiming categories and nouns; he seemed to be a verb, he said. With Burnett, tugging on her charwoman’s earlobe, there were no seems about it. Transitive, active, reciprocal, irregular, she was verb perfect, poetry in motion and doggerel too.

Channel 13
November 5, 9 p.m.


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