Showtime (Sat., July 1, 10:30 P.M. ET)
For the most part this hour-long comedy special is a downer. The story line involves Martin and a galaxy of characters, most of whom she plays herself. The problem with the show isn’t Martin’s daffy alter egos, but her main character, a depressed, neurotic exaggeration of herself. In the opening scene the former SCTV star finds herself in a bar in need of a drink, having just walked offstage during a concert. The bartender is none other than her most famous caricature, the tacky, ever-optimistic Edith Prickley. As Martin tells Prickley her woes, we see, via flashbacks, what made her mind snap. Since these depressing incidents aren’t very witty, they grow wearisome. Exception: Martin’s portrayal of Edna Boil, a down-home TV huckster who sells organs during commercial breaks. Also adding life is guest star Martin Short as a female exercise guru who caters to stress-ridden women.