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Two new fall series establish 1999 as the year of the penis.

Below the Belt


On the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the rabbit. But on American TV, it seems to be the year of the penis.

Two network series that debuted this fall offer evidence. One is Fox TV's "Action" (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.), a show-biz satire starring Jay Mohr as film producer Peter Dragon. The other is NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (Mondays, 9 p.m.), a spinoff of the critically acclaimed "Law & Order" that focuses on investigations into particularly heinous crimes.

Originally destined for cable but picked up by Fox instead, "Action" is an irreverent and hilariously funny look at the absurdities of cutthroat Hollywood. The dialogue is often off-color, but always crisp and biting. Illeana Douglas is especially good in the role of a child star turned hooker turned movie executive.

Then there's Bobby G. (Lee Arenberg), one of Tinseltown's most powerful studio bosses, who's gay — and, according to the script, enormously well-endowed. The first two "Action" episodes made much of Bobby G.'s ... gigantic attribute. Says the show's creator and executive producer: "The whole thing about him being hugely endowed is that it's the ultimate Hollywood metaphor."

Over on "Special Victims Unit" — which hews closely to its parent show, even down to the theme song and those musical "clunk" scene transitions — it was Bobbitty-boo time for two rape victims who stabbed their attacker to death and then cut off the weapon he used against them. While there was never a laugh — or a penis — in view on the NBC premiere, the script focused intimately on talk about the amputation.

Each year, television draws a new line to separate what is and what isn't acceptable on the air. This year, the line seems to have been drawn just south of the male

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