NEWSMAKERS: Pikachu — Misunderstood or Potty-Mouthed?

Let the Pokémon backlash begin.

First, there was the recall of Burger King toys over safety concerns. Then there was the Michigan man who was granted a refund by a Kmart after saying his cute, little Pikachu doll dropped the F-bomb when its circuits were punched rapidly. (To be fair, cussing when one’s circuits are being rapidly punched does seem a natural response.) Anyway, the man’s calling for yet another nationwide recall.

And if that weren’t enough, Nintendo, the gamemaker responsible for the video craze that spawned a TV show and hit movie, is being threatened by a lawsuit from spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller.

Geller says his image (not to mention his name) is being ripped off by the evil Pokémon character called “Un-Geller” (or, as its known in Japan, “Evil-Geller”). Un-Geller, by the way, carries spoon and boasts psychic powers.

On the plus side, the character does not spout the F-word.

AN ODD COUPLING: Jack Klugman is proud and happy with his surgically enhanced — er, asset. The 77-year-old “Odd Couple” star spills all on his penile implant in the new TV Guide.

“I’m not ashamed of that,” Klugman tells the magazine. “It’s a medical thing, a surgery that is done millions of times. But there’s all this humorous ridiculing and silliness that goes along with it.”

Fine, but the question is — is it working?


Klugman is both married — and dating. His marriage to ex-game-show fixture Brett Somers is still legal (although they’ve been legally separated since 1974). On top of that, he’s dating actress Peggy Crosby. Klugman says he never divorced Somers so that he wouldn’t be tempted to marry the women he sleeps with.

Says the erstwhile Oscar Madison: “I can’t live with anybody.”

‘SOUTH PARK’ ON ICE: Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano was parodied in the musical number “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” in “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut“. Now the figure skater will eschew his usual classical repertoire to perform to the song on the NBC special “Brian Boitano: Holiday Skating Spectacular,” to air Sunday at 4 p.m. EST.

No hard feelings then apparently between Boitano and the “South Park” scamps — unless, of course, Boitano tries to kill Kenny with an ice skate.

CAREER PATH EXAMINED: No, despite tabloid reports to the contrary, Jan-Michael Vincent is still not dead.

The 1970s-era leading man (“Big Wednesday,” “White Line Fever“) and 1980s TV star (“Airwolf”), whose career was plundered by substance abuse and domestic-violence allegations, is now clean and sober and ready to take on a new role: grand marshal of Van Nuys, Calif.’s, New Year’s Eve party.

Vincent, now 54, will be paid $4,000 for the job, a far cry from his $250,000-a-week paycheck on “Airwolf.” Can he make it all the way back? Well, feathered hair did.

STEEL CITY BACKS KELLY: Gene Kelly fans may see a familiar sight in Pittsburgh next year: The city is considering a statue honoring the late actor, who was born and raised in the city and attended school there before hitting Broadway and twirling an umbrella in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Y2K STARWATCH: Despite increasing Y2K jitters, some stars are still braving the millennium in front of a crowd. Will Smith will be in Washington, D.C. (with Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty in the crowd). Gloria Estefan (“Music of the Heart“) will perform in Miami, the Eagles will play Los Angeles, Billy Joel performs in New York and Bette Midler will put on a show in Las Vegas.

But if you’re holed up in the house, lacking the significant moolah to see any of these acts, fear not: You can catch the biggest of them all, Barbra Streisand, in the comfort of your own home.

Streisand, whose own Vegas concert is boasting $1,500 to $2,500 ticket prices, will appear live (from her show) on ABC on New Year’s Eve — her first singing gig on live television in more than three decades.

In return, ABC will give Babs a live feed of its millennial coverage so her audience in Las Vegas can watch various New Year’s celebrations around the world. According to the New York Daily News, Streisand will show up on the tube between 12:45 and 1 a.m. EST on Jan. 1.

Provided the world doesn’t end.