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Jeff Simon finds TV roots ‘Under the Dome’

“I love you” says the romantic young boy to the hot teen waitress after furtive sex. He’s about to go off to college soon.

She thinks for a couple seconds as she puts her uniform back on. “It’s been a fun summer” she responds finally to his gushing declaration. An entirely different emotion, to be sure.

“Ouch,” he says.

And how. Things at the end of the first episode of “Under the Dome” Monday night (Ch. 4, 10 p.m.) are even more painful for them both than that.

But then so is the dome itself – you know, the one you’ve been seeing in CBS promos for months that told you that a Stephen King miniseries was coming that traps the residents of the Maine town of Chester’s Mill under a giant dome.

The dome arrives bloodily and dramatically. The ground shakes, as if in an earthquake. Automobile horns suddenly go off. Church bells go crazy. Even wind chimes on porches rattle angrily.

The dome falls around the town in daylight and with savage suddenness and horrifying impact.

Let’s put it this way: It splits a contented cow right down the middle when it drops. Because it’s invisible, a tiny private plane crashes right into it, sending its inhabitants to eternity.

What’s it made of? It’s got to be a lot stronger than Lucite to bring down a small plane that plows right into it – not to mention the 18-wheeler that crashes into it at highway speed and crumples like an accordion.

Whatever it is, nothing passes through it. Touch it with your hand and you get a shock – initially anyway.

It isn’t especially easy on the pacemaker inside the sheriff,either. Too much proximity to the dome is liable to have his heart skipping beats.

The sheriff is played by Jeff Fahey, the Olean-born and Buffalo-bred actor whom Clint Eastwood, among others, always favored.

Something a bit far-fetched and cool and pretty well worked-out is arriving along with “Under the Dome” Monday night.

To wit, the major TV network miniseries – especially one based on a mammoth book.

You remember those. Before cable TV Arrived (capital A), they were the way that television could be prestigious. The first was “QB VII,” based on a Leon Uris novel (504 pages), but the major onset of the network miniseries as a form was “Rich Man, Poor Man” (629 pages), which, on TV, introduced the world at large to Nick Nolte.

The idea was to take best-selling novels – or other books of some physical heft – and include far more of their incidents on a small screen in a TV miniseries than could possibly be used in a movie.

So soon we saw miniseries of these big swollen Herman Wouk babies “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.” And “The Thorn Birds,” based on Colleen McCullough, “Shogun,” from James Clavell, “Lonesome Dove,” from Larry McMurtry and the most important of them all by far, “Roots,” based on the book by Alex Haley.

The trouble was that the miniseries form eventually was stolen outright by cable. And recently it got TV folks’ attention with eye-popping ratings for “Hatfields and McCoys” and “The Bible” on The History Channel, of all places.

So who better to serve as an inspiration for a new network miniseries than Stephen King who, in his senior years, has already given us miniseries from “The Stand” and “The Shining.” In book form, “Under the Dome” clocks in at over 1,000 pages.

For TV purposes, we’ve got a mere 13 slender episodes, ending Sept. 16.

Because it’s a Stephen King story, the maggotty behavior in small towns is far more of a focus for “Under the Dome” than the undeniably apocalyptic difficulties of one’s surrounding air space taken over by an invisible dome.

So what’s going to happen to Junior, the lovesick college boy who morphs into a kidnapping psychopath just after the dome comes down? And his lover Angie?

And, while we’re at it, why does crazy Junior say “I’m the only person who knows what’s going on around here?”

Smart, you know? Who wants a TV network where nothing can get in or out and where clever ideas crash and sink hopelessly to the ground?

It’s high time modern mainstream TV got back to some of its modern roots, eh what?