One of the criteria I look for in a woman is her Television viewing habits. I don’t ask a lot, and I certainly don’t expect a girl to be into the same things as me, but I DO ask that she OWN a TV. I can’t tell you how many profiles I’ve read in which a woman states ‘I don’t own a TV’. Well fuck you, go buy a TV.
Watching TV has become not only a hobby for me over the years, but a full blown obsession. I mean really, what the fuck else am I gonna do with my time, go outside and listen to dickheaded birds chirping at one another? I go to work in the morning then come home and watch my stories. It may be a bluray movie on my PS3, it may be teen lesbian asslicking porn on tubesgalore.com, or it may be a program on cable. But anyway you look at it, I’m using my TV. My TV not only acts as a 55 inch computer screen but as a gateway to escapism so I don’t have to think about how much pussy I’m NOT getting.
When I’m trying to meet women online? I’m using my TV to do it. When I’m remodeling my apartment? I’m using my TV to order things off of various websites. And When I throw a party? My TV acts as the DJ. Television has been a prevalent part of my life since I was a little kid and many of the high points IN that life have happened around it. But TV has been around a lot longer than I’ve been watching it.
Believe it or not, Television has actually been around since 1878. The first practical use of Television came from Germany in 1929 when they began the first broadcast Television programming. And if all that isn’t enough to blow your mind, it was actually a Mexican inventor who came up with color TV AND the remote control in 1940. So why do most Americans think that TV was invented in 1948, and color TV was invented in 1966? Simple, because Americans aren’t supposed to know that we didn’t do everything first…that and because most Americans are dumb mother fuckers who watch too much T.V.
The U.K. was selling TV’s from 1928-1934, Germany and France improved on the technology and came up with a TV that showed a slightly better image and sold those from 1933-1938. All though these models were available in the U.S., TV didn’t become a feather in the American cap until the 1939 World’s Fair. Unfortunately, JUST when our imaginations began to take us to the brink of Television insanity, WWII broke out and the war commission forced a halt on ALL TV manufacturing, opting to use those plants for the war effort.
Before the war a 3-8 inch TV set cost anywhere between 125-445 bucks. In today’s market that’s an equivalent to 2000-6500 bucks. Imagine that shit…6 THOUSAND dollars for an 8 inch black and white TV with little to no programming to watch. And these weren’t the cute little 3 inch TV’s you can buy at RadioShack to watch the football on while you’re at work. These were monstrously huge boxes, like your stereo on steroids with a tiny little screen on the front that produced images so convoluted that you couldn’t tell if you were watching a football game or a close up of a man sticking his fist up a pig’s ass.
After the war however, when the manufacturing freeze ended and America had come up with some pretty cool war related technological advances of its own, TV’s came out to the American public with a bang. With increased leisure time, the expansion of Television networks in the west, and lowered prices caused by mass production, Television sets went from being in .05 percent of American homes in 1946 to 55.7 percent in 1954, and NINTY percent in 1962. Between being available at gas pumps, in bars, and in homes, American Television usage is up to 300 percent today.
Initially, television programming was only concerned with filling a few hours each evening. You’d gather around the set with your nuclear family and watch a sporting event for an hour or two and that was it. The rest of your day was spent mowing the lawn or listening to the radio. From the beginning of 1946 Television began to be seen during the day time as well as weekend hours. As air time increased so did the demand for new material. With the exception of sports, variety programs became much more important to primetime viewing.
Televisions began to bring America closer together. People had things to discuss around the water cooler at work, families found that laughing brought them closer together, and news stories from around the globe could be heard days, sometimes hours after they happened instead of weeks or even months. As television made our world seem like a smaller place, it also brought us closer together.
At some point during this time I’m sure that programmers started to become aware of JUST how much influence TV would have on the public and the amount of money they could make by exerting that influence. A whole dictionary of terms came about that YOU’VE never been aware of, but in essence were used to brainwash the public into being more receptive to advertising. These terms included such gems as: Dayparting, theming, stripping, stacking, counterprogramming, bridging, tentpoling, hammocking, crossprogramming and hotswitching.
Since inception in the U.S. in 1940, TV commercials have become one of the most effective, persuasive, and popular method of selling products of many sorts. During the 1940s and into the 1950s, programs were hosted by single advertisers. This, in turn, gave great creative license to the advertisers over the content of the show. Due to the quiz show scandals in the 1950s, networks shifted to the magazine concept introducing commercial breaks with multiple advertisers.
For those of you who don’t know how TV works today, I’ll give you a brief run down. Commercials pay for the programming you watch. Depending on the time and the program, a 30 second block of commercial time will cost an advertiser anywhere from 750 grand to several million dollars. That money is used by producers to fund the shows you watch. It pays for the production of these shows including everything from the writers to the actors. Pay stations such as HBO and Showtime get their money from subscriptions which is why they can show titties and curse. On network TV, since the advertisers are basically paying for the show, they get to determine if you see titties and hear the word ‘fuck’. Apparently most advertisers are afraid that by seeing a tit during a show, it will make you less likely to buy a Gillette razor.
Even though they only have 3 stations in the UK, advertisers are ONLY allowed a total of 9-12 minutes of commercial time per hour. In the US, it’s up to 28 minutes per hour. Another little fact that many people don’t know is that almost every country on the planet EXCEPT the US is not only allowed to curse, show tits, ass, and SOMETIMES even bush in its programs, but in its commercials as well. Part of that reason is because in most other countries viewers’ pay Television tax and programming isn’t so much paid for by advertisers. I like this idea because it takes them the fuck out of the editing room. However this also limits programming. Most series in the UK only run 6 episodes per season, and usually only last 1 or 2 seasons, no matter HOW popular they are. Case in point; the original UK version of The Office. There ARE exceptions to that rule of course like Doctor Who which is the longest running science fiction show ever produced and has been on air in some form or another since 1963.
Watching TV used to be something we did for free to relax after a hard day of installing asbestos or harvesting nuclear power, while we smoked cigarettes on the couch and waited for our wives to finish cooking a roast beast. Commercials were either limited or interwoven into programs that were original, witty, and made us laugh.
Today, Comcast charges me 150 bucks a month for 13 versions of the fucking Style Channel. I try to flip through the limited channel list that I DO have and ANY channel I land on is in the middle of a commercial break about a workout machine shaped like an old man’s walker that can make my abs look like Roman body armor. And if a show IS any good, it gets hamstringed like Achilles because you’ve been thought controlled into thinking that being smart is for losers.
To give you a glimpse of the hypocrisy now devoted to Television, recently the FCC approved a merger between Comcast, universal, and NBC. The FCC’s job, besides treating you like an infantile asshole through its mundane and archaic decisions to not allow you to see a tit, is to ensure that mergers like this DON’T happen.
This merger means that cable prices will get higher than Woody Harrelson. Besides COMCAST prices getting higher, satellite prices will spike as well because Comcast now OWNS channels like USA, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Oxygen (who gives a fuck about that one?), syfy, E, Versus, A&E, Biography, The History Channel, The Weather Channel, Lifetime, and 10 sports channels. You either won’t be able to get these on satellite soon OR Comcast will charge Dish and Direct TV an arm and a leg to show them, and in turn Dish and Direct TV will charge YOU an arm and a leg for them. This makes Comcast/NBC/Universal a monopoly, and monopolies are fucking illegal. The FCC has been around since 1934 and their mission statement is as follows: “to make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” Well fuck you FCC, because you just took a big dump on your mission statement.
Because Television has been around SO long, its influence is taken for granted. We don’t realize or take into consideration the affect TV has on the country, especially now that it’s so prevalent in American homes. This merger will not only harm competition, but diversity of the media marketplace AND even our democracy. The new company will be able to limit the voices you here which will affect your decisions to elect representatives, and it will prioritized NBC shows making it even harder to find alternatives on TV.
Now, that’s all well and good and you’re probably thinking to yourself “Who gives a fuck; I’m watching “The Biggest Loser”. Well, here’s the kicker; Even though the FCC is supposed to safeguard YOUR interests by not letting this happen, a woman named Meredith Attwell Baker decided in March that the merger between Comcast/Universal/NBC was taking too long and pushed it through. On June third she quit the FCC and took a job at Comcast as the senior vice president of governmental affairs. Let’s take a moment to pull the dick out of our asses and wipe the poop off of it….
WHAT THE FUCK DID SHE JUST DO?
She pushed through a merger that wouldn’t have happened less than 30 days before quitting and taking a job with the very company she approved the creation of! Not only did she just FUCK you, but she got paid well to do it! PLUS, this bitch was so excited to be fucking you that she didn’t even wait until AFTER her commission with the FCC was over on June 30th to announce her new job. She just up and fucking quit 27 days before she was done. That’s some bullshit right there. I’m not a politician, but I have to imagine that’s something to be frowned upon, especially since Obama HIMSELF gave her that job. Not only did she make YOU look like an asshole, she made the President look like an asshole, and when you make the President look like an asshole? You make America look like an asshole…which is DOUBLE asshole on you. Why isn’t this bitch being put in front of a firing squad?
Entertainment is a big part of our lives and without TV we wouldn’t have ACCESS to that entertainment. You wouldn’t know what movies are out because there’d be no trailers. Without TV most of us would just say fuck it and commit suicide. Imagine how much life would suck if there was no entertainment in it. You wouldn’t come home from a hard 13 hour day at your shit job and say “I think I’ll go for a spry walk to liven up my day!” No, you’d put a fucking shotgun in your mouth and say “Let’s get this over with”.
The cost of your entertainment has steadily risen over the years making it harder and harder to achieve a good old fashioned escapism boner. So when I see a bitch like Meredith Attwell Baker storm trooping her way to the top by marching her blitzkrieg Nazi ass political and American backstabbing troops up my ass…I get a little miffed. Let me be perfectly clear here: WHAT MEREDITH ATTWELL BAKER DID WAS ILLEAGAL! If she’s not in jail by the end of this fucking year, I’m annexing my apartment from America and going Michigan Militia on this country.
Let me pull out my soapbox for a moment here…when people in Government, not only DO things like this, but get away with it? It takes away from the power of authority of the WHOLE government and makes it a joke. The next time I get pulled over for going 65 in a 20 and the cop wants to give me a ticket? I’m just gonna say ‘Meredith Attwell Baker’ and screech off. The next time I get a letter in the mail saying that I’m under audit by the Department of Internal Revenue? I’m just gonna send them a letter back that says ‘Meredith Attwell Baker’ and continue not paying my taxes. And the next time I ‘accidentally’ put my penis in a girl’s asshole while fucking her doggy style vigorously and she turns around and Sais ‘what the fuck?’…Meredith Attwell Baker.
But as pissed off as I AM, and as YOU should be about Meredith Attwell Baker…when I jump in the ‘way back’ machine with my buddy Mr. Peabody, I can remember a simpler time of Television.
Back in the late 70’s, before I was shipped off to military school and when my mother was at the height of her alcoholism, Television was the only friend I had. Like many parents even today, my mother used our TV set as a babysitter to shut me up and keep me quiet. It didn’t matter how much I screamed, kicked, or acted out…once she dropped me in front of that 22 inch Zenith color TV? My eyes would go saucer wide and my jaw would drop down and rest on my chest.
At first I would ONLY watch cartoons. I couldn’t sit through the one hour dramas like she could, and when she was watching Dallas, I would play with my Star Wars Action Figures. For a time that was fine with her as her main goal was to keep me quiet in the morning so she could sleep in. But as I got older and wouldn’t go to bed at 6 anymore, she tried to spark my interest in shows other than Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones. Much like advertisers, she baited me with brainwashing techniques.
I remember coming home from school one day and finding gifts on the dining room table with my name on them. It wasn’t Christmas, and it wasn’t my birthday so I was a bit confused. My mother came over and told me that she thought I would like them. In the boxes were a Dukes of Hazard lunch box and a General Lee toy car. I introduced the General Lee into my Star Wars playing habits, and the next night I sat in the living room and watched The Dukes of Hazard. She had me. I was hooked, not so much by Daisy Duke but by the fat hammy Boss Hog, the silly and always angry Roscoe P. Coltrane, and the bumbling yet always helpful Ennis, who eventually got a spinoff show of his own, although it was short lived.
After that I started watching The Incredible Hulk, The Fall Guy, and The Greatest American Hero (which I’m currently writing a remake of that I hope to sell to a studio.) The funny thing is that as enthralled as I was in these shows back then, when I try to watch them now? I can barely sit through them. Not because I don’t like them, but because we are guided by the relevance of the time we live in. What was acceptable to the palette in ’77 may leave a bitter taste in our mouths in 2011 because we grow accustomed to the way stories are told within our time. Stories were slower back then and relied on acting OVER special effects and although that was enough for us THEN, now it just makes the old shows seem boring.
As I got older and the 80’s landed on America, my mother got our first PAY cable service which was called ON-TV. ON-TV consisted of TWO channels; a movie channel and Sports vision. Launched in 1977, ON-TV was what they called a ‘scrambled UHF’ service because they broadcasted over normal airwaves. This was what we had before cable. ON-TV introduced me to a whole fucking world of movies that I was A.) Too young to watch and probably fucked me up for life, and B.) I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. On-TV was the first to strike up a deal with George Lucas to show Star Wars on Television and THAT was a big get for me.
When my mother began working the midnight shift at cook county jail, I began staying up as late as I wanted. One night as I was flipping through the TV guide, I noticed that ON-TV was airing an animated program at 11 called Heavy Metal. Since I still liked cartoons, I decided I’d stay up and watch it. I was 10 years old. Everything that YOU hate about me, and everything that you like about me can be traced back to that fateful night in 1983 when my young mind saw things that even as an ADULT…still fuck with my head. Robots fucking flesh and blood hookers, Hero’s made to look like assholes and a burnt and destroyed Starship Enterprise made me have nightmares that STILL haven’t diminished some 30 years later. I would suggest to you that if you’ve never SEEN Heavy Metal? Go get it and imagine being 10 years old and watching it with no adult supervision. After that though? Everything was fair game.
I began watching soft core porn at 2AM (Young Lady Chatterley being my first), Dawn of the Dead, the Scarecrow, and Twilight Zone the Movie. I couldn’t get enough of Television.
But Saturday morning was still my favorite. I would sit in front of the set watching cartoons like The Snorks, Mr. T , and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends while playing with my legos and He-Man action figures. I had a tall kitchen garbage container FILLED to the top with legos and on Saturday morning? I’d dump that shit out on the carpet waking the sleeping giant that was my mother to the loud crash of thousands of pieces of molded plastic spilling across her floor. She would throw open the door to her cave and come pounding through the apartment at me. ‘WHY DON’T YOU GO OUTSIDE?’ she would ask in a deafeningly loud tone, to which I would answer ‘my leg hurts’, or ‘my tummies upset’, or ‘I just dumped out my legos and it’ll take me 4 hours to clean them up’. She’d yell at me to shut the fuck up then and storm back off to her cancer den to finish sleeping off her drunk from the night before.
The truth was that I had a terrible secret which kept me from going outside…Jennifer Lurch. A monstrous ogre who would kick my ass as soon as I stepped out of my front door. Sometimes I could actually see her breath fogging up the first floor window of our apartment building like some Jurassic Heavy Chick in a Spielberg flick. Jennifer Lurch is one of the MANY reasons for my not wanting to date heavy women now, keeping me ‘free and single’ as hot chicks don’t want to date ME.
Lurch was an oafish woman whose size and stature were not unlike the Kraken in Clash of the Titans mixed with a Jabba the Hutt thyroid problem, add some ‘attitude of Marge Shot’, and a pinch of ‘the smell of dog shit and mayonnaise spread all over a 5 day old corpse in the desert in Arizona in June of a man who dropped dead after running a marathon’ and you’ve got a pretty clear picture of the woman I’m talking about.
Walking to the bus stop when I was 11 was a race to avoid Jennifer Lurch. So I spent most of my non-school activities indoors in front of the TV. Television had become, NOT just a way for my mother to control me, but a way for me to avoid human beings…because even at 11 I didn’t like you that much. Because my mother wasn’t around, the Television had raised me for that past 5 years and I found myself with a NEW family. As I moved from cartoons and the 1 hour drama and then into sitcoms, my TV mom became Meredith Baxter from Family Ties (Turns out mom just came out of the closet), my TV dad became Max Write from Alf, my TV brother became Todd Bridges from Diff’rent Strokes (The show that taught me how to use an apostrophe in a word allowing me to create such gems a ‘cous’n Hemp’n’ and ‘Act’on J’m’) and my TV Butler became Christopher Hewitt of Mr. Belvedere.
Mr. Belvedere always had a lesson for me. I can remember in one episode Mr. Belvedere taught little Kevin the importance of standing up to the bully (I think EVERY 80’s sitcom dealt with this theme, my fave being Andrew Dice Clay as ‘The Gooch’ on Diff’rent Strokes), and in the end Kevin took Mr. Belvedere’s advice and he and the bully became friends. The episode ended with Mr. Belvedere and the Owen’s family all huddled around Kevin and his bully all smiling that Jag-off 80’s sitcom smile that said ‘See? Everything is always going to be alright.’
The Monday after I saw the ‘bully’ episode of Mr. Belvedere I cautiously stepped outside of my mother’s apartment for school and slowly walked to the bus stop looking from side to side expecting a Jennifer Lurch ambush. Sometimes she’d just drop out of the sky and land on me like a piano. It was winter time and it had snowed the night before, so there was that ‘fresh snow’ quiet going on. Couple that with my fear and I could hear a dog shit from 3 miles away. Up ahead of me to the right, I could see great steam engine puffs of smoke coming from the corner of a brick building from six feet up. As I inched closer I could hear the thunderous breathing of a monster that had a throat full of m&m’s, Hawaiian punch, and the engine of a ’72 Challenger with no muffler.
I stopped and called out to her. ‘JENNY’. The breathing stopped for a moment, and she came out from behind the building. She slowly walked out to the side walk with that ‘bully’ smile and stood in front of me like a typhoon of fat and nasty. I walked up to her, confident in my lesson from the night before, and stood a foot away. I looked up at her and through the fog coming out of her mouth and huge nostrils, stared into those beady dead eyes. “If you want to beat me up every day, I understand. You need to do that in order to feel important. But I can be your friend and make you feel important THAT way too” I said paraphrasing Kevin Owens speech from Mr. Belvedere.
I’ve gotten my ass handed to me often in life, but I can’t remember a pummeling like I received on this particular day. Jennifer, first, punched me in the nose. This not only immediately made me cry (a punch to the nose will do that to anybody), but as white stars filled my vision, I fell backwards on the ground and cracked my skull on the sidewalk. The next thing I remember was feeling my ribs being crushed as she mounted me and started repeatedly punching me in the face. Luckily the bus came along and the driver came running out and pulled her off of me. But after that? I can tell you that I know more about TV and pop culture than most people will FORGET in a lifetime as I didn’t leave the house for 2 fucking years. Fuck you Jenny Lurch. And fuck you Mr. Belvedere for getting my ass kicked with bad advice.
At 13, my mother finally got fed up with me being in her house all the time and shipped me off to military school. As you’ve read in some of my other stories, this was not a pleasant time for me. I was forced into interacting with other human beings, which in most cases just led to me getting my ass kicked by men instead of Jenny Lurch. The only solace I found at Glenwood Military School for Boys was on Sunday mornings. On Saturday morning the bullies had control of the Television so I was forced into watching what THEY wanted to watch, and on weeknights I was made to study while the house parents watched TV. But Sunday morning? I would get up at 5 AM before anyone else in the cottage was up and watch the old black and white Superman show, Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo, and The Jackson Five. Sure these were the ‘Aldi’ of cartoon blocks and didn’t compare to Saturday morning cartoons, but they were what was on and nobody could tell me not to watch them.
It was during this time that my fascination with movies came into play simply because they were more available to me. Saturdays I was allowed to go off campus to the movie theatre and Friday nights our dean would show movies in the library of the school. But on the rare occasion that I DID go home for the weekend, I would stay up all night on Friday watching British programming on channel 11. This was another huge influence which inspired my love of comedy. Channel 11 would run 2 hour blocks of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, followed by Benny Hill, and finally The Dave Allen Show. John Cleese taught me how to be a smart ass, Benny Hill taught me slapstick, and Dave Allen was just a cool Irish mother fucker who always had a drink in his hand.
It was because of Monty Python that I began getting my ass kicked less and less. I found that by being a smart ass I could confuse bullies. And a confused bully can be manipulated into not beating your ass…or at least his confusion can give you a good head start when running away from him. Some kids would rely on slap stick to entertain themselves, but when it’s not done in front of an audience? Slap stick makes you look like a retard.
TV has been on in the background in every event of my life. The first time I saw someone get arrested, they had spray painted ‘Who shot J.R.’ in huge red letters in the hallway of my mother’s condo. The first time I made out with a girl? Madonna’s Like a Virgin video was playing on MTV (back when MTV played video’s). The first time I went to county jail? These hard ass prisoners, including a guy with a fresh bullet wound watched Smallville like it was a religion. The night before I started my first job, my friend Steve and I watched the pilot episodes of The Simpsons and Married with Children. The first time I cried at a TV show? Monroe had just gotten raped by 2 fat chicks in the back of a van on Too Close for Comfort. That’s not a joke by the way; they did that as a serious episode. The first time I got laid? The fifth season of House had just started. And the first time a TV show TRULY disappointed me? Fucking Sledge Hammer.
Sledge Hammer was a parody of the Dirty Harry movies. A cop with a big gun and a bigger ego who was always on the verge of being suspended. He fucked everything up and his female partner ended up solving all the crime while he got all the glory. The show was so popular that Sledge Hammer even had a guest appearance in a Spider Man comic. Well the second season ended with Sledge blowing up the whole city. Just him standing amid the rubble with a bazooka and tattered clothes and an ‘I can’t believe you caught me fucking a pumpkin’ look on his face. Across the bottom of the screen: To Be Continued. I’m STILL fucking waiting for the third season, and that was 1986.
This wasn’t the ONLY show that wholly disappointed me. The last episode of Magnum P.I. did it too. They ended the show with Magnum dying. I thought, even as a kid, that this was truly an inspired ending. It was bold, well written, and it made me cry like Ryan Seacrest getting a bikini wax. Well several months later, pandering to pussified audiences everywhere, they made ANOTHER fucking ‘last’ episode of Magnum, which started with him waking up from his ‘death’ and solving his own murder. Fuck you Magnum.
This patronizing to the lowest common denominator forced me to learn some truths about television AND life. People don’t want to watch things that make them think. The droves of masses out there want to be entertained with stupid Americas funniest Home Movies humor which consists of an hour of babies being kicked in the nuts. They want to see reality shows which teach them that not ONLY is it OK to act like an asshole, but there are NO consequences for that assholery. If there were ANY justice on this planet, everyone from The Jersey Shore would get 2 in the back of the head, and every Kardasian would be ordered by a judge to have their uteri removed.
Now with insipid ‘talent’ shows pumping the American audience full of has-been’s trying to make a comeback, never-was’s trying to become famous, and viewers trying to forget how stupid they are, the television landscape looks like a close up photo of my ball sack; a vast and awe inspiring desert landscape with the occasional lilting redwood tree and a giant chocolate covered clear gumdrop, which upon closer inspection is actually a skin tag with a bit of poop on it.
The entertainment value of this programming is NOT in its content but in the lunchboxes, karaoke machines, t-shirts, and albums it sells to you. I don’t mean to sound like an old fogey, but I remember when you ACTUALLY had to be talented to be famous.
When a talented entertainer was admired, that admiration would INSPIRE you to become more than what you were. John Cleese made me want to be funny, Magnum P.I. made me want to be cool and grow a mustache, and Jesse from Full House made me want to get laid. But one thing these shows DIDN’T make me do was sit around and think “Hmmmm, instead of going to college and making something of myself I think I’ll start a comedy troupe, find a black friend who flies a helicopter, and live off of my brother while playing guitar and fucking more women than Olestra while my twin nieces sleep in the room next to me.” As much TV as I watched, I never took it that seriously.
Now some dickhead, who you can barely hear over the ‘house band’ which is LESS talented than the dickhead, screeches out a song from a record that nobody bought in the 70’s and this inspires children to think that THEY have talent. I hate to tell you this…but your children DON’T have talent. In fact they’re just little asshole versions of you that will grow up and work at the Wal-Mart because while THEY were chasing the dream of having a fat Mexican woman, a 75 year old rock star, and a bloated black guy who looks like he lost all of his weight after having a kidney infection tell them that they don’t suck, the kids whose parents actually CARED about them, made them go to college or at LEAST made them watch the History Channel instead of American Idol.
Then there’s the reality shows. A puffy fat midget chick with a voice that sounds like she smokes 17 packs of cigarettes a day with a mouthful of pop rocks while getting arrested for drunkenly stumbling about a beach at 10AM and telling cops to go fuck themselves, and makes more money than religion because of it, gets the admiration of your children and then I have to put up with your over confident 12 year old telling ME to fuck off while YOU sit back and think that’s ‘cute’. Well fuck you AND fuck your 12 year old too. The Jersey Shore is to television what The Challenger was to Space Shuttle launches.
Why do I care about your children? Because YOUR children are the future of this country AND the future of the entertainment industry that I care so much about. It doesn’t MATTER what kind of asshole you are, your children are a canvas and only YOU have control over what gets painted on that canvas. When you don’t teach them that failure is a part of growing up, that fame is something that happens NOT something that is chased, and that there are consequences for acting like an asshole? One of two things will happen; they’ll end up getting cement bruises on their knees from blowing guys in Cook County Jail after trying to rob a liquor store to get enough money to go to the American Idol tryouts in Light My Fart Arkansas because YOU didn’t tell them that they have less talent than a one armed man in a clapping contest OR, they’ll direct the ‘Jersey Shore: The Movie’ film that will inevitably get made. Either eventuality should be UN-fucking-acceptable to you as a parent. So yeah, why the fuck DO I care more than you? Teach your children some fucking humility.
Another reason I care is because while people are watching this stupid, stupid, shit, shows that I watch, which are ACTUALLY intelligent and well written get the axe. ‘Arrested Development’, ‘Deadwood’, ‘Rome’, hell, even ‘The Family Guy’ got cancelled 3 fuckin’ times before ‘The Bachelor’ mentioned in an episode that HE liked it, and suddenly it became acceptable.
Over the years I’ve become something of a Television Whisperer. Not because I talk to my T.V…that would be crazy, but because I listen to it. I can hear the faint chirping of crickets when a show that TRIES to be funny by pouring canned laughter all over your pajama bottoms simply isn’t and will get the axe. I can hear the low moans and deep inhales when a show has captured an audience through intrigue. And I can hear my own heart beat faster as I realize a show that SHOULD be cancelled, won’t be cancelled and vice versa.
I get a lot of shit on my facebook page from people who say that I watch too much TV. The truth is that I don’t really watch all that much TV. There are certain shows that I never miss, but when you consider the AMOUNT of programming available, my viewing habits occupy just a small percentage. This past year however, I have found myself overcompensating for the loss of a particular favorite.
There are times in all of our lives when we tend to overcompensate; especially when we lose someone or something we love. When my mother passed away, I drank myself into a fucking stupor for 2 years and spent every penny she left me. When the love of my life Jackie cheated on me, I fucked everything that moved (and some that didn’t) thinking that I was somehow getting her back. In that case I even LITERALLY fucked a melon. Not a WATER melon, even I wouldn’t give my dick that much credit, but a regular old melon. I cut a hole in it, warmed it in the microwave for 40 seconds, and as I drunkenly throttled it between my crotchel area and the kitchen counter, I sobbed “I’m cheating on YOU Jackie with a melon, I’m cheating on YOU Jackie with a melon” at it while emphasizing the YOU with every thrust. Got a clear picture of that in your head? Good, let’s move on. The point is that the reality of overcompensating didn’t hurt anyone but me, the women I used…and that slut melon.
Now that I’m a bit older, I’ve found myself overcompensating again, at a loss that was at LEAST equal to that of losing my mother or Jackie. Before I tell you what that loss is, let me first preface it by saying that mom and I didn’t get along all that well…and fuck Jackie. Humorless cunt.
Last year the TV show Lost came to an abrupt and somewhat unsatisfying end. In a world of ever shitty, lazy, implausible, and hammy entertainment, Lost stood out as a show that not only knew how to spin a fucking yarn, but it knew how to keep asses in the seats.
There were a lot of ‘theory’ based web sites concerning the show Lost out there, and there were a lot of douche bag back seat drivers and Monday morning quarterbacks pitching in their two cents as to what was going on in the show. Most of these ass clowns had TiVo’s filled with ‘High School Reunion’ and ‘Biggest Loser Couples’ episodes. Frankly, MOST if not all of the retarded ass theories and half assed criticism’s of the show were so far off that they make me want to hook my testicles up to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car battery while he’s revving up his engine before a race. So to all of you who talked about Lost with the same enthusiasm that a Domino’s delivery driver has when he delivers a ten dollar buy one get one free shit pizza deal to a an apartment in the projects, fuck you.
I’ve watched and studied every episode of Lost on bluray like I’m watching the Zapruder film. Sometimes I wake up at night going ‘back…and to Hurley’s left…back…and to Hurley’s left…back…and to Hurley’s left’. I’ve not only recorded every episode, but I’m such a fucking whack job that I RE-edited them so as to be linear. If you didn’t watch the show, you should know that the story didn’t follow a specific time-line. Every episode was laced with flash backs, flash forwards, and the final season introduced us to what I called ‘the flash fuck-ways’.
If you didn’t watch Lost, I completely understand. It was a huge investment of time and thought. You may have kids, wives, sowing circles, scrapbooking clubs, and ‘How to Hide a Hooker’s Corpse’ learning annex classes and just didn’t have the energy to add one more thing to your day-to-day struggles. But I would suggest to you that the energy you put into the show will be significantly rewarded through it’s thought provoking and well crafted story, it’s excellent cinematography, and it’s well acted/déjà-vu/conspiracy-laced/coincidental/holy-shit-I-can’t-believe-they-killed-Charlie/what-the-hell-is-going-on/fucked-upded-ness. You got a big screen and a bluray player? Get that shit on bluray.
For those of you who didn’t watch the show because you thought it was going to be stupid and you asked sarcastic questions like ‘why is that fat guy so fat after being on an island for 6 years’, and ‘How come nobody rescues them?’. Fuck you, we didn’t want you to watch anyway because you’re stupid…and ugly…and your mother dresses you funny.
Now that Lost has ended, I find myself with a humongous hole in my television viewing catalogue. Other than one or 2 shows, I can’t remember the last time I changed my entire fucking schedule around to make time for a program every week. Fuck TiVo, and fuck DVR, there’s just something about watching a show when it actually AIRS that I like. Maybe it’s the comradery of knowing millions of other fans like me are glued to their sets. Or maybe it’s that feeling I used to get when waiting for Aerosmith concert tickets. I’d always get to Carson Pirie Scott at 3 in the morning, assuring my first place stature in the line and KNOWING that because o f my hard work and diligence I’d be the first to get those tickets. Watching something live gives me a similar feeling because I know that while other people are waiting to read the paper the next day for the reviews…I got that knowledge first.
Whatever the case may be, I loved Lost, I loved the writing, the acting, the production value, the directing, the editing, and the soundtrack. And now that it’s gone I feel like I’ve lost a good friend. (SUCH a fucking loser)
Were all the questions that I’d come to ask over the years answered? No, but enough explanations were given to satisfy me. During the last episode my apartment was filled with about 20 likeminded Lost fans, and I can tell you that when Jack died at the end? We were all crying like Tammy Fay Baker at an Oz fest. Is it just me? Or was Jack and Locke running towards each other on the cliff in the rain enough to satisfy your Lost thirst for closure from ALL 6 seasons? That was the most intense good vs. evil shit I’ve seen since Indiana Jones took on the tank in The Last Crusade.
God knows TV has tried to fill the void that Lost left behind with shit like Fast Forward and The Event, both of which are the failed abortions of a network reaching for past glory. I watched every shitty episode of BOTH of those shows along with a myriad of others in an attempt to gap the empty timeslot that Lost has left in my heart.
However, much like trying to kick a crack addiction, these methadone suppositories might get rid of the fever and night terrors for a little bit, but at the end of the day I still turn off my TV feeling like Jeff Conaway. So, with Lost gone from the schedule, I’ve tried to compensate for my loss by attempting to find SOMETHING new that could inspire me with that same feeling of satisfaction. But most of them just sucked.
The Defenders: James Belushi and the fat kid from Stand By Me played defense attorneys whose clients were ALWAYS innocent, and who fought pharmaceutical companies to win lots and lots of money for retarded kids. Not bad, had some hot chicks in it, but I could FEEL them reaching through my TV, grabbing me by the shoulders, and screaming in my face “WHY WON’T YOU CRY YOU MORON, THIS IS SAPPY, SAPPY STUFF”. The show felt like Matlock 2011. (Cancelled)
The Event: I have a ritual that I’ve been doing since I was in my early 20’s. It started as something that Action Jim and I would do together, but since he doesn’t live in the state anymore, I’ve been doing it myself for a few years. And no, it’s not fucking Action Jim in the butt. Whenever I hear or read that a celebrity has passed away, I stop at a bar on my way home from work, order one drink and toast to his or her career. (I have a reserved ‘floating’ day off scheduled for when Joe Don Baker passes). John Ritter was no exception to this ritual. I genuinely liked that guy. One of the criteria I look for in an actor before I become a fan is whether or not that person seems like someone I’d like to have a drink with at a bar. Not in a gay way, I judge women on this as well, and there were TWO actors that, it always seemed to me, would be fun to have a drink with; Jeff Goldblum (Transylvania 6-5000 Goldblum, NOT Jurassic Park Goldblum) and John Ritter. I’ve probably seen everything Ritter has done at one point or another in my life and although there’s WAY too much filmography to mention here, Three’s Company was always a favorite of mine. His movies No Ordinary Hero, about an actor who plays a super hero and decides to BECOME that super hero in real life (TV movie), Real Men with Jim Belushi, Skin Deep with that awesome glow in the dark condom scene, and Problem Child were some of my favorites as a kid. As my love of movies grew in the 90’s, Ritter starred in some of my favorites of that decade including Stay Tuned which was a shit film, but I still liked it, and Sling Blade. His last movie was Bad Santa which was the best holiday movie released since Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Although I laughed along with his friend Howard Stern at Jimmy Kimmel when he cried while announcing Ritter’s death on his show, I felt his sorrow. So when Lost left the air and NBC announced that there was a NEW show called The Event starring John Ritter’s kid? I decided to give it a shot, and although Jason Ritter WAS good on the show? He picked the wrong show to start out with because this was a monstrous piece of horse shit that tried to be as convoluted as Lost, but without any heart. Thankfully The Event has been cancelled, but I DO hope to see Jason Ritter in something more deserving of his lineage AND personal talent. (Cancelled)
Detroit 1-8-7: First of all, this was NYPD Blue…but in Detroit. Hello, can SOMEONE in Hollywood at least attempt to have an original thought? This was SO much NYPD Blue that the Lieutenant from NYPD Blue, James McDaniel, was even in it. Only he played a detective. I don’t know if a rule like this exists, but it should; if you have played a character that had the rank of Lieutenant for 8 years…you should NOT be allowed to be demoted to detective when you take another role. It’s just fucking off putting. The only good thing about that show was Christopher from the Sopranos. Michael Imperioli was my absolute favorite on the Sopranos, and I predicted great things from him as a director, an actor, AND a writer. He wrote a bunch of YOUR favorite episodes of the Sopranos, and you probably don’t even know it. Hell, he made his bones playing Spider in Goodfellas. You remember Spider; He’s the kid Pesci shot in the foot because he didn’t get his drinks fast enough. Imperioli got his revenge though. He wrote an amazing scene in the Sopranos where he goes into a bakery to get pastries and the kid behind the counter takes too long to wait on him, AND disrespects him…so he shoots him in the foot. Brilliant inside Hollywood writing. Anyway, BIG fan of Imperioli…NOT a big fan of his current career path. (Cancelled)
The Cape: Oofa. This show reminded me of my Cousin Tom. Tom was always the bright one in the family. His parents would always talk about his unlimited potential and the bright future that lay ahead of him. Whenever I fucked up in school or got arrested for fucking Melons (what? I didn’t say that the after Jackie Melon was my first. Sheesh) my mother would throw Tom in my face like a moist jizz towel. “You’re cousin TOM doesn’t get into trouble. You’re cousin TOM doesn’t fuck Melons, You’re cousin TOM doesn’t smoke weed naked while wearing a hockey mask in the teachers’ lounge.” Always with the fucking Tom. Then, one bright morning Tom decided to rob a liquor store. No one to this day has figured out why, he just walked in wearing a blazer and an Izod shirt, pulled a gun on the owner, took the money from the register, and as he walked out…the owner shot him in the spine and now he’s a quadriplegic who spends all of his free time shitting himself every half hour like clockwork and wearing a bib when he eats in a prison hospital. That was The Cape. Full of potential but going nowhere fast. (Cancelled)
Human Target: I’ve never read the comic book, but I don’t see how that show could have BEEN a fucking comic book. There was nothing super heroee about it. Watching Mark Valley smirk for an hour every week was enough to make me shove a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper up my ass. This guy is the Larry Storch of the 2010’s. His acting was stiffer than the blanket I had during the first week that I learned to jerk off. Then there was Chi McBride as Winston, the over angered 80’s cop movie boss who was given the daunting task of being the shows 300 pound black comic relief. His first acting job was in Revenge of the Nerds III…and I don’t think he’s learned a thing about comedy since he did that movie. Finally we round out the cast with the ONLY reason there was to watch this show: Jackie Earl Haley. Haley started off playing bit parts on various TV shows in the early 70’s, including The Partridge Family, before he graduated to films as the tough ass, dirt bike riding, smoking star player in The Bad News Bears. He did a shitload of stuff after that, but I never heard of him until he played Rorschach in The Watchmen…and he was fucking great. Then he played Freddy in the shitty Nightmare on Elmstreet remake, before going on to play Guerero on Human Target. I have to imagine that Haley had something to do with the evolution of his character on that show because none of the other characters ever grew or evolved. Like a 2nd grader in a play, they just rhythmically recited the diatribe that they memorized from the script. But Haley came alive as his character. He continued to grow, he constantly surprised you and you can’t help but love that his character was a KNOWN torturer who was feared by every criminal in the city, you can’t help but relate to the care and attention he put into his Cadillac which he affectionately called ‘The Aldo’, and one of the biggest ‘FUCK YEAH’ moments I’ve seen since Superman II came when Guerrero overheard a CIA agent say that he was going to use Guerro’s kid as leverage. Not only were you surprised to find out that Guerrero HAD a kid, but he then snuck into the building, killed EVERY CIA agent IN it, before torturing the guy he overheard and blowing him up in a car saying “sorry dude…but that’s my kid, you understand” as he walked away. They should have just gotten rid of Valley and McBride and called the show Guererro.
I guess I should also talk about some shows that didn’t suck from the past year:
The Ricky Gervais Show: This is an HBO show which has taken conversations from Ricky Gervais’s British pod cast, and put them to animation. It started off as just 3 animated characters sitting in a room bullshitting for a half hour, and THAT was fucking great. But now, the show has morphed into Gervais and Merchant, who created The Office together, just ridiculing and harassing the 3rd guy…Karl Pilkington. It’s seriously some of the biggest guffaws I’ve ever given over to a TV show. Apparently Pilkington was the producer ON the podcast, much like Bobabooey on Howard Stern. One day Gervais asked him into the studio to get his input on something, and his response was so mortifyingly stupid…he’s been on the air with the other 2 ever since. Gervais even paid for, what he refers to as ‘The most expensive practical joke ever pulled’, when he sent Karl Pilkington on a round the world adventure to the seven wonders. This became a series on the British network Skyy 1 called An Idiot Abroad. It recently aired on an America travel channel, and is seriously one of the most shit yourself funniest things I’ve ever seen. Imagine the person in your life who LEAST deserves a trip to the Seven Wonders of the World. Just a depressive asshole who you KNOW won’t appreciate the beauty, the wonder, and the awe of these amazing places…and then send them on that trip and film the fuck out of it. It is HYSTERICAL. (Ricky Gervais: Renewed, An Idiot Abroad: Renewed)
Californication: I know this one isn’t new, but since Lost AND Deadwood have left the air, this is the most well written show on TV. Dochoveney plays a complete asshole who is in a constant struggle to find a relationship with his ex wife and his daughter, while at the same time living the life of a drunken, high, constantly fucking the hottest girls on the planet teenager. There’s no way for me to properly sum up the show for you, or to paint it in a light that will do the writing justice…but I can’t recommend it enough. (Even though the last season had a completely satisfying SERIES finale, the show has once again been picked up and will continue with a 6th season)
Justified: There are a few actors whose movie careers I’ve followed simply because they stood out to me in the television series they starred in. First was Will Arnett. I fucking loved this guy as the ‘always seeking approval’ magician brother on Arrested Development. After Fox cancelled that show (idiots), I can remember making my cousin go see Arnett’s first feature film with me; Let’s Go To Prison. Jesus, what a shit movie. Nothing pisses me off more than when a GREAT actor does a shit role. Arnett continued that trend with The Brothers Solomon and his latest television flop; Running Wilde (cancelled). However, he HAS redeemed himself in an IFC original show with fellow Arrested Development cast member David Cross, called The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. I think Arnett does best when he can curse. The OTHER actor whose career I’ve followed closely since he starred in my all time favorite Television show Deadwood is Timothy Olyphant. Much like Arnett, Tim’s first film out of the gate was a huge piece of shit; Hitman. His next one though is one of my favorites of the 2000’s as the bad guy in Die Hard 4. Now Olyphant headlines a new show on FX called Justified. I wasn’t so sure about this one at first, but the second season got me. A United States Marshal with too many kills is sent to work in the small Kentucky town he grew up in where old feuds between his family and others still pepper the landscape. Also starring two actors from old favorites of mine, including Walton Goggins (Shane from The Shield) and Jeremy Davies (Faraday from Lost) I highly recommend this one.
Breaking Bad: And finally there’s my current favorite, the one that grabs me by the throat every week it’s on and doesn’t let go. Breaking Bad. I’m not going to tell you how wholly gripping this show is. I’m not going to tell you about the superior acting and the cliffhangers that leave you wanting to time travel into the fucking future for their resolutions. I’m not even going to tell you why EVERY episode is an instant classic…instead, I’m going to bitch for a moment about cable television channels…again. AMC has some great shows, and HBO has NEVER made an original program that wasn’t an INSTANT favorite of mine (excluding Sex and the City, but I DO understand its relevance to the television landscape) but what I DON’T understand about these networks, is why the fuck they can ONLY make 8-12 episodes of a show, which is about 2 to three months of airtime, and then make me wait a fucking year before I get new episodes? If you want to do that? FINE! But don’t have season finale cliffhangers so fucking big that Wile E. Coyote would actually DIE when he hit the bottom of the ravine after falling off of them! AMC REALLY fucked us with The Walking Dead. Everyone LOVED that show, yet they only made SIX fucking episodes and they tell me that I have to wait a FULL year before the new ones come out on October 31st 2011. Breaking Bad ended last June with a cliffhanger that makes me feel like I just caught the love of my life fucking a basketball team, and then they pushed back the premiere of the NEW season to July of THIS year! What the fuck? I know these actors are genius, I know the shows are ALL critically acclaimed, they all win awards, they all make money from the commercials, so wouldn’t it behoove the production company to, I don’t know…get off their asses? I mean, really…how fucking hard is it to film these shows? A week, maybe two per episode? Network television does it, Why can’t you? 24 was one of the most action packed and story driven shows ever made, but Fox managed to get that shit started after a 4 month summer hiatus…and that was 24 fucking episodes, sometimes with a MOVIE in between. They should change the name of the show to Waiting Bad.
These cable channels get away with this because YOU let them. If your girlfriend said that she wanted to NOT see you for a year…would you stand for that shit? No, you’d tell her to fuck off. So I have a proposal. Mad Men has announced that instead of coming back this July (which would be about a year since the last episode) they will be coming back MAYBE in March of 2012. Assholes. I know this show is a cult favorite, and it has a following, but I suggest to you that we, the American public, don’t watch a single fucking episode when it comes back on the air. I want Mad Men to have lower ratings than Cop Rock, I want the new season to be the Ishtar or television shows, and I want us to wipe that fucking smirk off of John Hamm’s face and ruin that two year vacation tan his lazy ass got while making YOU wait, red. If we ruin just ONE program and show these fuckers we’ll get some television ass elsewhere? The rest of our favorite cable channel shows will fall into line.
Anyway, there’re a million shows I didn’t mention here because I know I’m rambling. Suffice it to say that only TWO of my top 5 are still on the air; Deadwood, Californication, Lost, Arrested Development, and Breaking Bad. This list is more of a list of number one’s than a top 5, but still.
Much like The Movie Snob, you may have read this and thought to yourself “what a loser, this guy will never get laid”, and you may be right. But my relationship with entertainment has never hindered my ability to meet women, if anything it’s only helped it. I don’t NOT get laid because of entertainment simply because I dictate the entertainment I watch, not the other way around. I rarely, if ever watch LIVE TV. I download all of the shows you’ve read about here and watch them at my leisure, with NO commercials, because I fucking HATE commercials. If I want a pickle, I’ll go BUY a fucking jar of pickles. I don’t need some cartoon stork interrupting a show right when a major plot point is about to be revealed, to TELL me to go buy a jar of pickles. Much like voting, you may be asking yourself “well then don’t you contribute to the cancellation of your favorite shows by not watching them on TV?” No, because I don’t have a Nielson Box, which is how networks determine what is being watched.
I contribute a great deal of the man I am today to Television. And although many of you are loathe to admit it, the same can be said of you. Television has not only contributed to our culture as human beings, but it has helped cultivate and shape our society since WWII. Sure that cultivation has turned to shit in the last decade, but YOU ultimately have the choice to change that. STOP watching shitty reality shows that have less value than a Tiffany Lamp in an Amish community. Send a letter to your congressman demanding the imprisonment of Meredith Attwell Baker. And KNOW that Dr. fucking Drew cannot cure Drug use and Alcoholism in 11 weeks while forcing his patients to pander to a camera. Television belongs to YOU, not the advertisers, not the cable companies, not the FCC, and NOT the production companies. Demand a tit for Christ’s sake.