Television Including Cable

As you can tell by the rest of this web site, I don't watch television much. Oh, during football season you'll sometimes catch me with a recorded game, fast forwarding through commercials so that the one hour spectacle only takes about an hour and a half as opposed to over three hours wall time. Recently though, I found myself in a hotel with nothing better to do than switch on the old idiot box.

The term becomes more appropriate as time goes by. I couldn't believe the tripe that was on.

For starters, there's Headline News, or HLN as it's now known to make it seem all edgy and stuff, which appears to be some sort of home shopping network for celebrity items. Or maybe that's my impression of what always seems to be on. So, just for fun, and to double check my initial impression, I did a schedule search. Here's the numero uno item they're trying to pass off as news. Detergent packs are pretty colored. No fooling. Apparently children without supervision, as in those that were had (or begotten) by people who keep candy and detergent in the same place, run the risk of confusing the children. This is big news people! It's a freakin' special! How pathetic. I'll bet they won't tell you that detergent is bad to eat until the last five minutes, just to build up suspense and keep you guessing.

Number two on this channel's hit list is something to the effect of animals not being able to drown without water. Pullitzer material here, folks. And of course, someone's gay and a Hollywood person is going to get a divorce/jail time/new lawyer.

Let me just say that an opinion is not news, it's an editorial. And they wonder why ratings are going down.

What's the next channel? TBS. What's on? A month long marathon of The Big Bang Theory. From what I can gather, there's a reason why the show is only half an hour long. Any longer and you'd want to kill the writers. For me, thanks to TBS' scheduling, it's on all night. "Big Bang" indeed. I watch TV to get away from these kinds of people, not to be reminded of how low my life has sunk because I work with them.

Next! CNN! Another "news" station without any actual reporting. It's like a Liberace talk show. No one tells the truth, everyone smiles up everyone else's backside, and facts are something that someone just made up. As an economic resource, they quote People Magazine. (I wish I was making up that last sentence.)

TNT? Apparently, they know Drama. Which must be some guy's name because there's nothing worthwhile on the channel. Every show, and they're mostly syndicated shows, is as compelling a drama as Gilligan's Island. Any story arcs you might trip over are only as good as they need to be to make the characters enticing. If I'm a good boy, I can be treated to a marathon of the station's mind numbing original series - Dallas. Original series? It was "original" in the 70s. But, I guess you can't expect a station who knows Drama to know English as well.

Oxygen? Give me some and let's just move on before I see a show about four people, each pushing 400 pounds, of mixed genders and races, picking out wedding dresses for their group marriage ceremony.

ESPN? Sports not ruled by the NFL, NBA, NHL, or MLB are only covered when it's a world championship. Frankly, I don't care about Wimbledon! I don't care about the World Cup! (To anyone who tries to say that soccer is the most popular sport in the world I ask, "How many games a year do you watch?" And after they answer I'll say, "Liar! Black liar!" (like they did in The Wild Bunch) because less than a thousand people in the United States watch soccer with any regularity. (I'm making that up, but could've probably gotten it from People Magazine so it's just as reliable as if you'd heard it from CNN.) Even so, ESPN should cover a sport when more than just name recognition of an event is the reason for showing it.

ESPN2? Isn't the same thing being shown on ESPN at a different time? Seems like it. Are there any sports shown or is everything a recap? What happened to fly fishing? Or bull fighting? Or, my all time favorite, Australian Rules Football. What happened to the guy in the white fedora and raincoat signalling a goal? Bring back Australian Rules Football!

ESPN News? Because ESPN, ESPN2, the internet, the newspapers, and your friends who like to rub things in aren't enough? Or maybe it's for people with ADD. "I just saw the score on ESPN. Whoops, missed it on ESPN2. Maybe it'll be on ESPN News. What score? What sport? What's my name? Maybe that's on ESPNC!"

ESPNC is a real channel. The "C" is supposed to mean "classic" which still doesn't explain the station. Classic what? Classic sports? Nope. Classic cars? Nope. What it means is classic, as in older than twenty years usually, moments in political correctness. Didn't this station once used to show sports movies? I could've sworn I even saw Caddie Shack on this station, a classic time ago. (That was a joke, the station has not been around for twenty years.)

USA? Ten'll get you twenty if you turn on this station and something other than a commercial is showing. Overlays that take up more than 20% of the screen count as commercials.

FOX News? Editorials and talk shows are NOT news! Although Fox has less double-talk than CNN, that's like saying dog pee stinks less than cat pee.

Discovery channel? Oh, I'm in pain. This is the most entertaining station out there. Why is it that I'll watch a show on how to make a naught gun (American Guns) or where ornery fishermen brave the elements to harvest a shellfish that I don't eat (Deadliest Catch) or even to find out how much someone would pay for a broken Kurt Cobain guitar (Final Offer)? At least I'd watch each show only once...or twice. If only there were more than fifteen minutes of show in each thirty minute time slot, I'd watch more of the Discovery Channel.

Cartoon Network? Are they supposed to be entertaining because they're well written (they're rarely funny) or merely technicolor yawns (the kind of yawns you get after one beer too many)? It looks like Lego shaped characters are all the rage. All of the shows have one thing in common - they try to be train wrecks that you can't look away from. Fortunately, there are the frequent commercials that snap you out of your hypnotic trance. I have to admit that I've got a soft spot for Aqua Teen Hunger Force, uh make that Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1, uh, Aqua Something You Know Whatever and The Venture Bros.

UNIV? That's Spanish, right? Sorry, no habla.

CBS, ABC, and NBC primarily air game shows. Watching people make fools of themselves because they're fools to begin with has no appeal for me. How about shows where people attempt to act intelligent and witty? Maybe audience participation could be involved as in, "Can you guess which person reading Canterbury Tales in Middle English yells obscenities at people when they're caught picking their nose and crying?"

When The Big Three try and do something that isn't ad libbed, you wonder what's still legal in the executives' offices. The unfunny jokes, the inability to understand basic science, the complete ignorance of police procedure, and law practices whose members should be disbarred, inhabit plots either "ripped from today's headlines" or plagarized from the I Love Lucy show (your call).

I've taken enough time before posting that this year NBC is showing the Olympics, sort of. In between the commercials, and back stories, and highlights, and highlights of highlights, and REPLAYS of parental reactions!, they get in a few events. No boxing, or fencing, or men's team gymnastic competitions, but some stuff that is usually highly edited for the ADD. Talk about wanting to turn off the channel.

But, I held off until the competition between Apollo Ono and Michelle Obama in a tug of war was advertised. THEN I turned it off. What business does a political ad have being broadcast during "games coverage" time? Put a political ad on as a commercial, but DON'T detract from the atheletes' time! I admire these people for their hard work and dedication. Isn't the whole point of the Olympics to try for a higher ideal than political evangelism? Not in the U.S.A. anymore. We've become the type of country we used to make fun of.

What's channel's left? Fox. Fox? Nearly as stale as The Big Three, their merchandise this week is Chef Ramsay. He gets paid big bucks to insult and yell at Americans. Why isn't he French? I've been yelled at more often by Frenchmen than by British "gentlemen" for merely being American. Why hasn't "Chef" Ramsay been told, "Your minutes of fame have exceeded the allowable limit. You're a trailer park boor. Bailiff! Off with his head!"

And that's why I don't watch TV.