40 Hours of Television

The class is over, but the discussion continues. Does the media shape reality, or does reality shape the media? Art can imitate life...and life can imitate art. "40 Hours of TV" will explore the media and its impact on us all.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Confessions Of a TV Junkie

I was trying to come up with an idea of a new column to write for 40 Hours, and I was inspired by Larry King. He wrote a column for USA Today a few years back.

Now, I've never read any of Larry King's columns, I just know about them from when Saturday Night Live used to spoof them. I liked the idea of just rambling on from one thought to the next, sort of like James Joyce. Not that I'm saying I'm like James Joyce, or that I think I'm James Joyce. Well, maybe a little. A little bit. I'll try to avoid stream of consciousness rants, but I cannot guarantee that it will not happen. Just keeping you on your toes.

So, last year I decided it was time to go to college. Instead of college, I enlisted in the Navy after high school, and spent 1986-1992 as a military journalist. And as I discovered, getting a job in journalism was a little hard. I'm not going to drag this all out as I want to get to the funny, but fast-forward to 2004 and I'm enrolled in college. Which means having to trim the family budget, and of course the first thing to go is my favorite thing, cable television. Well, not entirely. We now have basic cable, which is essentially the local channels and, teasingly, a few of the standard cable stations, such as The Discovery Channel and E!

I have to say, I really miss Hannity and Colmes. I hated that show, sure, but it was great entertainment, and isn't television really about entertainment? Oh, we like to believe that it's educational, but come on, it's just entertainment. Reading books can be educational, but you don't hear people saying that reading will rot your brain, like television does. So let's be honest about the role of television in our lives: to numb us completely so that we can ignore the horrible world we live in. Add alcohol and you don't even need to leave your couch, or Prozac.

Now, I don't know if the winning Hannity and Colmes format has changed over the past year, but this is how I remember it:

Hannity: I'm Sean Hannity. Thanks for joining us. It's a packed show tonight. Do liberals really want to destroy America? Our panel is here to discuss what motivates liberals, and why they hate America so much. Joining me in the studio are Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, David Limbaugh, our good friend Ollie North, by telephone our good friend Rush Limbaugh, by satellite from Las Vegas Bill Bennet, and in a new feature, via e-mail, a bunch of posters from the Free Republic message board, and also joining us is Outmatched Generic Liberal. Thank you all.
(Confusion as everyone speaks over each other).


Hannity: Generic, let me ask you a question. In 1837, William Howard Taft said "George W. Bush is the greatest threat to the Republic in 200 years, even greater a threat than scurvy." Do you stand by that statement?

Generic: What? First of all, William Howard Taft...

Hannity: Just answer the question, Generic, it's pretty simple. Do you stand by Taft's statement?

Generic: If you'd let me finish, Taft died in 1930, how could he have made a statement about George W. Bush?

Hannity: Are you calling me a liar?

Generic: Well, obviously you made up that quote, and you didn't even get the years right that Taft was president...

Coulter: Sean, that's a typical liberal response: blame the conservative when they cannot win the debate.

Generic: What debate? Taft died in...

Hannity: You're right, Ann. It's a simple question, Generic, and since you refuse to answer it, we'll just assume you agree with it. So, you think George W. Bush is as great a threat to this country as scurvy?

Limbaugh: Sean, that's the problem with liberals today: they refuse to repudiate statements made by leaders of their party.

Generic: Taft was a Republican! What are you talking about?

Malkin: Sean, the liberal media has for far to long let statements like Taft's to be reported unchallenged.

Hannity: What do you think, Ollie?

North: Shameful. George W. Bush is a fine president, and to have your liberal guest suggest that Bush is causing scurvy in New Orleans is just another tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorist, spouting anti-Bush hatred.

Generic: Wait a minute, I never said Bush caused scurvy....

Hannity: We have you on tape, Generic. I just got an e-mail from our friends at The Free Republic: "Sean, typical liberal debate tactic from a traitor, to say something and then deny they said it -- moments after saying it!"

Generic: But that's....

Colmes: Generic, Alan Colmes. Look, I know for a fact that scurvy is caused by a lack of Vitamin C, and I know FEMA was slow in responding to the disaster in New Orleans, but to say that President Bush caused scurvy makes our side look bad.

Generic: But I never said...

Colmes: We have to take a break. When we return, Geraldo Rivera will join us with a report on how New Orleans has become a breeding ground for scurvy.

Is it still like that? Cause I really miss it.

Speaking of scurvy, it looks like the ratings for Martha Stewart's version of The Apprentice are in the toilet, and The Donald is blaming her for his show's low ratings. Which is a little dishonest, because he's the executive producer on both shows. I don't even know how much creative control Martha has over her show. Maybe none. Let's be honest, both shows kind of suck, and I don't think it has anything to do with Martha Stewart. It's the annoying contestants, like Crazy Jim on Martha's show. Crazy Jim is just friggin' out of his mind. (In case you don't know Crazy Jim, here's his photo from the show). And I hate Crazy Jim. Hate, hate, hate, HATE him. When he's not mugging for the camera, he's uttering things like he'll drink the tears of the losing team because they'll be the nectar of the gods, or something. I've only seen a couple of The Donald's show this season, so I don't have anyone to hate, yet.

And finally, if you haven't already tuned in, make sure to check out UPN's Everybody Hates Chris. It's one of the best new shows of the season. Go! Watch it! Before it get cancelled. Because a good show like this can't last. But a show like Twins, on The WB, will probably last several seasons, and it's horrible, just horrible.

Next week: more random blatherings about television.

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