I LOVE TELEVISION 


Are you happy the writers’ strike is finally over? Well, I most certainly am … NOT!! What people fail to realize is that “desperation” makes for the best television. And when there are no writers to sit around and snort coke all day before finally deciding to churn out some fart jokes for Two and a Half Menthat’s when the networks get desperate. And when networks get desperate, some really funny, dumbass ideas finally get a chance to shine!

Take for example the Japanese hit game show Hole in the Wall, which Fox decided to put into development out of sheer writers’-strike desperation. The game is bizarrely simple: Two contestants stand in front of a swimming pool, as a big Styrofoam wall comes hurtling toward them. The wall has two cutout shapes (could be squares, stars, squiggles or shaped like a human) and the contestants have to contort their bodies to fit through the holes – or find their asses unceremoniously knocked into the pool.

WHAT A DUMBASS IDEA! And yet? I love it! For a ton of hilarious clips from the French version of this show, do a YouTube search for “Le Mur Infernal” – which I think is French for “French people are even dumber than Americans, if that’s possible.”

Anyhoo! Now that the strike is over, the desperate search for a good idea … or even a good BAD idea … will come to an end, and the networks will once again fall back on the stale unimaginative programming for which they’ve become famous. But here’s a thought: Now what if the viewers decide to go on strike?

During this most recent strike, viewers got a pretty good idea of what life is like without television – AND THEY DIDN’T MIND IT … which could mean big trouble for the top five networks. Nowadays, viewers have a poop-ton of non-network entertainment options: Netflixing older series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, playing video games or watching cable series. Some even choose to read books (ugh), exercise (ugh!) or talk with family members (UGH!!!). Personally, I’ve recently become quite the consumer of “Internet pornography.” Did you know it’s FREE? (That is, if you don’t count the slow leaching of your immortal soul.) And if I were given the choice between watching Two and a Half Men or guzzling down a tumbler of vodka mixed with a handful of barbiturates? Well … let’s just say it’s nice to have a non–TV related hobby.

The networks have been victims of this “viewer flight” for the last few years – and the writers’ strike didn’t help matters. Now it’s imperative for the networks and the writers to really up their game in order to lure viewers back … or they could both be out of a job.

I’ll still be popping by the nets for such candy-coated confections as American Gladiators and hopefully Fox’s version of Hole in the Wall. However, at this point, I’m much more likely to leave and move in permanently with cable channels such as AMC and their brilliantly written series Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Oh … and there’s always Internet porn! Did I mention it’s FREE?!

Le Hump Infernal.
steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, FEB. 21

9 p.m. CW SUPERNATURAL

After being arrested Sam and Dean find they’re very popular in prison. Very popular indeed.

9 p.m. ABC LOST

Kate gets her own “flash-forward” as we see what her life is like as one of the “Oceanic Six.”

FRIDAY, FEB. 22

9:30 p.m. VH1 FREE RADIO

Check out this very funny show about a bumbling radio station intern who becomes America’s fave shock jock.

SATURDAY, FEB. 23

12 p.m. MTV JACKASS: 24-HOUR TAKEOVER

The Jackass boys take over MTV for an entire day of nut-crackin’, bone-breakin’, vomit-inducing fun.

8 p.m. ABC FORREST GUMP

(Movie, 1994) Tom Hanks stars as dimwitted Forrest Gump, who succeeds through stupidity. An inspiration to Republicans everywhere!

SUNDAY, FEB. 24

8:30 p.m. ABC ACADEMY AWARDS

Oh, god. Why couldn’t the writers’ strike have lasted just a couple more weeks?

10 p.m. CBS DEXTER

Dexter discovers he has a rival serial killer cutting in on his turf – LITERALLY!

MONDAY, FEB. 25

8 p.m. ABC A RAISIN IN THE SUN

(Movie, 2008) The classic play by Lorraine Hansberry, starring … Sean “P. Diddy” Combs? Oh, sweet, sweet train-wreck!

9 p.m. FOX TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES

In order to find a secret dossier, Sarah returns to the looney bin she once called home.

TUESDAY, FEB. 26

8 p.m. FOX AMERICAN IDOL

The top 10 boys sing, and … Simon, will you PLEASE kick off that one blubbering crybaby? He’s driving me nuts!

10 p.m. NBC QUARTERLIFE

Debut! The producing team of Herskovitz and Zwick bring us a thirtysomething for 20-somethings.

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 27

8 p.m. CW AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL

One model reveals a stunning secret to the judges. Please god, let her be a man!

10:30 p.m. COM RENO 911!

In order to stop a string of robberies, the deputies go undercover in the fast-food restaurant “Burger Cousin.”

 

steve@portlandmercury.com

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