SCARED STRAIGHT-ISH 


Television just looooves making a big honking deal out of prison –like it's the worst thing in the world or something! HBO's Oz portrayed prison life as a trip through Satan's porno collection, with rapes, beatings and murders happening with alarming regularity. But I'm here to tell all the kids who read my column: Prison ain't so bad! In fact, when you compare it to really horrible things – like root-canal surgery or watching Britney and Kevin: Chaotic – it's actually pretty bearable.

And while my prison time may have been limited to one night in a small-town jailhouse (on a trumped-up sodomy charge), I think I can honestly relate what prison life is like for thousands of incarcerated inmates. FOR EXAMPLE! Prison TV shows would have you believe that, if you're white and weigh under 170 pounds, then you'll become someone's "bitch" after 10 minutes in the joint. NOT TRUE. In fact, for the first six hours of my stay, I didn't even have a cellmate. Then, when I did get one, he was more like drunk Otis from The Andy Griffith Show than Charles Manson. I remember asking him, "Can I be your bitch? Can I be your bitch? Can I be your bitch?" until he got really annoyed and screamed, "Why do I need another bitch when I already have a wife?"

"Otis" really hurt my feelings that day. And he hurt Margaret's feelings, too. (That's his wife.)

Prison myth number two: In order to protect oneself from harm in the big house, one must construct a stabby weapon like a "shank" out of a spoon. Again, NOT TRUE. I simply borrowed a letter opener from one of the deputies. But even this was unnecessary! As it turned out, Otis refused to engage me in a "jailhouse shank fight," and remained sound asleep even after I jabbed him in the bottom. See? Even while unconscious, Otis is a feelings hurter.

And let's not even talk about hot laundry-room sex! I spent my entire one-day sentence without receiving or administering a single blow job. That's like a world record for me! (Although I did peg the deputy two weeks later.)

The point is that one should always approach prison with an open mind. Take, for example, this week's most promising debut, Prison Break (Fox, 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29). Hunky Michael Scofield gets hot under the collar when his equally hunky brother gets framed for murder and sent to death row. Happily, Michael is a hot-shit prison designer, and in order to clear bro's name, he gets himself arrested and begins planning the biggest prison escape ever!

Like a cross between 24, Lost and The Great Escape, Prison Break is an exciting, fast-paced puzzle that reveals a new and shocking secret every week. And while there will probably be the occasional shank fight and anal rape, the producers promise a more realistic look at prison life. So far, Prison Break is THE "buzz show" of the new season – so don't miss it! And if you ever find yourself in prison, I hope Otis isn't your cellmate. If "hurting feelings" were a capital offense, this guy would get the chair.

Dropping the soap is OK, too. steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, AUG. 25
8 P.M. WB SMALLVILLE
Clark is all about his new super-powered dog – until he has to feed him and clean up his super-powered poop!

10 P.M. FX STARVED
Sam finally hooks up with his TV-commercial crush, but she likes Billie instead! Ouch!

FRIDAY, AUG. 26
8 P.M. A&E CHILD STARS II
Mary-Kate and Ashley, Brooke Shields and that girl who played Blossom reflect on growing up in Hollywood.

10 P.M. SCIFI BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Adama joins President Roslyn on Kobol to help kick those Cylons right in the can!

SATURDAY, AUG. 27
9 P.M. SCIFI PTERODACTYL – Movie (2005)
In this horror cheesefest, commandos take on an army of eye-pecking dino-birds!

SUNDAY, AUG. 28
8 P.M. NBC EAGLES FAREWELL TOUR 1
Like herpes, this classic rock band just keeps coming back for more.

8 P.M. MTV 2005 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS
Supposedly celebrating the best music videos in the world –so why do they keep ignoring Kajagoogoo?

MONDAY, AUG. 29
8 P.M. FOX PRISON BREAK
Debut! Brainiac little brother tries to break out his incarcerated sibling in the buzziest show of the new fall season!

10:30 P.M. FX IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
When Charlie gets diagnosed with cancer, his pals use this as an opportunity to pick up chicks.

TUESDAY, AUG. 30
9 P.M. NBC TOMMY LEE GOES TO COLLEGE
After finding college fraternities not to his liking, Tommy starts the most disgusting frat ever!

10:30 P.M. COM STELLA
Horribly depressed, the boys turn to psychotherapy for help.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31
8 P.M. FAM DIRTY DANCING – Movie (1987)
Celebrate "National Patrick Swayze Day" with this time-honored classic of dancing and statutory rape.

9 P.M. SPIKE POINT BREAK – Movie (1991)
"National Patrick Swayze Day" continues with one of Swayze's finest works. It's, like, "100 percent pure adrenaline!"

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