When columnists watch too much TV 


If you're one of those people who thinks a bourbon and Coke would be much better if they left out the Coke, who thinks that foreplay is that part where you look at each other, and who wonders why KFC has never thought of selling just the skin, you probably love Fox TV. They, like you, are not concerned with form or content. They, like you, want to get in, do it, and get out, like a surgeon or a sniper.

(Disclaimer: The only thing we will not soap up in this lather of praise is "Fox News" on Sunday. Clumsily inserted between the orgy of "X-Files" episodes, the local newscast causes a case of Alien Interruptus so severe, it's very like how you might feel if you were about to have sex with someone spectacular and suddenly found your granny sitting on the edge of the bed smelling like the Old Country and bitching about the poor quality of head cheese in America.)

The real feather in the Fox cap, the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'ams they excel at, are those gory, horrifying, exploitative, riveting specials such as "When Animals Attack" or "World's Deadliest Police Chases." Realizing the public's blood-lust has not diminished since the Roman Empire and that everyone talks about these things (and sometimes screams about them in their sleep), they branched out and showed us deadly swarms, magic secrets involving sharp swords, and a wide variety of morons escaping death during recreational outings.

What's the story?

These things really deliver, offering at least five good nail-biters per hour, unlike a movie, where you have to learn about the characters before seeing one of them nearly get eaten by a crocodile. In the vernacular of Joe Bob Briggs (hushed reverence please), these shows are the apex of no-plot-to-get-in-the-way-of-the-story.

And the narration is what really makes it all worthwhile. Coming from the Rivera Brothers School of Making Everything Sound Just Awful, Fox's narrator, retired Sheriff John Bunnell, makes you feel that if he's this horrified at the proceedings, perhaps you should be as well, and ought to keep watching in case anyone really gets hurt.

Fox has now promised about four of these things a week, including Marcia Clark grilling famous bamboozlers in a show called "Lie Detector." If only she would wear a leather corset and hold a cattle prod while doing it.

Four of these meaty visual thrill rides a week will definitely add ballast to the diet of the TV viewer, but as it is, they're only ever covering police business or the neck-breaking antics of people whose friends could somehow work a video camera but could not dial 911. Chilling events take place all the time. Given that Bunnell could make a simple hair-cut into a spine-turning page tingler ("The scissors are poised almost directly in front of the eye; one false move could result in an orgy of blood and blindness ... a snip here ...a snip there ... and the consumer escapes with her life and a straight set of bangs ... this time"), these are a few other situations we'd like to see covered When Fox Attacks:

" ... Many couples believe there is no grander church than the great outdoors in which to sanctify their bonds of love. ... Dick and Jane thought so, too, until she threw the bouquet and hit a hornets nest ... the honeymoon hospital horror ... next on ‘World's Deadliest Weddings ...'"

" ... Sparky, say hello to your Aunt Liz ... Sparky says, ‘I'm such a good girl.' You're a good girl, aren't you, Sparky? Say, ‘I can't wait till my Aunt Liz comes over so I can give her a big kiss' ... ‘Idiots Who Think Their Dogs are People and Put Them on the Phone,' next ...'"

Candy and a baby

" ... An idyllic scene in a public park: She threw the wrapper into the trash and suddenly was set upon by what seemed like dozens, then hundreds of the tiny creatures, biting, clawing, screeching, scratching, a peaceful scene turned into chaos, ‘When Children Think You Have Gum' ... "

"A simple evening out turns into tragedy with just no way to escape ... nothing but swing music, wave upon wave of tattoos, triple-chocolate-amaretto-tuna melt-martinis, cigar smoke as thick as a blubber milkshake and Rachels, Rachels everywhere. ... ‘When Good Trends Go Bad' ... last season, the season before that, and now again this season, on Fox ... "

" ... ‘You can just drop me off on the corner,' ‘I'm in between jobs right now,' ‘No, I'd rather just come to your house.' He doesn't know his underwear size, what a price scanner is or how to work a washing machine ... ‘How to Spot a Guy Who Still Lives With His Parents ... "

"And finally, tragedy struck an Orlando columnist when, after watching way too many Fox specials, she started to talk ... like this. ‘When Good Concepts Spin Out of Control,' tonight on ... "


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