WHERE'S MY PRESENT? 


Yes, I give the Baby Jesus a hard time. And yes, one might say that, because of my continual flogging of Christians in this column, I have no right to celebrate Christmas – or for that matter, receive presents. Well, here's my defense: Receiving presents is the "Santa" side of Christmas, while weeping and reading dusty Bible stories is the "Baby Jesus" side of Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, you can keep your frankincense and myrrh (What is that shit, anyway? Perfume?), and I'll celebrate the part of Christmas where I receive awesome gifts like a video iPod or an Xbox 360.

Besides, Christians shouldn't be getting presents anyway. C'mon, isn't that kind of a sellout? Shouldn't they be spending their time in church, moaning songs celebrating the birth of Christ and weeping over their sinful transgressions? You'd think Christians would pooh-pooh presents because it's a commercialization of their savior. What's more, Christians are horrible at giving presents, because I always end up getting a book of psalms or a pack of tube socks.

Oh! And speaking of crappy gifts, apparently I'm not getting jackpoop from the TV networks this year, either. There's absolutely nothing on, and it's a freaking television wasteland for the next two weeks … so it might be a good idea to stock up on liquor and pills now. HOWEVER! If you can make it to January, there will be a veritable bounty of juicy-ass TV coming down the pike that will make up for sending you skittering to the edge of holiday suicide. For example:

• Dancing with the Stars (ABC, debuts Jan. 5, 2006) Weirdly, this show – which had washed-up celebs competing in ballroom dancing – was one of the most endearing and engrossing of 2005. Now it's coming back with even more washy-uppy stars, including tanning enthusiast George Hamilton, Wayne's World alum Tia Carrere, Melrose Place's Lisa Rinna and former child star Tatum O'Neal. It's gay, deeply humiliating and I LOVE IT!!

• Battlestar Galactica (SCI-FI, debuts Jan. 6) I generally hate the SCI-FI Channel, but their remake of Battlestar Galactica is like eating a dark, depressing, nerd- flavored ice cream cone – with sexy sprinkles! Loads of hot robots, genuinely surprising twists and a nihilistic attitude you won't find in many other shows. Added bonus: Christians hate it.

• The Shield (FX, debuts Jan. 10) The most complicated cop show on TV returns for another morally ambivalent season! Detective Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) heads a team of easily corruptible cops who do their damnedest to protect the community while scoring bribes on the side. Finally! Crime pays!

• Skating with Celebrities (Fox, debuts Jan. 18) Clearly an ice-skating rip-off of ABC's Dancing with the Stars … and I STILL LOVE IT! And these figure-skating wash-ups are the washiest ever! Dig this lineup: Full House's David "the fat one" Coulier, Diff'rent Strokes' Todd "Willis" Bridges, Kristy "the original Buffy" Swanson and Debbie "Omigod, it's Debbie Gibson!" Gibson! WOW! It's like I died and went to heaven (except there aren't any Christians, and God gives me a video iPod)!

Santa, send my video iPod to …
steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, DEC. 22
8 P.M. FOX DOUBLE O.C.!

Two back-to-back holiday episodes featuring the famed SnO.C. Winter Ball and the origin of Chrismukkah!

9 P.M. SPIKE MXC
This hee-larious overdubbed Japanese game show returns with another great competition: "James Bond vs. Country Music Superstars."

FRIDAY, DEC. 23
8 P.M. UPN FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN

Love wrestling but hate the boring parts? Check out these clips of the best slams of ‘05!

8:30 P.M. FAM WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
(Movie, 1971) Charlie Bucket scams his way into Wonka's factory and commits a hostile takeover.

SATURDAY, DEC. 24
8 P.M. TBS A CHRISTMAS STORY

(Movie, 1983) Ralphie shoots his eye out with a B.B. gun. Merry Christmas, and we told you so!

8 P.M. FAM CREEPY WOODEN PUPPET MARATHON
An evening of creepy wooden puppet Xmas specials, including Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.

SUNDAY, DEC. 25
11 A.M. SCI-FI GIANT SNAKE MARATHON

Celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus with an all-day marathon devoted to giant slithering snakes. Includes Python, Python 2 and the seminal Boa vs. Python!

MONDAY, DEC. 26
8 P.M. FOX DOUBLE ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Two bang-up repeats, including Buster's affair with Liza Minnelli and the one where the frozen-banana stand gets tossed in the bay!

TUESDAY, DEC. 27
8 P.M. NBC FEAR FACTOR

The contestants get shot out of a cannon. So when are they going to get shot with a cannon? Chickenshits.

9:30 P.M. NBC THE OFFICE
A very funny repeat that features Jim organizing the first office Olympics.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 28
10 P.M. BRAVO PROJECT RUNWAY

Don't miss the second season of this awesome reality show spotlighting clearly insane fashion designers.

10 P.M. E! JENNIFER ANISTON: AMERICA'S SWEETHEART
Aniston remains an audience favorite, despite being dumped by the genetically superior Brad Pitt and looking like a horse.

steve@portlandmercury.com

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