Friday, March 11, 2005

Three Dumb Television Ideas (for two guys named Chris)

Number One

The Parents Television Council, a nanny organization whose mission is to find smut wherever it lurks, has created a Worst of the Week Clips Gallery online wherein you can download and watch the truly atrocious things being broadcast on television.

No, it’s not FoxNews or any one of the myriad of excretiating, venti-sized jugs of crapola reality programs that clutter the airwaves with their stench of desperately-longing-to-be-famous Americans. Nor is it the plain awful broadcast news that chew up your time with their banal human interest stories about paraplegics who save puppies, like I could be bothered to give exactly less than one nanosecond’s worth of my life giving two shits. It isn’t even regular news or their bastard spawn the newsmagazine shows with their relentless focus on what the hell Michael Jackson wore to his kiddy fucking trial other than his ghastly cybertronic face.

Instead, what these Internet bluenoses have done is compile Windows Media File clips of dirty words, “gratuitous… innuendo” (not making that up), teen sex, and scenes of necrophilia (again, not making this up) that anyone can go and download to their computer. If you thought the VCR or TiVo was bad for catching filth, this allows you to own the perversion in question and to watch it as frequently as you want for as long as you want.

Needless to say, I think this is goddamned hysterically funny. It’s almost as if the PTC had a secret Fifth Columnist in its ranks who sought to undermine their whole reason for being. What this group wants to do is to “purify” our nation’s airwaves (and cable boxes and satellite dishes and computers and home magazine subscriptions and thoughts and feelings and, well, you get the picture) of dirty, filthy, sneaky, awfully tempting, sinfully delicious smut.

And it’s not even censored when you get it from their site. I first downloaded the smallest video, a snippet of Motely Crüe’s live appearance on NBC’s The Tonight Show’s New Year’s Eve show (four apostrophes nested together, score!). In it, lead singer Vince Neil shouts, “Happy Fucking New Year, Tommy” to bandmate Tommy Lee. I thought PTC would expect us to take their word for it and would bleep the f-word into sweet sweet nothingness. But no, there it was, in all its raw Anglo-Saxon glory. If I were a teenager (okay, let’s face it, since I’m so immature) I’d giggle my ass off at that.

Intrigued, I downloaded the Teen Orgy Party scene from the CBS show, Without a Trace. Pretty hot for a network aimed at geezers, I have to admit, but its only real indecent part is that it’s so badly lit and only features chicks in bikini tops and bare backs. What, is that dirty or something? The other clip of interest to me to download was a Dentyne advertisement because I couldn’t really imagine that a commercial for chewing gum could be all that nasty.

And, of course it really isn’t. A girl brings her boyfriend home to meet the family, pops a piece of gum in her mouth during the whole parents interview, and gets hot and jumps her boyfriend. There’s a lot of frantic, pseudo-passionate kissing, she mounts him and pulls off her sweater, then the mom pops a piece of the gum and jumps her hubby. It’s pretty damn tame, if you want my opinion, perhaps a bit raunchy for some lame ass gum, but it’s not like she’s topless or even in a bra when she pulls off her sweater. She’s wearing a tank top under it, for crying out loud, and when she jumps on top of the guy, she doesn’t start humping him for Christ’s sake.

If there are bigger faults than shooting their dumbass selves in the foot, it’s that PTC doesn’t cater to those of us who don’t use Internet Explorer and they don’t update their Worst of the Week Clips often enough. These so-called weekly clips are the same friggin’ ones that I saw the last time I went to the site — over three weeks ago. Come on, people! Some of us want our teen orgy clips a little more timely than this tired old shit. Then, a number of the clips’ links were JavaScript commands to pop open a second Window that had a Windows Media Player embedded in it, but it didn’t work in my Firefox browser. Again, what’s up with that? As a concerned parent who’s not an IE user, don’t I have every right to see all the soft-core crap I missed while I was reading books and playing with my child instead of blankly staring at some electronic box with her?

As a bonus, a little appetizer while waiting for your porn to download, the site also includes a drop down menu of TV shows that’ll tell you what’s wholesome enough for family viewing. They’re all there, from 7th Heaven to Yes, Dear, so much shit I ain’t never heard of. Sue Thomas F.B. Eye? What the fuck? The Rebel Billionaire? Huh? It’s like that old riddle. Is this shit indecent if no one watches it? They’ve even got shows that are in syndication. I scrolled through to find out exactly how badly they rated Fred Sanford’s repeated threats of violence, faked heart attacks, lying, and abuse of Ripple (Champipple, champagne and Ripple), but it wasn’t listed. Suckers.

I did find out that perhaps the only genuinely good show on television, America’s Funniest Home Videos, included “men getting hit in the groin by various objects” as one of the objectionable elements of the show. Damn, you fools, that’s what makes it gold. What would be objectionable is old episodes in syndication featuring Bob Saget, the most unfunny person in the history of television including Walter Cronkite and that enormous pumpkin-sized parasite perched on Tim Russert’s shoulders.

(Hat tip to Cynical-C for pointing this out.)

Number Two

CNN’s “The Blog Report”

I had concluded that the PTC had the stupidest idea ever with what I outlined above when I caught a snippet of this show on CNN. Prepare yourself for what I’m about to tell you, because this idea is so mind-numbingly moronic, you are going to feel the brain cells in your head die as you read these words.

The Blog Report features CNN personalities sitting at computers linked to the Internet and reading political blogs out loud.


I couldn’t possibly write something this incredibly stupid if I sat down and tried. Not if I fucking tried. There are unflushed gas station toilets with better ideas for television programming than this. This idea is so utterly beyond the pale of imbecility it’s really a wonder the creative team at MSNBC didn’t think it up first. I mean MSNBC has the worst programming since Jonestown, but still...

And because CNN is aiming for a hip, young, wired audience, the bit is filmed in faux cinéma-vérité epileptic shaky cam — because that’s what the kids are down with, yo. It gave me a headache in less than two seconds and I kept waiting for the obligatory drum track sampling to kick in. Apparently, though, the bit is such an embarrassment that the tech guys who run can’t be persuaded to link to it, feature it, or even mention it save where it’s buried in the “Inside Politics” transcripts.

There is cluelessness and then there is a higher order of cluelessness, the kind of rank feeble-mindedness that is almost fractal in its grand architecture of stupidity. Stupid down to the subatomic level, stupid that is cosmic in its implications. With this idea alone, the existential void has never before opened up so clearly for all humanity to gaze into.

Way to go CNN.

Number Three

The public library near where I live has just recently begun stocking the AV department with episodes of television shows long since off the air. Bad television shows like Knight Rider and The Dukes of Hazzard. But wait, it gets worse.