Issue #195 – “TV Guide 2011” – October 17th, 2011

-Summer is my least favorite time of the year. Yes, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping. But all the good television is either in repeats or – worse – replaced by some God-awful reality show. I’m a man who likes his TV, so I feel much better now that the new season has arrived. Instead of wasting time with friends or going outside, I can spend my nights at home, alone on the couch, my DVR humming softly in the background. Our time on this earth is woefully short and since you don’t want to waste even a second watching the wrong show, please sit back and enjoy this year’s TV Guide.

-I calculate how confusing a show is by using the SUMMCM scale (Seconds Until My Mom Calls Me). The all-time record holder is, of course, “Lost,” because my mom would call me before an episode was even over. The current leader is “Fringe.” My mom calls about 30 seconds after each show to try to figure out what happened. I’m like, “Come on, Mom, it’s an alternate…alternate universe,” and then pretend I have call waiting.

-I’ve never had a dog, nor do I particularly like dogs. I’ve also never played fantasy football, nor do I particularly like people who play fantasy football. Yet, strangely, two of my favorite shows are “Wilfred” and “The League” on FX. Then again, the dog on “Wilfred” talks and the guys who play fantasy football on “The League” sleep with and marry attractive women – so clearly neither is very realistic.

-I’m trying to get into “Terra Nova,” I really am. It’s got that dude from “Avatar” playing the exact same role as in “Avatar,” which has got to be the most bizarre typecasting ever. But I just wish they wouldn’t try to jam all this trite family drama into the show (hot husband jealous of equally hot wife / rebellious son rebelling against equally rebellious father / cute daughter unsure if equally cute boy who clearly likes her actually likes her). I mean, hello? There’s freakin’ dinosaurs running around! We need more dinosaurs and less heart-to-heart nonsense. No one wants to see “The Flinstones” meets “The Cosby Show.”

-For my money, the best show on TV right now is “Homeland” on Showtime. It’s got all the right ingredients: terrorist plots, Claire Danes dropping F-bombs, and Mandy Patinkin being all Mandy Patinkin-y. My one gripe is that Claire Danes keeps all her top-secret counterterrorism information in her living room next to a giant sliding glass door with no blinds. But my mom hasn’t called me once so everything else probably makes sense.

-I was at the bar on Thursday and my friend asked why I looked so glum. I said I’d rather be watching “Grey’s Anatomy.” She started to tease me and I thought it was because I’m the only guy who watches “Grey’s,” but it turns out she just thought the show had jumped the shark. Well, duh. This is a show where the Chief of Surgery not only seems to be in charge of the entire hospital, but also the entire emergency response for the greater Seattle area. If medical dramas were supposed to be consistent and realistic, the pilot for “House” would have also been the series finale.

-At the end of the day, I think that the TV characters that resonate the most with us are the ones we can relate to best or aspire to be. For me, it’s David Duchovny playing Hank Moody on “Californication.” We’re both bad boy authors from New York who moved to California for fame and fortune. I mean, we’re basically the same person – minus Hank’s out-of-wedlock daughter, criminal record, and Porsche. But, hey, a guy can dream.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-When I was growing up, my next-door neighbor had two little kids that I used to watch. One of the daughters is now in her twenties and lives here in LA. Lesson learned: when I see her out and someone asks how we know each other, don’t say, “I’m her babysitter.”

-This Halloween I’m gonna be out of the country at a destination wedding. I’m still wearing a costume, though. I’ll be dressed as a guy pretending to be happy for his friend.

-Bank of America has announced it’s gonna lay off about 30,000 people. I withdrew money at my local branch the other day and for some reason my ATM receipt was printed on the nicest, thickest paper I’ve ever seen. It was like resume paper. BofA could probably save some money by downgrading their receipts, and should give that resume paper those who need it most: their soon-to-be ex-employees.

-If you have satellite radio in your car, there is no reason to ever listen to terrestrial radio. It shouldn’t even be an option. There could a little button that says regular radio, but it has to be one of those fake buttons you can’t even press that’s just there to make the console look symmetrical.

-In the summer of 1999, I was interning in Canary Wharf (London’s version of Wall Street) and there were similar protests to the current Occupy Wall Street movement. I was walking to work one morning and some dude dressed as a court jester rode by me on a bicycle and yelled, “Take off your suit!” I remember thinking, bro, you think I wanna be wearing this suit? Seriously, wherever you’re going seems like a lot more fun.

-I can’t believe I let Time Warner Cable convince me to sign up for their “turbo” Internet service. The only thing that seems faster is the speed at which the additional fee is being deducted from my bank account.

-I have never heard of any of the songs my friends are listening to on Spotify.

-And, finally, I truly believe that all of society’s ills, including our flailing economy and crumbling education system, can be traced to one source: reality television. It is not only rotting our brains and making us dumber by the day, but it also sends the message that one can achieve success without hard work or talent. Neither Steve Jobs nor The Situation graduated from college, but the former pulled himself up by his bootstraps while the latter just did a lot of pull-ups. This whole notion of rewarding people based on whose life is a bigger train wreck runs counter to everything America stands for. Occupy Wall Street shouldn’t be protesting capitalism, it should be protesting Kardashianism. It’s time we took a stand against “unscripted” TV. If you want reality, watch CNN. If you want entertainment, watch HBO. And if you want drama, just call your mom and try to explain to her the first season of “Game of Thrones.” Fuck me!