So its been awhile. The ABIB has been dealing with a serious sitch that has kept her tethered to home and hearth for some time now. Of course being the pop culture/media vulture that I am that also means that I have been tethered to my TV morning, noon and night. Here's what I've learned while glued to the tube:
1. "The Jerry Springer Show" is way more entertaining than anyone with half a brain and an expensive education, save The ABIB, will ever admit. Being the modern equivalent of the Victorian freak show, it provides one with that dirty little voyeuristic peek behind the curtain that our hoop-skirted predecessors used to pay a halfpence for. Freaks of every stripe with tons of baby-daddy-cheating-boyfriend/girlfriend-teen-seeking-to-have-a-baby-to-her-trailer-park-Mama's-crocodile-tear-stained-chagrin drama and little access to modern dentistry scream, pull hair, spit on each other and practically speak in tongues during the jam-packed hour of mayhem and magic. Plus, the studio audience at any given Jerry Springer taping could, in a pinch, sub in for anyone on the stage. It's a hoot to sit in your living room watching the craziness unfold, feeling vastly superior and haughtily amused, while simultaneously praying that nobody chooses to drop by and actually see Jerry Springer on your TV. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
2. When all else fails I can actually watch back-to-back episodes of "The King of Queens". But then I have to take a shower afterward.
3. Most daytime commercials are hawking horrible fast food crap and they fetishize cheese. Every foodstuff from hotdogs dripping with eight different condiments to the endless versions of greasy burgers available at a dizzying panopoly of grease joints, to, I kid you not, a cheese-stuffed filet mignon, EVERY SINGLE FOOD PORN SHOT CONTAINS DRIPPING CHEESE! Being pulled apart in slo-mo so that it slooooooowly separates between the two halves of whatever it happens to be dousing, or clinging seductively to a forkful of chicken/beef/fries/tortilla chips. Clearly melting, oozing cheese is the visual food equivalent of the Playmate of the Year for the unemployed/under-employed goons (save superior me, of course) who are watching reruns of "Yes, Dear" at 2:30 on any given weekday afternoon. For the record I think all that melting, dripping cheese looks vaguely like puke and it would never sell me anything. Clearly I am not the daytime TV demographic that these food emporiums are aiming for. Thank. Christ.
4. "Maury" is the low class equivalent of Jerry Springer. The sad souls that appear on Maury Povich's show were not deemed to be highbrow enough by Jerry Springer's producers. Baby Daddy Drama is routinely supported by the hard forensic evidence of a DNA test to determine paternity with Povich himself delivering the news to the man child on the hot seat. Slowly he extracts the test results from the plain, manilla folder as everyone breathlessly waits to hear of this lowlife's next eighteen years in and out of child support proceedings or of his ongoing condom-free juggernaut of baby creation. Invariably the "culprit" affects the bored expression that clearly states: "I couldn't give a rat's ass." Frankly, neither could I, but it's way fun to see the triumphant baby mama leap to her feet in angry, superior glee as she announces how "NOW she's gonna get her money for that baby"! Good luck with that, sis. But these DNA test segments are really just the lead-in to the real power of "Maury". If you have a taste for the truly bizarre, keep watching and you will be rewarded. If you find yourself unable to stop laughing at ladies that have paralyzing phobias of balloons or pickles (I actually saw this on a "Maury" segment), clip on your diamond-studded grille from the Dollar Store and sit back and enjoy because "Maury" is for you, my friend. At this point in the show "Maury" literally has no boundaries. Each of these two women were respectively chased with a fistful of inflated balloons and pelted with a variety of pickles. They screamed! They ran! They tried to crawl into a corner! They could not escape the relentless "Maury" crew members who pursued them with the objects of their phobia with the relentless zeal that can only be mustered by a production assistant hoping to hang onto her job past the end of August. For the record: I laughed so hard I peed a little.
5. The nighttime version of number three above is ALCOHOL. Beer is the most frequently shilled beverage but depending on the hour, the network and the show, you can also be sold all manner of wine and a variety of hard liquor. Where the daytime coin of the realm is clearly shooting at the heart of slothful gluttony, the nighttime counterpart is all about skinny women, bubbles and FUN, DAMNIT! Skinny women raising bubbles to their smiling, Restalyn-plumped, shiny lips, views of skinny women laughing and shimmying in sparkly, slinky dresses, gauzy as a dream, through the bubbles lazily floating in a perfect champagne flute and bubbles foaming aggressively over the top of a beer mug in a clearly sexual explosion of froth and FUN, DAMNIT! Everyone in these commercials is continuously laughing, laughing, laughing. It's a never-ending world of FUN, DAMNIT! I guess it looks like fun if you're slumped on your couch with a chestful of potato chip crumbs and a stomach full of sour beer burps working their way up through all the melted cheese and greasy burgers. Because let's face it: TV is the universal hypnomachine and any time you sit down and flip it on you run the risk of waking up in a disoriented haze seven hours later amid Checkers food wrappers and McRib sauce vaguely craving a glass of something with bubbles and needing to put on a sparkly dress. But you know what? The dress looks pretty good on me.