Thursday, January 25


Things I Learned Watching Daytime Television

So I have spent a few days early in the month recovering from a most unpleasant bout of food poisoning, on a careful diet of Saltines, Jello and sports drinks, the age-old parent-approved remedies for tummy trouble. The only thing missing, however, and very essential to the remedy, was a repeat viewing of the Late Middle Ages episode of Art of the Western World, so important that I will forever associate the Isenheim altarpiece with Gatorade. As it was, I wasn't high enough up on the evolutionary scale at that point to handle such intellectual feasts, much less read, write or draw, so instead I spent most of my time at home drifting in and out mentally while TV marched relentlessly forward. After half-sleeping through two days of repeat sitcoms, forgettable documentaries and worse, I have now formulated the following conclusions:

1. The History Channel is actually one very long continually-running episode of Nazi Secrets of the Templar Gold of the Daughter of Mary Magdalene, or possibly Tales of the Gun, Part XXXIX.

2. If a genre is truly dead, it will be extensively featured on the lineup of the Disney Channel, which now consists wholly of sitcoms manufactured in Canadian sweatshops by starving child actors.

3. Jerry Stiller is everybody's father.

4. Alan Alda is all-wise and all-knowing, and should be President of Humanity. (Note mocking tone.)

5. Large families only come about when previously-married persons get together. The children are always carefully-coded by hair.

6. There are large mountain ranges in Wisconsin.

7. The appearance of Little Richard spontaneously causes people to want to buy car insurance.

8. New Yorkers live in gigantic apartments usually three or four times as big as the whole third floor of my building, especially if they are all unemployed actors or pursuing a career in professional waitressing.

9. Large fat men inevitably get married to disconcertingly beautiful women way out of their league.

10. Large numbers of aspiring chefs, VCR repairmen, and GED candidates watch daytime TV.

11. Sally Struthers is no longer shilling for those guys who can give you a degree in VCR maintenance. The girl who does it is now much prettier, though she may be married to a fat guy.

12. There is a product known as Pet Stairs.

13. Any program called "World's Weirdest UFO Stories" is something of a rhetorical tautology.

14. Pet Stairs is ideal for overweight pets.

15. Apparently, this must mean there are overweight pets in the United States.

16. The standard form of communication among family members is the snipe.

17. Divorced parents always remain geographically close, and spend inordinate amounts of time around their exes--mostly sniping.

18. And why do we have overweight pets? Could it be because we advertise pet food in a manner that suggests it is more succulent, than, say TGI Friday's? On the other hand, that may be damning with faint praise.

19. Small towns in Conneticut are full of really annoying quirky people, as opposed to 400,000 square-foot mansions inhabited by WASPs in Polo leisurewear.

20. Every episode of Everyone Loves Raymond is contractually obligated to turn into a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by the end of the show. This may have actually made me more ill.

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