Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Golden Age of Used Books

This is the Dark Age of television. Each night, my wife and I like to relax for an hour or two in front of the boob tube to just take it easy and unwind after a hectic, stressful day. And each night we find ourselves going to bed at 8 o’clock, reading our books, and nodding off by 9.

That’s only a bit of an exaggeration. But the fact remains that there is virtually nothing on that is worth any ocular effort whatsoever. However, if you like reality TV, then this would be your Golden Age of television — Survivor, American Idol, Dancing with the “Stars”, The Biggest Loser, etc.

Now I’ve watched a little of these shows, and I have found them entertaining — for about 10 minutes. They wear out their welcome PDQ. What they need is a little pizzazz and originality to bring excitement and viewers to their shows. For example, Survivor is always set in a tropical place like Seychelles, Aruba, Fiji, or Hedonism II. I suggest they spice things up by trying a locale like Baffin Island or Ellesmere Island.

Imagine a group of exhibitionistic, 15-minute-fame-seeking misfits matching strength and “wits” on Canada’s frozen tundra while battling frostbite, polar bears, and slippery glaciers. I would eagerly tune in to see that.

American Idol would benefit from allowing contestants of all ages. No-talent 50-somethings like myself could croak out a few discordant notes for your audio/visual pleasure. Like the other rejects on the show, it would be my pleasure to humiliate myself for the sake of quality "entertainment".

Dancing with the “Stars” should have some actual stars on the show. I mean really, who wants to see some washed-up B-movie actors or obscure retired Cricket players dancing the Charleston and the Twist? Instead, how about Jack Nicholson doing the Fox Trot? Or Meryl Streep doing the Can-Can? Or LeBron James doing a Pas de deux with D'Brickashaw Ferguson? Or Bill Clinton doing the Tango? (he’d be pretty good at it, I would assume).

The amazing thing about TV these days is the fact that there are a plethora of channels and yet a dearth of worthwhile programming. I swear, when I was growing up, we had only 5 or 6 channels to choose from, and yet there always seemed to be some decent shows to watch. Hell, even Bozo the Clown and Lunch with Soupy Sales were better than 99% of the programs out there today.

Today — in addition to the major networks and cable channels — we have special interest choices like the Golf Channel, the Fishing Channel, Gypsy News Network, Crokinole TV and the Weasel Channel. I’ve seen some people with satellite TV service that have what seems like a thousand channels to choose from. But what difference does it make when you find that 250 of them are showing Two and a Half Men?

I think I’ll continue shopping at my friendly neighborhood used book store.

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