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The Reader's Eye on Television

It's the compulsion, the need that keeps you awake until dawn. The drugs are secondary. That hole has to be filled. Somehow you were given that hole. During your childhood. The intricate latticework of behavioral development, all the decisions, rewards, reprimands that build your character were somehow cracked. You were shamed. You were embarrassed. You failed at a tiny task that you had built up to be the most important event of your young life. You failed.

Now you find yourself mangled on a handful of drugs and a bottle of booze. You're in someone's apartment, but whose? You've been fading in and out of a blackout, understanding things coherently for a couple of minutes and then losing that spark of recognition and operating on autopilot, chasing compulsion into the bathroom.

Two women are humping each other on the couch next to you and you feel like you should know their names. You remember having met them hours ago in the bar and going back to their place for an after-hours party, but everything else is hazy. There's another hole. The hole in your memory.

You remember putting on a fashion show. Trying on different hats and jackets. Pulling articles of clothing out of a stranger's closet and parading around the living room. Scarves. Boas. Boots. Clothes get strewn.

It was after the fistfight and before getting drenched in the sprinklers on the front lawn that you and your new friends started singing television theme songs. How something like that starts I'll never know. I'll never understand. But there you are, a dozen of you, all out on the sidewalk looking up at the streetlight and belting out "Where Everybody Knows Your Name."

Your father was overprotective or your mother clobbered you with guilt, and now there you are. In big purple sunglasses with mysterious stains on your jeans holding a red plastic cup filled with heartache and pain.

What have you become?

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, October 13

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

USA 8:00 p.m.

A friend of mine, Renee, embraces her lifestyle of petty crime -- jaywalking, running yellow lights, speeding, that sort of thing. In a cute singsong voice she says, "Be sure to break the law every day." I can't wait until she has kids.

Good Times

TVLAND 7:30 p.m.

My roommates are leaving San Diego, so we had our last party in this apartment. Things got plenty weird, but never out of hand. This morning I woke up to find a pair of men's jeans, a shirt, and a belt in our living room. Did someone streak? Did he drive home like that? What on earth could have made that person come to the decision to shuck his outerwear and head off into the night? I want to know why he was on our couch and thought to himself, "You know what would feel great right now?"

Friday, October 14

Ghost Whisperer

CBS 8:00 p.m.

Terrific. Another psychic show. They couldn't even come up with an original title. What kind of moron would watch this? Wait. Jennifer Love Hewitt is the star. I'm in. I'll watch it.

Saturday, October 15

Loonatics Unleashed

WB 10:30 a.m.

This is the new extreme version of Looney Tunes with the ninja Bugs Bunny who shoots lasers out of his eyes. My childhood has now officially been raped.

Grease (1978)

FAM 5:30 p.m.

What is it with girls and this movie? Every woman I've ever met loves Grease , and they always try to get me to watch it. The 15 minutes of it that I have seen has left me to believe it's about as entertaining as chewing tinfoil.

Sunday, October 16

Fetus Snatchers

TLC 9:00 p.m.

The cat is so far out of the bag now in America that the Learning Channel can air a program called Fetus Snatchers Sunday night at 9 o'clock. I'll say that again because it bears repeating. Fetus. Snatchers. My mouth will be wide open with shock for the next ten minutes.

Monday, October 17

The Transporter (2002)

FX 8:00 p.m.

Of all the fakey, high-flying, martial arts movies, this is by far the fakiest. At one point the main character knocks two men out while armed only with a shirt. That's right. Two men. Knocked unconscious. With a T-shirt. To the director I would like to say, "Bravo. You have truly mastered the absurd."

Tuesday, October 18

Mind of Mencia

COMEDY 9:00 p.m.

Because of this show I'm coining the phrase "Comedy Central Curse." The curse is when a brilliant standup comedian gets his own series and it's awful crap. I'm afraid for Adam Corolla.

Wednesday, October 19

Dog the Bounty Hunter

ARTS 8:00 p.m.

At the ESPN bar in the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas I saw a guy with a fantastic mullet. This thing would fetch a blue ribbon at any county fair. This man must have labored intensely to get everything perfect -- spiked on top, frosted tips, a perm in the back. It was cared for like a bonsai tree. The beauty of it was stunning.

Thursday, October 20

Ghost (1990)

FAM 8:00 p.m.

I'm going to make bumper stickers that read, "Crazy for Swayze" and put them on the cars that take up two parking spaces.

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It's the compulsion, the need that keeps you awake until dawn. The drugs are secondary. That hole has to be filled. Somehow you were given that hole. During your childhood. The intricate latticework of behavioral development, all the decisions, rewards, reprimands that build your character were somehow cracked. You were shamed. You were embarrassed. You failed at a tiny task that you had built up to be the most important event of your young life. You failed.

Now you find yourself mangled on a handful of drugs and a bottle of booze. You're in someone's apartment, but whose? You've been fading in and out of a blackout, understanding things coherently for a couple of minutes and then losing that spark of recognition and operating on autopilot, chasing compulsion into the bathroom.

Two women are humping each other on the couch next to you and you feel like you should know their names. You remember having met them hours ago in the bar and going back to their place for an after-hours party, but everything else is hazy. There's another hole. The hole in your memory.

You remember putting on a fashion show. Trying on different hats and jackets. Pulling articles of clothing out of a stranger's closet and parading around the living room. Scarves. Boas. Boots. Clothes get strewn.

It was after the fistfight and before getting drenched in the sprinklers on the front lawn that you and your new friends started singing television theme songs. How something like that starts I'll never know. I'll never understand. But there you are, a dozen of you, all out on the sidewalk looking up at the streetlight and belting out "Where Everybody Knows Your Name."

Your father was overprotective or your mother clobbered you with guilt, and now there you are. In big purple sunglasses with mysterious stains on your jeans holding a red plastic cup filled with heartache and pain.

What have you become?

WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK

Thursday, October 13

Law & Order: Criminal Intent

USA 8:00 p.m.

A friend of mine, Renee, embraces her lifestyle of petty crime -- jaywalking, running yellow lights, speeding, that sort of thing. In a cute singsong voice she says, "Be sure to break the law every day." I can't wait until she has kids.

Good Times

TVLAND 7:30 p.m.

My roommates are leaving San Diego, so we had our last party in this apartment. Things got plenty weird, but never out of hand. This morning I woke up to find a pair of men's jeans, a shirt, and a belt in our living room. Did someone streak? Did he drive home like that? What on earth could have made that person come to the decision to shuck his outerwear and head off into the night? I want to know why he was on our couch and thought to himself, "You know what would feel great right now?"

Friday, October 14

Ghost Whisperer

CBS 8:00 p.m.

Terrific. Another psychic show. They couldn't even come up with an original title. What kind of moron would watch this? Wait. Jennifer Love Hewitt is the star. I'm in. I'll watch it.

Saturday, October 15

Loonatics Unleashed

WB 10:30 a.m.

This is the new extreme version of Looney Tunes with the ninja Bugs Bunny who shoots lasers out of his eyes. My childhood has now officially been raped.

Grease (1978)

FAM 5:30 p.m.

What is it with girls and this movie? Every woman I've ever met loves Grease , and they always try to get me to watch it. The 15 minutes of it that I have seen has left me to believe it's about as entertaining as chewing tinfoil.

Sunday, October 16

Fetus Snatchers

TLC 9:00 p.m.

The cat is so far out of the bag now in America that the Learning Channel can air a program called Fetus Snatchers Sunday night at 9 o'clock. I'll say that again because it bears repeating. Fetus. Snatchers. My mouth will be wide open with shock for the next ten minutes.

Monday, October 17

The Transporter (2002)

FX 8:00 p.m.

Of all the fakey, high-flying, martial arts movies, this is by far the fakiest. At one point the main character knocks two men out while armed only with a shirt. That's right. Two men. Knocked unconscious. With a T-shirt. To the director I would like to say, "Bravo. You have truly mastered the absurd."

Tuesday, October 18

Mind of Mencia

COMEDY 9:00 p.m.

Because of this show I'm coining the phrase "Comedy Central Curse." The curse is when a brilliant standup comedian gets his own series and it's awful crap. I'm afraid for Adam Corolla.

Wednesday, October 19

Dog the Bounty Hunter

ARTS 8:00 p.m.

At the ESPN bar in the New York, New York casino in Las Vegas I saw a guy with a fantastic mullet. This thing would fetch a blue ribbon at any county fair. This man must have labored intensely to get everything perfect -- spiked on top, frosted tips, a perm in the back. It was cared for like a bonsai tree. The beauty of it was stunning.

Thursday, October 20

Ghost (1990)

FAM 8:00 p.m.

I'm going to make bumper stickers that read, "Crazy for Swayze" and put them on the cars that take up two parking spaces.

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