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The Reader's Eye on Television

Oh, they love to tell you they're in a wheelchair, don't they? This one screamed it. "I see you're in a wheelchair, sir." I said, exasperated with his shenanigans.

"Then why the hell did you park in my spot?"

His spot stands empty, all week, until he navigates his giant Lincoln into it, wheels himself into the liquor store, and returns with a lap full of brandy. You'd think a man in his 20s would opt for a masculine and shining SUV to drain his disability check instead of the 20-year-old Town Car. The kid lost the bottom of his legs in Iraq.

"It's not your spot," I answered. True, he'd fashioned a rectangular plaque from a former wine box, covered it in masking tape, and scrawled across it, "Rodney's Spot! Don't Park Here!" And the ink is very close to "cripple blue," but that's hardly an official designated handicapped parking place.

"You'd take a spot from a man in a wheelchair?" he asked.

"Listen," I said as I grabbed him by the collar. "You like to bully people with this thing. It's your ramming chariot, and you like to bang it into anyone you meet to show them your raw deal and shriveled legs. But, really, you're just a jerk. I parked in this spot maybe ten minutes, and I'd leave it now if you hadn't blocked me in. You want to sit here and eat cookies and drink brandy all day, but did you know that Harry Truman was in a wheelchair? And he was a president!"

"Truman wasn't in a wheelchair, you moron!" he answered. I cocked an eyebrow; maybe he was right. "That was Roosevelt."

"Aha!" I yelled. "So you already know you don't have to live your life as a booze-soaked and sugar-dusted lump under a plaid blanket. You could be any...wait. Was that Teddy or Franklin?"

"FDR."

"Was he the fat-cheeked one with the big choppers and spectacles?"

"Nope. The other one. FDR was on TV. He said, 'The only thing we have to fear...is fear itself.' He was in black-and-white, but still TV. I think Teddy was back before moving pictures."

"Were they brothers or something?"

"Cousins. Want to know what else is weird? FDR married Eleanor Roosevelt. She was already a Roosevelt. They were cousins, too." "I had no idea. Hey. You got another cookie? Let me have a sip of that brandy."

Thursday, September 27 Johan the Young Scientist ITVS 7:35 p.m. Sometimes I'm a scientist. "Look!" I yell. "I've cured cancer with bubblegum chewed by the butt of a baboon!" I've got one of those reflector things over my eye and a bald kid looks up at me from his hospital bed with hope and love in his gaze. A group of old fat men in white jackets applaud me and I'm elected chancellor of the world.

Reaper CW 9:00 p.m. Do other animals have grim reapers? Is there a zebra reaper that gallops through the Serengeti in a black hood with a scythe between his teeth? His red eyes dart around in the blackness until he spots it, the one sick and weak zebra drinking a little too close to the hyena pack. "Gadzooks!" the zebra reaper whinnies.

Friday, September 28 Moonlight CBS 9:00 p.m. Unless you're Sarah Michelle Gellar, I don't want to hear about how you're mega tough and fight vampires. Actually, even if you are Sarah Michelle Gellar, I don't want to hear about your vampire show. I just want you to take your sweater off and tape your mouth shut and not look at me. Don't look at me, I said!

Saturday, September 29 Golf NBC 9:00 a.m. Only a sheep-riding monkey could make me watch golf. And I would watch every quarter, match, game, or whatever the hell you play in golf. I would sit through its grating, horrid, vast expanse of boredom just to hear the announcer say, "That was Phil Mickelson with a nice shot to get him onto the... Oh! Here comes the sheep-riding monkey!"

Chuck NBC 9:00 p.m. In my youth, NBC was the station of bright, blocky masterpieces such as The Incredible Hulk and The Dukes of Hazzard . Now, they are the station of Chuck . Woe. Woe unto the heads and houses of NBC executives. WOE, I SAY! Bring back green bodybuilders and tacitly prejudiced racecar drivers!

Sunday, September 30 Mystery! PBS 7:00 p.m. Sometimes, when I'm drinking heavily, I rely on my powers of observation to collect clues. Where are my pants? Why am I on a stage? What is that one-eyed Eskimo doing? Dad?

Monday, October 1 So You Made a Movie CA4SD 8:30 p.m. This is a build-your-own joke. Pick one of the following: (A) Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, (B) Donald Trump's Hairspray Can, or (C) The Candy Bar in My Pocket. Now the setting: (A) A Blue Chevy Van with No Windows, (B) A Tijuana Transvestite Bar, or (C) A Duct Tape and Pocket Knife Factory. Now, blend on puree until sweet and smooth.

Tuesday, October 2 Cavemen ABC 8:00 p.m. How'd you like to be the guy who came up with the Geico caveman idea? Sure, you've made some money and everyone's seen one of your ideas, but, in the end, you're the guy who came up with that caveman thing. I'd be okay with it. I'd be rich and I could hang out with the Le Car guy, the hyper-color T-shirt lady, and Vanilla Ice. And there'd be karaoke and strippers and stuff. So, there's that.

Wednesday, October 3 Kitchen Nightmares FOX 9:00 p.m. I was going to write something about "Rumpus Room Daydreams," but I just saw a TV segment about Oscar De La Hoya dressed in fishnet drag, which is the scariest thing of all, because no matter what color his feather boa is, he's still an Olympic gold-medal boxer and former world champion, and he could knock you out colder than a wedge if you said his pumps didn't match his toenails. That's a nightmare of Barry Manilow babysitting proportions.

Thursday, October 4 Survivor: China CBS 8:00 p.m. What are we celebrating here? Don't a billion people survive in China everyday? Not only do they survive, but they paint our toys with lead and line our undergarments with radiation and import cardboard chicken dumplings and ride bicycles and grow those long funny white mustaches from the sides of their mouths. And that's just the women.

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Oh, they love to tell you they're in a wheelchair, don't they? This one screamed it. "I see you're in a wheelchair, sir." I said, exasperated with his shenanigans.

"Then why the hell did you park in my spot?"

His spot stands empty, all week, until he navigates his giant Lincoln into it, wheels himself into the liquor store, and returns with a lap full of brandy. You'd think a man in his 20s would opt for a masculine and shining SUV to drain his disability check instead of the 20-year-old Town Car. The kid lost the bottom of his legs in Iraq.

"It's not your spot," I answered. True, he'd fashioned a rectangular plaque from a former wine box, covered it in masking tape, and scrawled across it, "Rodney's Spot! Don't Park Here!" And the ink is very close to "cripple blue," but that's hardly an official designated handicapped parking place.

"You'd take a spot from a man in a wheelchair?" he asked.

"Listen," I said as I grabbed him by the collar. "You like to bully people with this thing. It's your ramming chariot, and you like to bang it into anyone you meet to show them your raw deal and shriveled legs. But, really, you're just a jerk. I parked in this spot maybe ten minutes, and I'd leave it now if you hadn't blocked me in. You want to sit here and eat cookies and drink brandy all day, but did you know that Harry Truman was in a wheelchair? And he was a president!"

"Truman wasn't in a wheelchair, you moron!" he answered. I cocked an eyebrow; maybe he was right. "That was Roosevelt."

"Aha!" I yelled. "So you already know you don't have to live your life as a booze-soaked and sugar-dusted lump under a plaid blanket. You could be any...wait. Was that Teddy or Franklin?"

"FDR."

"Was he the fat-cheeked one with the big choppers and spectacles?"

"Nope. The other one. FDR was on TV. He said, 'The only thing we have to fear...is fear itself.' He was in black-and-white, but still TV. I think Teddy was back before moving pictures."

"Were they brothers or something?"

"Cousins. Want to know what else is weird? FDR married Eleanor Roosevelt. She was already a Roosevelt. They were cousins, too." "I had no idea. Hey. You got another cookie? Let me have a sip of that brandy."

Thursday, September 27 Johan the Young Scientist ITVS 7:35 p.m. Sometimes I'm a scientist. "Look!" I yell. "I've cured cancer with bubblegum chewed by the butt of a baboon!" I've got one of those reflector things over my eye and a bald kid looks up at me from his hospital bed with hope and love in his gaze. A group of old fat men in white jackets applaud me and I'm elected chancellor of the world.

Reaper CW 9:00 p.m. Do other animals have grim reapers? Is there a zebra reaper that gallops through the Serengeti in a black hood with a scythe between his teeth? His red eyes dart around in the blackness until he spots it, the one sick and weak zebra drinking a little too close to the hyena pack. "Gadzooks!" the zebra reaper whinnies.

Friday, September 28 Moonlight CBS 9:00 p.m. Unless you're Sarah Michelle Gellar, I don't want to hear about how you're mega tough and fight vampires. Actually, even if you are Sarah Michelle Gellar, I don't want to hear about your vampire show. I just want you to take your sweater off and tape your mouth shut and not look at me. Don't look at me, I said!

Saturday, September 29 Golf NBC 9:00 a.m. Only a sheep-riding monkey could make me watch golf. And I would watch every quarter, match, game, or whatever the hell you play in golf. I would sit through its grating, horrid, vast expanse of boredom just to hear the announcer say, "That was Phil Mickelson with a nice shot to get him onto the... Oh! Here comes the sheep-riding monkey!"

Chuck NBC 9:00 p.m. In my youth, NBC was the station of bright, blocky masterpieces such as The Incredible Hulk and The Dukes of Hazzard . Now, they are the station of Chuck . Woe. Woe unto the heads and houses of NBC executives. WOE, I SAY! Bring back green bodybuilders and tacitly prejudiced racecar drivers!

Sunday, September 30 Mystery! PBS 7:00 p.m. Sometimes, when I'm drinking heavily, I rely on my powers of observation to collect clues. Where are my pants? Why am I on a stage? What is that one-eyed Eskimo doing? Dad?

Monday, October 1 So You Made a Movie CA4SD 8:30 p.m. This is a build-your-own joke. Pick one of the following: (A) Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, (B) Donald Trump's Hairspray Can, or (C) The Candy Bar in My Pocket. Now the setting: (A) A Blue Chevy Van with No Windows, (B) A Tijuana Transvestite Bar, or (C) A Duct Tape and Pocket Knife Factory. Now, blend on puree until sweet and smooth.

Tuesday, October 2 Cavemen ABC 8:00 p.m. How'd you like to be the guy who came up with the Geico caveman idea? Sure, you've made some money and everyone's seen one of your ideas, but, in the end, you're the guy who came up with that caveman thing. I'd be okay with it. I'd be rich and I could hang out with the Le Car guy, the hyper-color T-shirt lady, and Vanilla Ice. And there'd be karaoke and strippers and stuff. So, there's that.

Wednesday, October 3 Kitchen Nightmares FOX 9:00 p.m. I was going to write something about "Rumpus Room Daydreams," but I just saw a TV segment about Oscar De La Hoya dressed in fishnet drag, which is the scariest thing of all, because no matter what color his feather boa is, he's still an Olympic gold-medal boxer and former world champion, and he could knock you out colder than a wedge if you said his pumps didn't match his toenails. That's a nightmare of Barry Manilow babysitting proportions.

Thursday, October 4 Survivor: China CBS 8:00 p.m. What are we celebrating here? Don't a billion people survive in China everyday? Not only do they survive, but they paint our toys with lead and line our undergarments with radiation and import cardboard chicken dumplings and ride bicycles and grow those long funny white mustaches from the sides of their mouths. And that's just the women.

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