Friday, January 11, 2008

How To Survive The Writers Strike

Hey Folks,

There's something that's been bothering me for a while. Of course, many things bother me, but this one is causing me something that's a like a cross between an inconvenience, an annoyance, and a severe frustration; the Hollywood writer's strike.

I just want these selfish stuidos to recognize who really makes the world go round. It isn't Steven Speilberg or Jerry Bruckheimer. It's all these weirdos, eggheads, and sex perverts who write scripts and storylines. Give them 11 cents off every iTunes download. PLEASE! STOP BEING SUCH JERKS AND GIVE ME MY TV BACK!

Pretty soon here, the networks will be completely out of new episodes of our favorite shows if they aren't already. I was both surprised and thrilled that CBS had somehow stashed away some new episodes for this week of some of my favorite shows. Before I go any further, I'd like to warn you that I watch a lot of TV. Do I watch it during the day? Sometimes, but mostly at night after the day's activities are over. When I do, it's usually Tivo'd from the night before or something. See nowadays, I watch TV with a purpose. I have shows that I meant to watch at some other time. No longer do I just "turn on the TV" or "flip through the channels" as you commoners do... but with an empty DVR library, I found myself doing that the other day, and it just felt wrong.

You know why? Because, dammit, it is wrong. I usually have a full slate of DVR'd primtime programs to choose from when I lie around and waste time. See there's wasting time watching nothing, then there's wasting time watching a new CSI Miami on a Wednesday afternoon. Some of you may liken that to the same thing-- fair enough, there isn't much substance to that particular program, but dammit, I still watch it for some reason.

-----Side Note----

They should totally get Shaq a recurring guest role on that show. How sick would that be? He could play himself and kick ass with Horatio Caine, and wear absurdly colored and striped pastel shirts. The retarded dialogue would suit his monotone wit, and he could pick up all the hot chicks in bathing suits that just walk around in the background during breaks in the action. He'd be a little too down...

----End Side Note---

Aside from last nights airing of CBS's last episodes of CSI, CSI NY, Criminal Minds, and Without a Trace and ABC with Grey's Anatomy, I think everyone is out of shows. It's very disheartening to come home from a day's work to check out what new recorded shows you've got from last night and there's nothing there. Just a few reruns of the Simpsons and King of Queens that you've seen 3 or 4 times. I just delete them. I'm not that desperate.

So this is what I recommend to people to do. In lieu of improving yourself, engaging in interpersonal communication or relationships, cleaning the garage or your room, working on those unattainable New Year's resolutions, excercising, or sending text messages on numeric keypads, I recommend that you watch the following things:

1) Sports: Sports are the best thing in the world. Although college football is over, we've still got a handful of NFL games left, plus NBA is in full stride. College basketball started, but I can't watch that stuff for the life of me... not until March Madness. I don't know what it is... I guess my fanhood is lacking in that area. Also emerging from their winter slumbers are Golf and NASCAR. Many of you would rather sleep or stare at a wall like David Puddy than watch the PGA Tour or NASCAR, but you could learn a lot. It can be quite interesting really. They are far more technical and complicated sports than you give them credit for.

If you can find it, try watching the NHL if you're really bored. I dare you to watch it until you understand the game. Then you'll be hooked like you're on a breakaway with Todd Bertuzzi behind you. By the time you understand icing, offside, and the difference between a forecheck, pokecheck, and a hipcheck, you'll be a little too down. Seriously, take the Dan Pera NHL Challenge. I did. It's on your local FSN affiliate, Versus, and NBC Saturday mornings; terrible tv package, but what else can you expect from Gary Bettman.

2) Avoid Reality TV (PLEASE!): I'll tell you right now, if you're still watching that garbage, you need to take a good long hard look in the mirror. I've seen my share of the crap, and it's just not cool anymore. The coolest one I've seen in years was Kid Nation, where a bunch of kids live in this ghost town in different groups. Wild stuff'; but the season already ended. Beyond that, FOX has American Idol coming back up in a few weeks. Hopefully it'll be better than last year, but the first few episodes with all the freaks whose guttural noises, rodent-like squeaking, and sailorlike swearing are always a good watch.

I'm only gonna say this once. May God have mercy on your soul if you watch MTV or VH1. That also includes CMT, which is basically MTV South now. I won't get into any of it... that's another blog for another time.


1) Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations", Travel Channel, new episodes Monday 10 PM PT/ET

This is probably one of the best shows you've never seen. This New York chef/writer/dude goes all over the world in search of good and crazy local food. It's a perfect blend of the Travel Channel and the Food Network. The guy is a tall, skinny, 50ish aging hipster sort who wears cowboy boots, chain smokes, makes fun of things, and eats a lot. He gets drunk with the locals every episode too.

Bourdain is your typical chef: cynical, self-serving, narcissistic, semi-drunken, cigarette-smoking, and occaisonally hilarious. What really adds to the show is the genuine appreciation of other cultures that he encounters. At first, he's sort of like, "What the hell am I doing here, and why does it smell like New Orleans on a hot day?" But then he settles in, and puts on a great show filled with sarcasm and good eats. He's open to eating anything, which may mean live octupus, fried chicken anus, or some other gross shit, but it's like, "When in Rome..."

He's been all over the place: Berlin, Vietnam, Hong Kong, India... crazy, wild stuff. Seriously check it out. The guy is like a mix between Dr. House, Bobby Flay, and Bear Grylls.

Speaking of Bear Grylls...

2) Man vs. Wild, Discovery Channel, New Episodes Fridays

This is one of the best shows ever; it really is. Most of you have probably seen it already. If you haven't seen it, you've heard of it. Bear is this crazy ex-British Special Forces survival expert who does all this wild shit in wild places. Hence "Man vs. Wild".

He's found the formula that works, and it just doesn't get old. His camera crew follows him around as he does extreme hiking, jumps into frigid waters, and survives in deserts.

Obviously the best part of the show is when he eats all kinds of gross shit, like beetles, scorpions, grubs, dead fish, live fish, and dead camels.

My favorite moments include: when he guts and skins an old dead camel, then drinks the fluid he squeezes out of some vegetation that finds in its stomach. Then he proceeds to drag all the guts out and shows us how he would survive a sandstorm. So he crawls inside the carcass of the rotting camel (in the Sahara desert mind you...) and uses its hide as a blanket to completely conceal himself in there. Then he spends the night under the stars, using the hide as a sleeping bag and the decomposing camel's neck as a pillow. Priceless.

Then in Scotland or Iceland, he comes across a dead mountain sheep carcass, and he eats some of the tundra-like flesh. Then he gouges out its eyeball, cooks it in a natural hotspring and scarfs it down. Soo good.

These of course are in addition to severing the spine of a live trout with his teeth, drinking his own urine, drinking the fluid from a pile of elephant shit, and wearing his boxers as a turban and then subsequently urinating on that very turban to "keep cool".

Plus, I read on Wikipedia that he named one of his sons Marmaduke. Sweet.

Reruns, TBS, CW, etc.

Just set a series recording on your DVR for two of the following: Simpsons, Family Guy, King of Queens, or Seinfeld. You've probably seen a lot of them multiple times, but they're still pretty good.

Since I've seen most of all those shows (scary...), I think I'm going to set a series recording for Two and a Half Men. I've seen little bits and pieces of it, and Charlie Sheen is just such a damn sleaze that I think it's worth watching. Just pick up a new sitcom that's on reruns.

If you still feel unfulfilled after hours of Doug Heffernan and SportsCenter, maybe you're not meant for TV. Just read a book or join a drum circle.

Until next time...