Considering that I'm on the road performing standup around 150 nights per year, it is difficult for me to get a real attachment to any specific television show. Because of my peculiar lifestyle, I have owned a TIVO since it first came on the market. It's great to be able to pause or rewind certain scenes, or fast forward through commercials, I rarely watch TV when I'm on the road. The only real-time television I watch at home is news and sports programming.
There are few things that are more potentially embarassing than revealing what is in your DVR. I'm pretty comfortable in releasing most of what is in my TIVO, as I mainly watch documentaries. Now the making of Deep Purple's Machine Head album on VH-1 Classic might not seem too intellectual, but I have just as many episodes of Frontline, American Experience, and NOVA to balance the pop culture stuff out. I have previously discussed here how I really like Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Bobby Flay's Throwdown. While on the surface the only thing they share is a discussion of food, I think they also explore creativity and passion for life. I feel no shame about these type of shows. Below are a few shows that I can't be as confident in claiming any type of intellectual integrity to, as these shows in my DVR just feed my base desires.
Rock of Love- This show was tag-teamed with Scott Baio is 45 and Single last year. The Baio show started off stronger, but has lost its steam, with this year's Scott Baio is 46 and Pregnant being pretty worthless. Poison is one of the worst bands in rock history, so I had a negative bias going into watching lead singer Bret Michaels try to meet his soulmate. After watching the initial episode, I said I was done with it, but something deep inside me that I don't want to even know what it is brought me back for week 2. Since then I haven't been able to turn away from this skankfest, as the whores contestants are willing to do anything to become his queen. Considering that the honor provides for a life of staying at home while our boy Bret is out on the road bangin' County Fair Queens, I'm not sure why it is such an illustrious throne, but I'm guessing they've probably sat on worse.
Besides the complete lack of class these women demonstrate, Bret Micheals does a couple things I love to watch, as well. First, it is fascinating to watch the different bandanas that seem to be connected to the weave sitting on his head. I also enjoy how the only song that seems to be played on the show is Every Rose Has It's Thorn. On a special date during season 1, Bret worte a new song for a private date which just happened to have the same melody as Every Rose Has It's Thorn. How inspired! Finally at the end of the show Bret hands out backstage passes to the contestants who will continue on to fight another day for his love, asking them "Will you stay and rock my world." It is so f-ing corny that I have a hard time not breaking out my own version on people, just for the ironic charm of it. Season 2 of the show hasn't been as good as season 1, but I still can't stop watching. What's next? I'm hoping for Jani Lane's Be My Cherry Pie reality show. Yum.
Celebrity Rehab- Another VH-1 pseudo-reality program, this show puts a bunch of D-list celebs in a rehab clinic and exposes them for the addicts they really are. The only thing that they seem to have a bigger addiction for than drugs and alcohol is publicity, so watching them act like attention starved 12 year-olds is kind of fun. Breakout stars have been Taxi's Jeff Conway, who puts in an academy award performance as a 1st-class F-up. Dishonorable Mention goes to Daniel Baldwin, who could not behave more sincere when he is offering up one after another bullshit takes on life. There is one part of the show that keeps it from careening into a complete farce and that is their therapist, Dr. Drew Pinsky. He is the best TV doctor I've ever seen, as he can keep a level head despite how much the whole situation around him is 3-Ring Circus.
The L Word- When this showtime original series hit the airwaves, I gave it a few watches and couldn't get past that it was a pretentious left-wing lesbian soap opera. I hadn't watched it the past couple of years, but have picked back up on it this year for one reason----it has the hottest lesbian sex ever. I don't know when it happened, but the show has given up the pretext that it should have artistic screenplay notions. Now the show works like an episode of Zalman King's Red Shoe Diaries, with the script just moving the story along to get to the naughty bits. The beautiful element of the DVR enables you to fast forward to the sensuous lesbian love trysts that litter each show. I watch these scenes and wonder how a man could ever compete with the seductive sapphic charms of the L Word's main players..
American Idol- I was a later convert to this show, but I guess I can keep my American citizenship as I now watch the show each season. I was initially a bigger fan of the bad singers, but that has run its course for me, as it has become a generic formula. Smartly, Simon Cowell has pulled off from slamming each bad singer with the ferocity of Greg Giraldo at a Comedy Central roast, as it had moved from being funny to being cruel. I actually skipped watching the early rounds this year, but I'm on board for the rest of the season now that the real talent is competing. It looks like a lot stronger, more diverse field than last year, which lacked a good rock or country voice. This is another great show to TIVO, as zipping through a 2-hour Idol presentation in 40 minutes is a lot more time effective method.
So there they are. Not particularly proud, but this piece is about honesty as much as anything else.