Nov 122011

My mother and her dog just spent nearly two weeks with us while she recovered from foot surgery; most of it on the couch in the family room. Since she works afternoon shift, and doesn’t have a DVR, this was a chance for her to take advantage of Comcast’s OnDemand service to catch up on her favorite TV shows.

She did so with a vengeance.

Since I spent a lot of time after work and on the weekends keeping her company, I got caught up too. Since I usually go weeks without turning on the TV, except to play Xbox or PS3, this was a chance to see what I’ve been missing or, more often, what I’ve been NOT missing.

In the interest of snark, I’ve decided to share my pain with the 1-5 people who visit this site on a daily basis, according to Google Analytics (I hope you know who you are, because I sure don’t). This is just a sampling of the fare to be had, in glorious HD.

Anything on HGTV: A lot of networks take the formula for a successful show and duplicate it in hopes of creating more successes, but HGTV has elevated this to, well, insanity.

Every possible way, shape, and form of selling or buying a house has been turned into “follow this couple/family as they try to buy/sell a home”: Curb Appeal, Desperate to Buy, House Hunters, House Hunters International, House Hunters on Vacation, House Hunters in Space, House Hunters: Across the 8th Dimension (ok, maybe not those last two), Love It or List It, My House, Your Money, Property Brothers, and on and on, ad nauseum. That’s just a few of the house hunting shows. I don’t have time to even start on all of the design shows.

They all follow the same format: cute hosts, generally likable couples or families, and three homes to choose from. There’s a little suspense, and a little conflict, but nothing that ever escalates to the level of, say, Maury Povich. This is kind of a shame, because profanity-laced screaming, smashed drywall, and hurled power tools would make a welcome and more realistic change from the same tired formula. They could call it Homewreckers. As it is, though, if you watch just one episode of one house-hunting show and one design show, you have just seen almost everything HGTV offers.

Say Yes to the Dress: Up to $8,000 (or more!) for a single dress that a bride will wear for one day, and (ideally) never again? You have got to be out of your fucking mind. To make it even better, almost without fail either the bride, a family member, a friend, or some combination of the three is a demanding, insufferable, hypercritical bitch. I propose a new title: Say No to the Mess.

Dancing with the Stars: For someone whose last name is “Grace”, Nancy has none. I would, however, kidnap Tristan MacManus, just so he can read the phone book to me. His accent reduced me to goo every time he opened his mouth. Now if only Nancy would keep hers closed. Forever.

NCIS: First, an apology to my friends who love this show. I know you love it, and I know there are people who don’t like the shows that I like: Fringe, Firefly, Game of Thrones, or Battlestar Galactica (heathens!), but damn I hate this show. I can’t stand most of the characters: the quirky goth chick, the dweeb, the douchebag (especially the douchebag), and that caricature of a British professor. As bad as it is, however, it doesn’t hold a candle to…

NCIS: Los Angeles: What a godawful show. I mean, holy shit this is bad. While NCIS at least maintains the illusion that they report to the Department of the Navy, the agents of NCIS:LA run around like the cast of Scooby-Doo with guns, complete with Shaggy, and Shadout Mapes Hetty Lange as Velma. They lack only a Mystery Machine to drive around in. Alternatively, they could have called it Hetty’s Angels. Plus, someone had to tell me Chris O’Donnell was in this, because I didn’t even recognize him.

While almost all shows of this ilk play fast and loose with the capabilities of computers and hackers, their depiction in this show made me want to bounce a can of corn off of Barret Foa‘s (admittedly cute) head. With a few quick keystrokes, he hacked into the computer of a heating & cooling company, and the work schedule of an employee appeared instantly on the screen. No lag! No navigating any pesky file directories! It’s like they had a private 10 Gb fiber optic line straight into the server. Have you ever tried to find a file on a computer when you didn’t know the exact file name or location? Yeeaahh…if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be behind the garage, shooting my suspension of disbelief in the head.

Castle: Damn, Nathan Fillion really let himself go.

Rizzoli & Isles: To my complete and utter surprise, I actually liked this, although I’d dismissed it based on TNT’s commercials. It didn’t try to play “grosser than thou” like most shows involving a medical examiner (I’m looking at you, Bones), it had sharp dialogue, and some actual laugh-out-loud moments. Wow, go figure…

Mom has recovered and gone home, and I can erase most of this tripe mercifully from my memory, which is good, because I missed last night’s episode of Fringe, and I haven’t finished either Bioshock or Fallout: New Vegas yet.

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