Wednesday, November 12, 2008

4 shows I love to watch

I'm clearly in an unhealthy relationship with my television. It serves up a load of superficial, predictable plot lines, poor acting, and eye-rollingly bad dialogue, and I eat it up with the spork that came with my TV dinner. Here are four of the worst of my secret pleasures.

The Ghost Whisperer
I have to admit part of my fascination with this cloying "mystery" show is seeing the beautiful Jennifer Love Hewitt, playing the supernaturally gifted Melinda, try to hide her ginormous behind beneath all those weird clothes. It doesn't take a psychic to figure out why she is constantly wearing knee length coats and sweaters. The actress seems to use her pull as Co-Producer to ensure there are very few camera shots including anything below her waist. I developed a drinking game in which you take a drink every time there is a shot revealing her zaftig posterior, but alas, I can't be expected to make it through that entire show sober.

The feminine charms are only half of the attraction of this absurdly predictable, Scooby-doo-style drama. The freakishly-handsome and perfectly-built David Conrad plays her perennially half-naked husband. When he is not saving lives as an unstoppable paramedic, he is up half the night humoring his adorably deluded wife while she attempts to sort out the problems of her co-dependent imaginary dead friends. This fantasy husband character is even less believable than the sub-par special effects on this seemingly endless CBS nail-biter.

Las Vegas
There is really no excuse for my dedication to this insulting piece of all-American trash slightly veiled as a casino crime-surveillance dramady, but if I was going to attempt one: What do you expect? I was raised on exactly this sort of offensive garbage. This show is clearly based on that irresistible 1970s formula of the thread-bare quasi-serious suspense plot lightly sprinkled on soft-core porn (i.e., Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, etc.). Basically, they could give each of the Casino Hosts' boobs a name and have them act out the scenes in the Montecito Luxury Hotel, and it wouldn't be that much different.
I am mesmerized by the endless supply of trampy clothes available in this vulgar, money-grubbing, sociopathic "fictional" Las Vegas world; but I am even more appalled that I get sucked in every week. I find myself actually giving a crap if the bad guys get one on the "good" guys. The good guys, incidentally, don't bother troubling the legitimate justice system with their weekly casino cheating robbers. James Caan and his ebony and ivory stooges just exact revenge through you know, just some old-school (wink-wink) threats and torture, and then it all wraps up in a sexy dance party usually hosted by Jewel or the Black-Eyed Peas or some other entertainment business whore of the week. Sadly, I have to admit it, when that Elvis theme music and that montage of spinning roulette wheels and hotties around a pool starts, I am rapt.

Seventh Heaven
As I was once told by a very wise TV watcher, this show exists in a totally different solar system than the rest of television shows. {By the way, I am planning on ending up on any one of the other six heavens.) I suspect this show exemplifies how Jewish Hollywood imagines the way Christian Mid-westerners see themselves (or wish they could).

The whole SH community seems to rely on the adorably naïve and befuddled but loving Reverend Camden. Who doesn't want an unthreatening father figure in their lives with the patience of Jesus and an open-door policy on dinner or anything else you might need or want? Lately, this seems to include his crop of bitchy daughters, angry and confused sons, and sweet-natured, recently orphaned hangers-on, all who are constantly teasing the audience with threats of quasi-adulterous behavior and pre-marital sexiness. Of course, under the guidance of The Rev. and his sickeningly maternal wife, the road to hell is temporarily diverted. I am stubbornly waiting for the episode when the blond, youngest twin robot boys turn on the family and then the planet, like in the movie Children of the Damned from where they all clearly harken.

CSI: Miami

At least I am not alone in my mad devotion to this cinematically perfect freak show. Evidently, it is the most popular one on the Earth! I have to give David Caruso his propers for drawing the multitude of fans. There is something indescribably charismatic about his consistent one-note performances. Somehow he delivers a scornful line to a perp exactly the same way as he does a consoling one to a child victim, and they both work! Caruso is at once sexy and repulsive as the corners of his mouth creep up his hard-worn impish, Grinch-who-stole-Christmas face. His cock-sure manner is somehow tempered with this aura of the secretly broken man. Like his fellow superheroes, something horrible happened in his past: is it this or his superpower, his ability to turn comforting words into sardonically humiliating ones at the twitch of an eyebrow, that keep him from actually getting close to another human being. Like the other CSI gorefests, there is always a weirdly sexy evidence-analyzing scene with accompanying disco music signally its dénouement. On the Miami version, it is usually being performed by lingerie models dressed in lab coats on a set borrowed from a futuristic sci-fi movie. Who thinks this wonderful drivel up?