Incapacitated with cable
August 2, 2006
I’ve been watching way too much TV.Last year I had my cable disconnected sometime after I wasted the afternoon watching “Pretty Woman” for the umpteenth time on TBS. I’m I writer, I thought. I need intellectual stimulation, not mindless drivel (all said in a faux British accent). I used to pride myself on not being able to participate in conversations about “Lost” or “Desperate Housewives.” I’d just shrug and say, “I don’t have TV, but did you hear that radio interview last week with Toni Morrison on ‘Fresh Air’? Fascinating.”Naturally my parents’ new house has digital cable and big flat screen sets in every room with built-in speakers all over the place. My dad went over the top on the whole home entertainment system so I can even watch TV in the tub if I really want to. I’m sort of like a kid in a candy store, and have definitely been “overdoing it” as my mom would say.It reminds me of when I was little and we weren’t allowed to eat sugar cereal, so that’s all I ate during my freshman year in college – Lucky Charms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I gained 15 pounds and my teeth almost fell out. It’s sort of the same deal with all the TV except my eyeballs are falling out instead of my teeth on account of brain rot.You know there’s something seriously wrong with you when “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” makes you cry and you feel genuine empathy for the lesbian athletic trainer/star of the reality show “Workout” whose mother is Mormon and won’t accept the fact that her daughter wants to freeze her eggs so that one day her future wife can carry her baby. Then I’m like, wait, I’m not gay, I don’t have a girlfriend, and I hadn’t gotten to the point where I’ve even thought about freezing my eggs – that is until I watched this week’s episode.See, it’s not just about brain rot, but brainwashing. Like, after watching only three episodes of “Dr. 90210” I am seriously considering getting a nose job. (Hello, have you seen Ashlee Simpson’s new nose? It changed her whole face!) I broke mine pretty badly during a lacrosse game in high school when my friend Hope tossed me a pass on the left side where I’m basically blind for all intents and purposes. The ball hit me square in the face and literally broke my nose clean in half. Instead of letting me use that as an excuse to visit the plastic surgeon like all my other Jewish friends did (though “deviated septum” was the number one excuse), my mom took me to a regular nose, ear and throat guy who managed to get my nose back on my face, albeit with a slight curve. Let’s just say I now only look Jewish on one side. (Oh, relax. Let’s face it – little ski jump noses we have not). So now I’m having all these fantasies about sneaking off to Beverly Hills for my extreme makeover.The most infuriating thing about cable TV is the way they repeat the same shows and movies over and over so that you’re inclined to watch them at least twice before a new cycle of programming comes on. Sitting in front of the boob tube watching something you’ve already seen is exactly like chain smoking. It’s just gross, but you do it anyway, for no other reason than the inability to resist the temptation.”Entourage” is one of those shows I’m willing to stare at because it’s got everything I love wrapped up in one: hot guys, hip-hop, and Hollywood. Jeremy Piven, who plays the Hollywood agent Ari Gold, is the hottest Jewish actor to come along since Zach Braff. Unlike the classic neurotic, effeminate, intellectual type, he’s masculine, hot-headed and olive-skinned. Every time he yells “Boom!” and slams his fist I can’t help but wish he’d slam me, too. (Did I just say that out loud?) So I’m not really watching it to see what happens – I just wanna see Ari. (Am I the only one who sees him like that? Anyone?)On the flip side of manly men is “Project Runway”, where bitchy androgynous designers bitch and design, only to be bitched at by the judges who have already arrived in the bitchy world of fashion (loved Ivanka Trump in this last episode, by the way).I don’t know what it is about this show that makes me want to watch it. It’s sort of like Mountain Dew or Diet Pepsi – everything about it is artificial, manufactured and unidentifiable. It’s not like it’s supposed to taste like orange or bananas. I mean what is it really, other than addictive? Is it Heidi Klum’s cute button nose, mane of long blonde hair, and unshakable confidence I want? Tim Gunn’s condescension, the way he peers over his glasses, tears people apart in his monotone voice and then says, “Make it work”? Or is voyeurism, watching people be publicly humiliated that I’m after? Is that not the essence of reality TV?Then there are the movies, everything from classic pictures like “Titanic” and “Something’s Gotta Give” (though I never tire of Diane Keaton’s crying montage) to this month’s blockbuster reruns of “40-Year Old Virgin” (funny the first two or three times, then just plain annoying), “Must Love Dogs” (can’t shake the image of Diane Lane screwing Olivier Martinez in the bathroom from her role in “Unfaithful” no matter how hard I try) and “War of the Worlds” (I can hardly look at Tom Cruise anymore without feeling creeped out).What it all boils down to, really, is my dogs, while cute, aren’t much for good conversation. It’s taken me this long to figure out that the TV doesn’t make for very good company, either.The Princess thinks she is over her little “I love being alone” phase and is looking forward to coming home soon. Send your Aspen love to email@example.com.