Monday, April 30, 2007

Hate: Game Shows

I've mentioned that I dig sitting on my caboose watching TV. Unfortunately, along with the good ("Lost", "The Rockford Files") comes the bad (see below). The only redeeming quality about game shows on TV is that they make me feel superior to the dolts who are actually on the show. Sure, I might not be able to actually come up with the capital of Nevada (Carson City) while on the hastily-assembled stage but I can spit it out at home faster than you can say "James Rockford, come on down."

You know that song from the Sound of Music that goes "these are a few of my favorite things"? Yeah, well, the few things below are from the song that goes "these are a few of things that suck."

Deal or No Deal: Are you kidding me? Apparently, the name Greedy or Not Greedy was already taken. Here's the premise: There are a bunch of babes holding nifty-looking brushed aluminum suitcases full of different amounts of money up to a cool $1 million. The contestant picks one of the suitcases for himself and then picks a bunch more in hopes of narrowing down the suitcases to determine how much money is in the one he picked for himself. Along the way, a mysterious banker (seen only in silhouette to heighten the drama!) offers the contestant money to stop the whole process and go home. The now-bald-but-with-a-soul-patch Howie Mandel (of blowing up a rubber glove on top of his head fame) is your friendly host. So, anyway, these dumb-ass contestants are offered lots of money along they way. Way more than they would normally see while working behind the counter at the local Hallmark store. Most of the time, the greed gene kicks in and they turn down these offers in hopes of getting even more cash. And most of the time, they get screwed and end up with, like, $1.79 or something. And it serves those dumb-asses right! My last complaint about this show is that the contestants are not picked randomly. People are hand-picked to play so they can bring their families along to cheer them on (there is lots of good cop/bad cop dynamics going on within the family) and the women are usually babes themselves and the men are usually over-the-top characaters of some kind. And Howie is just bald.

Wheel of Fortune: Are you kidding me - again?! My dad, who is a pretty smart guy, watches this show. He gets the puzzles with about two letters showing. I don't know why he watches other than because that is part of his evening routine. It's not mentally challenging (if you ARE mentally challenged by this show, you are probably mentally challenged by small, shiny objects also), Vanna is over the hill by now and the game/set is just generally long in the tooth. We took one step closer to armageddon when "I'd like to buy a vowel" became part of American pop culture. Damn you, Pat Sajack!

Jeopardy: Could Alex Trebek be a bigger pompous ass?! I think not. Granted, some of these questions are pretty tough. For instance, I personally don't know Napolean's shoe size. But the whole idea of "phrasing your answer in the form of a question" is just another way for Alex to show that he is in charge. In the event that you can actually get those stupid buzzer things to work when you want them to, you better damn well make sure that you don't just blurt out 6 1/2 when the correct answer is clearly "What is 6 1/2?".

Anything on During the Day: Let's name a few of them, shall we? Press Your Luck (the stupid show with the No Whammies thing), Password (I do a great impersonation of the announcer telling the audience the word by covering my mouth a little and saying "The word is 'tapioca'"), Card Sharks (works as a drinking game, too!), any version of Family Feud (though I have to give props to Richard Dawson for making out with all those chicks), Tic Tac Dough (my 6 year-old loves tic-tac-toe. I'm an adult and I think it's stupid but apparently the game show people have more in common with my kid who is in kindergarten than with me) and, lastly, Bumper Stumpers (not real well known despite the mentally stimulating premise of deciphering vanity license plates). Good God, that's a lot of bad TV! I bet at the network Christmas parties, the people who work on daytime game shows sit at the tables right next to the kitchen door....

Hollywood Squares: Again with the tic-tac-toe! This time, let's build some enormous structure and plunk a bunch of C-list celebrities in there to crack stupid jokes while answering stupid questions. Brilliant! The twist is that every stupid joke is punctuated by some double entendre of some kind:

Host: OK, Mr. Contestant, which celebrity would you like to choose?
Contestant: Larry Manetti, who played Rick on Magnum, P.I., please.
Host: Larry, for an X and the win, what's in a Sex on the Beach?
Larry: I don't know but I usually end up with lots of sand in my bathing suit!
Host: That's a good one, Larry!

There have been about 15 different hosts over the years, including the eyebrow-less Whoopi Goldberg but it's still the same dumb tic-tac-toe game.

Anything with Couples: The Newlywed Game, The Love Connection, The Dating Game and don't even get me started on The Bachelor. I'm going to start a new show called The Divorce Game made up entirely of people who have been on these shows.

Dude, I could go on and on. The cheesy hosts of these cheesy shows could be their own category of hatred for me. Wink Martindale? Gene Rayburn? Bob Eubanks? Chuck Woolery? Please! You know there are enough white belts between these guys to stretch from here to the moon. How many bottles of Old Spice do you think these guys have slathered on themselves over the years? I can just see these guys at the bar at the Holiday Inn after taping a few shows talking to an unsuspecting chick: "Hi, I'm Wink Martindale, why don't you come by my dressing room after the show and check out some of the fabulous cash and prizes in my pants!"

And now there is a Game Show Network. And so I must kill myself. It's been nice working with you. Remember to help control the pet population - have your pet spayed or neutered.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dig: How Little Time is Lost Between the Time a Team Scores a Goal in Hockey and the Time the Puck Gets Dropped at Center Ice.

Despite what may seem like a cumbersome title, I struggled a little to narrow the scope of this here post. See, I dig hockey. But not all hockey. Mostly I just dig the Detroit Red Wings so this could have been a post about me digging the Red Wings but I'm not such a sports nerd that I retain a lot of information about each player's stats, history and skate size. I'm pretty easily fooled (surprising, I know) and someone could rattle off a bunch of statistics and numbers and junk about a player who may or may not be with the Red Wings and ask me to comment on it. Unfortunately, my comment would have to be something along the lines of "Duh". So this couldn't be a big broad topic of me digging hockey or even me digging the Red Wings.

So I said to myself, "Self, what is it that you dig about hockey if you are such a dumb-ass that you don't even know who plays what position." After much soul-searching, I realized that the thing I like about hockey is that when a team scores an all-too-precious goal, the puck is back in play before you can say Stevie Yzerman is the Man. Janet Jones (wife of Wayne Gretzky) might like to place a little wager on the over/under but that's beside the point.

Somehow, after a bunch of skating around, getting checked into the boards, losing teeth and getting into fights, the puck finds it's way into the net. Nice! The red light goes on, horns sound, fans throw hats (in the event of a hat trick) or an octopus (if it's the Wings scoring) and there is a change of players on the ice. But that's it. There ain't 16 commercials for things you don't need, there ain't much comment by the announcer dudes with their Canadian accents and there sure ain't a marching band or Janet Jackson exposing herself. Within about two minutes, those crazy kids are playing hockey again. Beautiful!

Let's pretend I looked up on-line someplace the average number of goals per NHL game and found it to be 4.3 (we have to pretend because clearly my time is too valuable to waste on such things). With so few goals, you would think that any time the netminder lets one through the five-hole there would be all kinds of analysis, discussion and general wasting of time. Isn't that what the NFL would do? John Madden would fire up his telestrater and blather on and on about who missed a tackle and the condition of the turf and the barometric pressure. There would be replays up the wazoo for even the most boring 2-yard run up the middle. And lets not forget the commercials. Some before the extra point, some after the extra point, some before the following kick-off and finally some more after the kick-off. The NFL isn't called the No Fun League for nothin'!

See, the kickoff after a score in football is to give the other team a chance to re-group and it's their opportunity to even the score. Not so in hockey. If I fire a 100mph slapshot past your facemask with the sweet paintjob, in about a minute and a half I might just do it again. You want your chance to score on me? You better win the face-off, punk, because I'm not going to "kick off" to you and just let you have it. Baseball is cool that way too but there is still too much time between batters with all that jockstrap adjusting and tobacco spitting. Basketball is dumb just because there are so many baskets made. Slam dunk? Big deal - wait a couple of minutes and it will happen again. And how de-moralizing is to score a goal, win the ensuing face-off and then score another goal all in the span of a couple of minutes. Super de-moralizing, that's how much!
The NHL on TV doesn't have nearly the following that other professional sports have so chances are pretty good that you're a big fan if you're watching the game. You probably know how to pronounce Patrick Roy's last name (damn him!) and you have given serious thought to what you would do with the cup if you had it for a day. So you just want to watch some damn hockey. When your team scores, you can't wait for the puck to drop so they can score again. And if by chance the bastards who are lucky enough to be playing your team are the ones who scored the goal, you can't wait for the puck to drop so you can show those sissies who's really in charge.
Don't waste my time with kick-offs and commercials and crap, just drop the friggin' puck!
Go Wings!