…I Don’t Even OWN a TV

When I say, “I don’t really watch that much TV,” it never fails to get a laugh, because I can answer any TV question — things that happened 24 hours ago — with pinpoint accuracy, so clearly I watch a lot of TV.

And while the amount of TV hours going into my brain is probably higher than most, I still don’t feel like I watch that much. One reason is that I can’t stand to just watch TV, I’ve got to be doing something else: One of my other five jobs, or cleaning the house.

Drinking gallons of wine counts as a task — just now it’s this hot little number, of which I can drink just heroic amounts — but only as long as I am also writing ranty, ill-advised emails to my professional contacts, or apologizing for same.

Working out is not on that list, but it could be — at least then I’d feel like I was accomplishing something while straining to understand simple plotpoints on Stargate: Universe.

That show seems really basic? But there is so much I don’t understand on it.

But the other reason I don’t really feel like I deserve the Couch Potato ribbon at the fair is because I don’t particularly enjoy watching television: You say Pop Culture, I say Muggle Studies.

Like today, for instance: I’m watching MTV, I’ve trained my DVR to go straight to MTV when it wakes up because I’m trying to crack the mystery of MTV.

After several weeks of this, I still don’t get it. Who is the MTV viewer? What age and socioec are they? What gender? When I have a baby will he or she understand this instinctively? Is it okay to think of your baby as a test-market? Can I borrow your baby to explain this to me?

For instance, there is no Chris Pontius to look at anymore and think about how neat he is, because the channel seems exclusively to show two programs:

The first is the STOP BEING MEAN TO WHITNEY PORT show, in which a beautiful girl like a stick insect — named I believe Olivia — attempts to make it in the fashion biz despite the unprofessional antics of everyone around her, including the titular villain, who fights daily against the ravages of what seems to be a permanent concussion.

The second is called HOT TEEN DADS WHO NEED SOME RESPONSIBILITY, which is like the first ninety seconds of every pornographic cinema film I’ve ever seen, plus there’s some girl with an awful haircut talking about a baby. She’s bitchy, or maybe just tired. Maybe she’s tired from having to spend so much time on her orange tan and multicolored Gosselin hairdo.

The program is scheduled in blocks of no less than four hours, and from I can gather, Teen Moms mostly need to tan themselves orange and complain to everybody about what they caused to happen to themselves, while doing nothing to improve their lots, which is after all what Teens do. And the Teen Dads, they need to get drunk and do Whip-Its and pretend that none of this is happening. Also what Teens do.

The tragedy is that parenthood involves so much more.

Does anyone watch both of these shows? I have a sort of Palin/Biden feeling about MTV that half of the entire country watches the Olivia program, and the other watches the documentary about teen fathers. But what happens when they run into each other? What do they talk about? Do you have a preference for either of these programs over the other? Does fashion even have a place in our world anymore? What about those Real Housewives, might they have an opinion?

Is it about schadenfreude of seeing the heterosexual girls who didn’t manage to not get pregnant, being punished for their sexuality? Is it for you, as it is for me, a chance to engage in the dual fantasy of 1) Having a baby and 2) Smooching the rambunctious teen fathers?

The hottest thing about teen fathers is that they’re on TV, so you can’t smell their disgusting teenage smells. You don’t have to clean up their barfy teenage father messes, or listen to their teenage father thoughts. And when you turn off the TV, there they go!

Perhaps it is a PSA saying, “This is what people will see when they think of you, so use your options!” But if it were, I don’t think everybody would be nearly so supportive of the trashy teen parents.

I think if MTV really wanted you to be scared of pregnancy, they would line the pregnant girls up and throw rocks at them. Or at the babies.

What I would like to see is a combination of the two programs, in which a thin blonde girl from Duchess County battles both her GPA and her eating disorder, discovers she’s pregnant, and then gets that shit dealt with before you can even spell all the letters of WASP: Once and for all, exactly how much money it takes to create a semester-long French internship out of literally nothing. Sort of like Survivor, but with the added tick-tock of never knowing when your grandmother is going to call somebody a Jew.

Alternatively, I would really like to see a program where I debate Gwyneth Paltrow on the issues of the day.


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