Lingo Yarns May 19, 2004 

I'm pretty proud of myself. I have managed to avoid the final episode of not only Friends, but Frasier as well. Frankly, I would have rather spent a week in an Iraqi prison engaged in humiliating acts of perversion than suffer through the last quivering seizures of the dying mutant offspring of American television moguls.

"Where's the remote dad?" they ask. Probably shoved in my left ear in a last frantic attempt to self-lobotomize myself. For some stupid reason, network executives think spin-offs work because one or two "made it." As Frasier, perhaps the most successful spin-off ever (remember Cheers?), dies a quiet death in the shadow of Friends, we now have to endure Joey, perhaps the dumbest of the Friends. Imagine Lenny and Squiggy morphed together in some strange teleportation device from the Fly (or was it Fly 2?), mix in a little Sylvester Stallone from one of his comedies and ... well, you get the picture. Today I heard that that Adrianna from my favorite show, The Sopranos, will play Joey's sister in the new sick-com. I think Tony Soprano should whack her as soon as possible just out of principle.

Why must TV-land reuse, recycle and recast old and tired characters and ideas? Because they are in their own little incestual world. Everyone is a "yes" man in Hollywood and nobody has the guts to simply say "that sucks." The most creative ideas are cast aside in favor of what has worked in the past. They must have a panel of monkeys picking vowels and consonants out of a hat.

Nowdays, reality television is "spinning" off its own shows, morphing scenarios, inviting back old participants to "try again." I'd like to see some real reality. I heard a comedian the other day suggest we give people minimum wage and film them while they try to raise their family. Or how about putting up cameras inside a mental ward or nursing home and taking a "real" view of life on the edge or at its end. Let's put cameras in the back chamber rooms of our government offices and see what is really going down behind closed doors. How about Real World Baghdad? Road Rules--Convoy Iraq? Old-Maid Bachelorette--a 50-year-old childless, unattractive corporate executive tries to get anyone to marry her? Or how about World War Survivor--who will be left? Temptation Atkins? Queer Bashing for the Straight Effeminate Guy? American Idolatry?

I'm afraid that in the future we'll be subject to more of the same insipid crap. Television is dead. Long live television.

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