By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
There's nothing on.
Sincerely. Unless you count that Deal or No Deal? show that America seems to adore, with the pretty ladies and the briefcases and the mysterious "attorney" and the klieg lights warming Howie Mandel's luminous pate. I don't.
I suppose there's also My Fair Brady Wedding Special, the lazy-eyed spawn of three different reality shows (and also that family comedy about the Bradleys, or whatever they were called). You have to really hate life to enjoy this show. It's a wilted salad of daddy issues, puppy lust, and '70s popcult fetishism. Christopher Knight (f.k.a. Peter Brady) is twice-divorced and pushing 50, but he still allows himself to be bullied by a lissome stoner from Joliet (ex-Top Model contestant Adrienne Curry, who used to seem cool before she began begging for an engagement ring.)
These two make each other so miserable that I suspect the aim of the show is to make viewers feel like their own relationships are the stuff of storybooks. Even sensible old Florence Henderson publicly encouraged Knight to deep-six his trophy babe. But according to the tabloids, which I only read at the salon, he went ahead and married Curry in a "Goth ceremony" in May. That reminds me: New episodes of Bridezilla are also airing right now. But I still don't think any of this qualifies as actual television. It's more like the broadcast equivalent of making crude noises to distract a baby: "FRRRT! Gotcha!"
What's a remote wretch to do in the vacant summer months, the bracing, hellish weeks between sweeps and September? Go outside? Fashion a primitive TV-like device using twigs, moss, and captive birds? Illegally obtain Studio 60 scripts and enlist neighborhood kids to play Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet in a lovably low-budget reimagining of Aaron Sorkin's comeback vehicle? We need a fresh dose of Vitamin T and we need it quickly, before gangrene sets in!
Truthfully, I've been watching infomercials. I'm infatuated with the Magic Bullet—not just the product itself, a useless miniature food processor, but the two sneaky hosts. There's this blond woman in a sundress; her hair is styled in a trendy shag and she skews younger than the average info-harpy. Her co-host is that rambunctious Australian guy who rivals Ron Popeil in late-night ubiquity. What amazes me is the way the hosts pimp this product with such conviction, using impressive sleight of hand to distract us from the fact that the Magic Bullet is ridiculously small and therefore can only process toddler-sized portions of pico de gallo and chocolate mousse. "You can even make moofins!," the Australian guy crows, producing a scant cupful of batter before whisking away the Bullet and showing us the "finished product": a platter of blueberry muffins that you just know originated in an industrial-sized mixer. Lies!
Then the hosts reveal the Bullet's true purpose: enabling chick-drink drunks. They encourage "all you party animals" to pour booze into the Bullet, add frozen tropical fruit (because we all have excess papaya lying around the house), pulverize, then drink this pulpy mind-eraser directly from the Bullet! Now that's something you can't do with an ordinary blender, lest you accidentally douse your face in Fuzzy Navel.
I can't get over how punk rock this is. It's like using your Showtime Rotisserie to dry out a cannabis shipment ("Set it and forget it!"). I'll stick with my wholesome Jack LaLanne Turbo Juicer, which has been gathering dust since I realized that liquefied romaine lettuce tastes like boo-boo.
My other favorite infomercial—one I'll confess to having watched at least thrice—is Yoga Booty Ballet. Yoga. Booty. Ballet. This is a fitness DVD for people like me who can't decide if they'd rather be Gurmukh or Britney. It's like an Adderall-approved combination of belly dance, cardio-strip, yoga postures, and excessive "goddess" talk. I'm not sure the great yogis of India would sanction a move called "Bad Kitty," though it is fun to claw at the air along with the sassy ladies in the commercial. And the testimonials are hilarious, featuring sheepish housewives saying things like, "I love the fun dance steps like 'Stir the Pot.' I feel like a real ballerina!"
The inventors of this system would like you to know that they are from HOLLYWOOD and that REAL HOLLYWOOD STARS are Yoga Booty Ballet aficionados. I'd like you to know that I'm one foul mood away from actually ordering this damn DVD. What? It looks like fun and my ass is threatening to secede from the Union!
I realize how terribly overindulged I must be to think that there's actually nothing on TV. Most of us cable subscribers have 100-plus channels to pick from, including the weird boring ones that only air documentaries about battleships or plankton. But I miss the electric scent of fresh programming, the Christmas-morning sensation brought on by a new episode of Big Love or a doomed-to-fail talk show. These are arduous months for those of us who have the smooth side of the remote permanently marked on our palms. And if I have to watch QVC to get my fix (oh, how I want that Rare Minerals night cream!), I'll do so with pride. Just come back soon, quality programming! Till then, I'll leave the yellow ribbon 'round the old DVR box.