Thursday, October 20, 2005

What to Watch

With cable TV there are a ridiculous amount of shows these days. How do you figure out which ones you want to watch? Sometimes, you've got to go to an outside source to give you some recommendations. Luckily, the far right fundie loonies over at the Parents' Television Council have been good enough to provide us their Top 10 lists. There are a couple of surprises on their 10 best list, but for the most part, they're a snore. But the Top Worst are the shows you really ought to be watching! Their quotes are in italics, my comments are not.

1. The War at Home - Fox/8:30 Sunday - 1st Season
Billed as a family comedy, The War at Homemay be one of the raunchiest and least intelligent shows of the new season. The Washington Post described it as "unconscionably smutty," then went on to say, "the problem is not just that it's crude and gross, but that its crudeness and grossness are so pathetically forced and contrived. Its vulgarity has no integrity... all the characters are vile in spirit and objectionable in essence."

The Washington Post nailed it. This show is horribly forced. I love me some crude and gross sitcom humor, but it has to be better written and better acted for it to work. It's too bad, because I usually really like Michael Rappaport as an actor.

...It goes downhill from there. An early episode this season had Dave buying his teenage son a lubricant because he was making himself sore from masturbating too often.

The Parents Television Council obviously wants young boys to hurt themselves masturbating. That's just sick!

2. The Family Guy - Fox/9:00 Sunday - Returning show
This unbelievably foul animated series made a strong come back after being off the air for two years, thanks to the success of DVD sales among young males. The raunchy series follows the Griffins, a blue-collar New England family which includes a martini-swilling, talking dog and a matricidal baby bent on world domination. The show bases its humor on scatological and sexual references (including masturbation, incest, bestiality, necrophilia), and spoofs on popular culture. Institutions such as the church and family are held up to ridicule on a near-weekly basis. One episode this season featured Meg being deflowered by Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live.

I LOVE Family Guy! PTC obviously just doesn't get the humor and the complete randomness of it.

3. American Dad! - Fox/9:30 Sunday - Returning show
Completing Fox's Sunday night trifecta of raunch is American Dad. From the same creator as Family Guy and just as popular with young viewers, American Dad follows Stan, a conservative CIA agent and his unusual family that includes an alien and a goldfish that speaks with a German accent. In the first episode of the 2005 season Stan's rebellious teenaged daughter Hayley began a sexual affair with Stan's boss. Stan happily overlooked the inappropriate relationship because he was in line for a promotion.

They just don't like it because it makes a conservative look like a jerk, and they also just don't get the humor and complete randomness of it. Seth McFarlane could write a children's book and these squares still wouldn't get it.

4. The O.C. - Fox /8:00 Thursday - Returning show
One episode last season featured a party in which teenagers were shown smoking pot, snorting cocaine, and engaging in drunken threesomes. Another storyline focused on Marissa's mother's attempts to get an X-rated video tape back from her pornographer ex-boyfriend, who was using it for blackmail. Also last season, Marissa experimented with a same-sex relationship (which just happened to coincide with the February sweeps).

I've never seen The OC. Over the top teen dramas like 90210 have always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and this looks even better! I've also heard that they have some great bands like the Killers and Modest Mouse play on the show. And were they supposed to burry the hot lesbian action during some non-sweeps time? Puh-leeze! Sweeps months are the hottest times to watch trashy TV.

5. C.S.I. (Crime Scene Investigation) - CBS/9:00 Thursday - Returning show
Last season, episodes included storylines about the murder of a man who practiced the sexual fetish of infantilism, complete with scenes of him playing baby and "nursing" from his girlfriend's breasts; a murder resulting from the antics at a wife-swapping sex party; the investigation of illegal sex-change operations, complete with frightening and graphic death scenes; and a case at a mental hospital that revealed a twisted relationship of mother-son incest. In the first two episodes of this current season there was a storyline about a man dying from auto-erotic asphyxiation and a plot involving a special Las Vegas luxury "party bus" in which men were entertained by strippers.

Another show I've never bothered with, I never felt the need for a grizzly crime drama "ripped from the headlines." But this sounds hot! Are the various CSI spinoffs this hot too?

6. Desperate Housewives - ABC/9:00 Sunday- Returning show
Lowlights last season include Gabrielle's adulterous and criminal relationship with her teenaged gardener and Bree's discovery that her husband Rex was engaging in kinky sex with a prostitute.

How can they list the lowlights of Desperate Housewives without mentioning the moronic bits of dialogue between Terri Hatcher's character and her daughter. Real moms and daughters don't talk like that. It's just stupid. In fact, I'd say Terri Hatcher's entire character played badly for comic relief is the lowlight of the show. And am I the only guy in the world who doesn't think Eva Longoria is really all that hot?

7. Two and a Half Men - CBS/9:00 Monday - Returning show
Charlie is a promiscuous jingle-writer whose life continues to be up-ended while his divorced brother, Alan, and young nephew, Jake, live in his home. Charlie's overpowering libido, unfortunately, continues to trump any impulse to be a responsible role model for his young nephew. There are constant references to the steady stream of one-night stands parading in and out of Charlie's bedroom. As for female role models, there aren't any. Women in this sitcom consist of the bimbos Charlie sleeps with, then discards; Alan's shrewish, vindictive, gold-digger of an ex-wife; and Alan and Charlie's wealthy, materialistic and youth-obsessed mother.

What? A sitcom full of stereotypes??? Well I never! And I never watched this show either. But hey, if PTC dosn't like it...

8. That ‘70s Show - Fox/Returning in November ‘05
That '70s Show follows a group of teens growing up in a small Wisconsin town during the 1970s. Frequently included on the PTC's Top 10 Worst list, this series once again earns a spot for its casual and irresponsible treatment of teen sex and drug use, which are depicted as risk- and consequence-free. Frequent references are made to pornography and masturbation. In one episode, for example, Kelso decides that he has to start respecting women, so he gives Fez his entire collection of pornographic magazines. Jackie says that giving Fez a "box full of nudie magazines" is like giving a monkey a loaded gun, to which Fez replies, "No, it's not. A monkey with a loaded gun can hurt a lot of people. I can only hurt myself." When they see Fez later, he looks exhausted because he has done nothing but look at pornography all day. Episodes also endorse smoking marijuana as harmless fun.

I wish I was a teenager in the 70's! I haven't seen a new episode of That 70's Show in a while, but I've always found it to be really funny. But if the show started in 76 and it's been on for more than 4 years now, shouldn't it be That 80's Show? I know, they tried having a That 80's Show which lasted all of a week or two, but still.

9. Arrested Development - Fox/ 8:00 Monday - Returning show
Arrested Development is designed to offend. Episodes regularly contain scripted bleeps. This enables the writers to use language, including "f**k" and "s**t," network censors would never allow. Arrested Development also employs some of the most outrageous double-entendres ever to find their way into prime-time. In one episode, for example, Tobias says he was an analyst and a therapist, making him the first "analrapist." Other episodes have delved into the bizarre sexual proclivities of the main characters, such as Lucille's revelation that she and George derive sexual pleasure from being strangled with a belt.

I've only seen Arrested Development a couple of times. I love it, but I just can't seem to fit it into my schedule.

10. Cold Case - CBS/8:00 Sunday - Returning show
Cold Case continues to deliver shocking and disturbing themes and scenes. Last year's episodes included grisly crimes involving a transvestite teenaged prostitute killed in a possible snuff film; a man who forced illegal immigrant women to perform sex acts on him; the case of a young boy sold by kidnappers to a child pornographer; and in the season finale, a mother offering her son to a rapist in exchange for her own safety.

Wow, these crime dramas are getting kinky! I should stop watching the true-crime Court TV stuff and start checking out shows like Cold Case and CSI.


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