watch a lot of TV. A lot.
I’m not picky about what I’ll watch. Throughout my adult life, I have patronized an array of shows best described as “abysmal.” I watched “Love Connection” for hours on end. I was thrilled when the Game Show Network started playing ancient reruns of “Match Game PM,” with its many references to Dumb Donald being so dumb that he erroneously put something in his wife’s “blank.”
I also faithfully watched “America’s Next Top Model,” “The Bad Girls Club,” “The Cougar” and “Mob Wives.” Indeed, if there was any possibility of hurled stemware, pulled hair or drunken beatings by a woman wielding a high-heeled shoe, I was in.
You must be saying to yourself, “That’s fascinating, but is there anything this guy won’t watch?” Indeed, there is.
I cannot, for example, watch any cooking competition show in which contestants lovingly craft elaborate, multi-tiered cakes, topped with precariously-perched ephemera, which they then must move from one table to another. It fills me with unbearable anxiety, likely as a consequence of the recurring bit on “Sesame Street” in which a chef would fall down a flight of stairs with his tray of delectable pastries.
Trauma aside, there are also well-established, beloved television classics that, for one reason or another, I have never watched, and have no plans to do so. Here are the top five.
Two and a Half Men
The closest I ever came to watching this show was in 2011, when Charlie Sheen was having his extremely public meltdown, and it seemed certain that he would put a gun in his mouth and drench the bathroom walls with tiger blood. But one thing always kept me away, and that thing was Jon Cryer. Sure, he was deeply moving as Ducky Dale in 1986’s “Pretty in Pink,” but outside of the parameters of the John Hughes Cinematic Universe, he’s an affront to humanity.
How I Met Your Mother
Neil Patrick Harris is on this show. Other than that, I know nothing about it. I can accept him in roles other than those of Doogie Howser and “Himself” in the “Harold and Kumar” movies, but I cannot look at his co-stars and expect anything other than mediocrity and a laugh track. As a society, we’re moving away from the laugh track, so that’s a step in the right direction, but all of his costars would need to be replaced by Robert DeNiro, Danny Trejo and Charo for me even consider watching it.
What is this, a hospital show, like “ER”? Something about people who create skeletons for classroom study? Whatever it is, it features the reportedly extremely difficult Katherine Heigl, whose perpetually downward career trajectory is the only thing of hers that I’ve actually enjoyed watching. If the whole show was about her being continuously humiliated, I might tune in occasionally. But until they get their shit together and turn it into “Katherine Heigl Weeps Uncontrollably For An Hour,” I shall entertain myself elsewhere.
The Big Bang Theory
My understanding is that this show has something to do with roommates who work in the pharmaceutical industry or aerospace or some shit. It’s like “Friends” but with characters who have actual jobs. The difference is that few times I watched “Friends,” I couldn’t overlook the fact that the characters worked as waitresses and actors, yet they lived in some of Manhattan’s most expensive real estate. Oh, and there were also lousy scripts, shitty acting and the pox on humanity known as Jennifer Aniston. Therefore, I refuse to ever watch even one second of “The Big Bang Theory,” because “Friends.”
The foibles of the American family have provided fertile subject matter for situation comedies since the advent of the television. Indeed, without said foibles, there would be no “Soap.” No “Hello Larry.” These were shows that won the hearts of American television viewers, but sadly were cancelled. When this happened, a great hue and cry was heard emanating from the living rooms of America, as television viewers fell to their knees and pounded the floor, asking God “WHY? WHY? WHY?” So rather than put myself through this painful experience yet again, I have chosen not to watch another family sitcom. I’m afraid to love again.