I've finally kicked the cold that laid me out over the weekend, but not before indiscriminate TV-viewing turned my brain to tepid goo. (Did anyone actually like Hitchhiker's Guide?) I watched lots of football and reality shows and poker. I watched lots of pay-per-view movies. And I watched the twin critical darlings of the new season, "My Name Is Earl," a comedy about poor white trailer trash, and "Everybody Hates Chris," a comedy about poor ghetto blacks. Ah, equality. "Chris" is the clear winner. Based on Chris Rock's childhood, this is the only show to penetrate the DayQuil fog and make me laugh. It's that rare TV show in which the kids are like real kids, in all their wonder and cruelty, instead of being like miniature adults. It rings true, and not coincidentally, it's funny. The scene that got me: persecuted young Chris is getting the crap beaten out of him by a white bully, and suddenly we hear the strains of Ebony and Ivory. "I'm witnessing a miracle," I thought. "I'm actually happy to hear Ebony and Ivory."
How that show affords its music clearances escapes me. One episode featured two hits by Stevie Wonder and one each by Survivor and Earth Wind and Fire. This costs a bloody fortune.
ESPN's poker coverage is becoming more and more abysmal. The announcers are obviously reading from a script written long after the game has taken place, yet they deride choices and make predictions as if they don't know the outcome. ESPN shows less and less poker in favor of fluff pieces, and lately they've even started showing people's theatrical reactions to cards unseen. I don't care about them. Show the fucking cards. Worst, though, is the editing. Whereas most hands in real life are unspectacular and don't see the flop, astoundingly, every hand we see results in a clash. The players' chip counts change mysteriously, as if we see only half the action. And worst of all, if we're seeing a hand, you can reliably predict that the guy with 4-5 going against A-A will hit a hand. They wouldn't be showing it otherwise. This is manufactured nonsense, and I'm bored.