Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The TLC Network: Ruining Television One Episode at a Time

Everyone’s already familiar with the staples of the TLC Network:
19 and Counting: A ridiculous show which documents the outrageous lives of the Duggars – just your typical American family only they have 19 kids, and they’re not done yet.  Their blatant irresponsibility alone makes them must see TV.

Toddlers and Tiaras: A disgusting show about fat, over-bearing stage moms who parade their obnoxious offspring around the country in highly inappropriate get-ups to participate in junior beauty pageants.  Their relentless pursuit of meaningless glory at all costs makes them delightfully watchable.
And now two new additions to the summer line-up:

Abby & Brittany: A fascinating show about the lives of conjoined, teenaged twins.  Two heads on just one body.  Inquiring minds want to know: When Abby eats a meal does Brittany get full too?  When Brittany has a hankering for chocolate does Abby feel the same hankering?  Does Abby control the right side of the body while Brittany controls the left, or is it a constant tug-of-war for authority?  Tune in to find out the answers to these intriguing questions and many more. 
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo:  Where to even begin?  Think the Kardashians meet the Beverly Hillbillies.  Omit Beverly Hills.  Add an industrial sized carton of chewing tobacco, Rosanne Barr, and inbreeding.  Mix in copious amounts of lard, a banjo, and several pairs of those fake Billy Bob teeth.  Stir frequently.  Bake only half way and remove from heat.  Dump entire mixture into the backwoods of Alabama.  That about sums it up.  This show is literally an abomination of humanity.  Shame on the TLC Network for airing this crap (and making it impossible to look away). 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good train wreck as much as the next guy.  Those pictures of Prince Harry playing strip billiards with a bunch of Vegas hookers are an instant classic in my book.  Just imagine the Queen’s expression when she saw them for the first time. 
But the TLC Network has gone too far.  Think about it.  They’ve taken innocent (albeit colorful) human beings and turned them into circus freak shows for our viewing pleasure.  Come on out to the zoo and watch the cretins cloning and feeding.  Just don’t get too close, they might bite.  One could argue that the cast of these shows are willing participants and are getting paid after all.  But does that justify the fact that they’re being completely exploited in a gratuitous attempt at higher ratings?  Something tells me when they wake up and realize that no one’s laughing with them, but rather at them, they’ll no longer be such willing participants.  If the programming directors at the TLC Network are indicative of what’s happened to the morals of this country, I think it’s high time we took a good, long collective look in the mirror. 

Where have you gone the likes of James Burrows (co-creator of Cheers)?  A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
Stepping off the soap box now… got some Honey Boo Boo’s on DVR that are calling my name.    

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Observations from My 20-Year High School Reunion

I attended my 20-year high school reunion last weekend and it was in a word, interesting.  First off I was surprised by how many of you actually read this blog.  The consensus was that most people are fans but would never dare “like” my posts or even leave a comment for fear that others will deem them an “asshole by association”.  Which is something I sincerely need to work on.  As you probably know I could give a rat’s ass what other people think of me.  But I do care when my wife is embarrassed by what other people think of me.  And she’s far too important to ever take her feelings for granted.  You know that song by “The Script” where he sings, “…the best part of me was always you”?  That couldn’t be more true of me and my wife (seriously).  Therefore moving forward I’m going to make a concerted effort at self-correcting.  I now realize that on occasion the alter-ego I’ve created on this blog hasn’t just crossed the line, he's stomped all over and raced past it.  Don’t worry – I’ll be just as brash and opinionated as ever, I’m just going to work on being more sensitive to the feelings of other people (even fat people).  Which is probably long overdue considering the other theme of the night was that people tended to keep their distance from me, especially as the alcohol consumption elevated, for fear they might become fodder for the Quinsey Blog.  If I alienate myself to the point where I’ve lost the human connection, then the whole point of this thing has been lost.  Enough with the emotional crap, on to the observations: 

1)      Old people rule: I’m fairly certain that our 18-year old selves could not have kept up with our 38-year old selves.  A 3 hour pre-party, followed by countless rounds of shots and chasers during the event, culminated with a late night trip to the bar lasting until 4:00 am.  Ridiculous.  VHS grads might not be the most accomplished group out there, or even the brightest (present company included), but make no mistake we can drink (although the next day recovery might be a bit rougher now than it was 20 years ago).

2)      A moment of enlightenment: I spent so much time back in the day trying (unsuccessfully) to hook up with all the girls in high school that I took for granted things like their personalities, wit, and senses of humor.  Now that the hormone blinders have been removed and the paradigm has shifted to purely friendship, I’ve come to appreciate what great people most of the ladies I went to high school with truly are.  And on the flip side most of the guys are no longer horny scumbags (I’m so buying a gun when my daughter starts high school).

3)      I couldn’t help myself: I intentionally didn’t wear by nametag at the reunion.  Call it an experiment in sociology.  I really got a kick out of watching other people’s conversations where one of the participants awkwardly strained to get a glimpse of the other person’s name tag without being caught.  With me they couldn’t cheat.  Either they remembered me or they didn’t.  It was time to get real, and most people did.  One dude even said, “Um, can you help me out here?”  I laughed and said I was somebody’s spouse.

4)      The plight of the no-show: If you were one of the many class of 92’ers who didn’t attend the reunion (the turnout was actually quite disappointing) rest assured there was plenty of shit talked about you.  You’d think that 20 years of water under the bridge would eliminate all gossip.  Nope.

5)      Facebook’s all good and fine but: There’s just no substitute for interacting in the flesh.  It’s like viewing a picture of somebody’s life but not getting the essence.  Plus you can’t give somebody a hug on Facebook.  Do yourself a favor and get your ass to the next reunion. 

6)      Surprise, surprise: I was actually shocked at how generally good-looking everyone turned out.  Nobody weighed 300 pounds, nobody had a Lohan leather-face, and nobody had any plastic surgeries gone wrong.  Which led me to just one logical conclusion… all the hideous-looking people stayed home (for obvious reasons). 

7)      Expansion: My only gripe about reunions is that you only get to see the people who were in your graduating class, which is a very narrow piece of the pie.  I had tons of friends in neighboring classes (many of whom I liked better than the people in my own class) I haven’t seen in 20 years, and that’s a bummer.  Maybe we could expand our next reunion to include 91’ers and 93’ers as well?  Maybe I’ll just start crashing other class’s reunions.  I’ll be the drunk guy by the bar. 

8)      Getting old is a bitch: Interacting with my classmates, watching people fall back into their familiar roles, it was almost as though no time had passed at all.  Which made me think of the quote, “Inside of every old person is a young person saying, what the f*ck happened?”  I don’t know about the rest of you but I still feel 18 on the inside, regardless of the gray hair and wrinkles on the outside.  Father time is a bastard indeed.

9)      This might be the nostalgia talking but: Even though I now have my own life in Orange County with a new circle of friends and a new support system, I could totally see myself hanging out with my high school peeps.  I actually wish some of them (not all) were my neighbors.  Just to be clear in order to make this happen you’d have to move near me.  You know what they say about East County – it’s a nice place to be FROM.     

10)   Final thought: At the end of the day I would have to conclude that our parents did a pretty good job.  Among us are doctors, professors, lawyers, executives, writers, directors, small business owners, and many other productive members of society.  Not bad for a bunch of kids from East County who used to drink beer and smoke pot in the park on a regular basis.  It just goes to show it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

God speed, Norsemen.  See you all in 10 more years.

Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Observations from the Olympics


·       Opening Ceremony: What the f*ck was that?  Did I inadvertently drop acid before turning on the television?  It was so weird and so long that even the Queen herself looked bored as the British athletes made their way into the stadium.  And would somebody please tell the Brits that it’s time to stop rolling out the crypt keeper (Paul McCartney).  Dude jumped the shark back in the late nineties.

·     Sexism / Gay Rights: Question - Why is there women’s boxing in the Olympics but no men’s synchronized swimming?  The gays would totally dominate.  Am I right?  And people are wasting their time protesting at Chik-fil-A?
·     Ticket Mishap: Apparently it’s nearly impossible to find tickets for this year’s Olympic events, yet the stands at most of the outdoor venues appear largely empty.  I always knew the metric system was full of holes and now there’s proof.

·     Twitter: Would Olympic athletes please stop posting racist and inappropriate tweets?  Don’t they have anything better to do (like attend wild sex parties in the Olympic village)?

·     Speedos: Why oh why do all the male divers insist on wearing speedos two sizes too small?  One word – manscaping.  I seriously might need therapy after watching that shit.

·     Medal Count: I’m so f*cking tired of seeing China at the top of the medal count.  Take away all the events no one gives a shit about (archery, fencing, synchronized diving, shooting, table tennis, etc.) and they wouldn’t even make the top five.  Congratulations China – you’re the masters of obscurity.

·     Waterpolo: I just watched the U.S. versus Romania men’s waterpolo match, and they had cameras filming under the water.  What the hell?  It was like a glimpse into a prison shower scene.  I’m sorry but if you intentionally grab another man’s penis, no matter what the circumstances, you’re gay.

·     Badminton: Players throwing matches to receive more favorable placement in the tournament, and then getting disqualified from the Olympics by the BWF (Badminton World Federation)?  I think the bigger story here is the existence of a Badminton World Federation.  Who knew?

·     Michael Phelps: 20 medals and counting, the most decorated Olympic athlete in the history of the world.  Not bad for a pot-smoking slacker from Baltimore.

·     And finally…

5' 8", 350-pound American weightlifter Holley Mangold.  An Olympian truly reflective of the country she represents.  Wow.  Pass the gravy.