Monday, July 9, 2012

The A-List: Summertime TV

It used to be that when summer came, all the television networks played nothing but reruns.  Since we'd seen all those already, we didn't want to see those.  This is why all of us not necessarily athletic types spent our childhood summers outside.  Not because we were intrepid explorers and wanted to run and play, which is what I tell my kid when I want him outside.   What kid wouldn't have rather spent an hour in air-conditioned comfort watching The Six Million Dollar Man

The networks are on to us, however.  They can't afford to miss a moment of bombarding us with ads, what with the cable channels actually showing quality stuff like Breaking Bad and Justified.  They've started showing new stuff during the summer so they can make more money.  Now, when the sun is falling below the horizon, we are once more glued to our televisions, as Nielson intended.   These are the shows that my family has been watching consistently. They aren't necessarily the greatest shows on the planet, but we like them well enough to watch them if they are on.  

1.  Wipeout   Contestants on this show have to make their way over an extremely punishing obstacle course, and if they do, they get to go over another extremely punishing obstacle course, and if they manage to finish THAT, there's another extremely punishing obstacle course, followed by yet another.  So the contestants are really just gluttons for punishment. When I say 'punishing', I don't mean difficult.  I mean that, while a contestant is running the course, things pop up and hit them.  Or drop on them.  Or fling them about.  Punishing.  My family loves watching these poor people getting punted.  We bond over this stuff, all of us cringing and wincing at the same times.  There is no way we would ever consider running such a race, but it is fun to watch the people who do.  Especially when they fall. 

2.  True Blood   Before anyone gets upset and starts chastising me for allowing my four-year-old watch this show, shut it.  Give me a modicum of credit for the little bit of parenting skills that I have.  Larry and I record the show and watch it when Zane is asleep.  True Blood is racy, and risque', and they show all the naughty bits because it is HBO.  Vampires on this drama have "come out of the coffin" and they are not sparkly at all, they are exactly what the legends and the horror stories say that they are.  They are things to be afraid of, which ups the good fun in my book.  I also like the fact that, in this particular television universe, there are more than just humans moving about.  There's also werewolves, my very favorite movie monster.   There are even fairies out there in True Blood world, although not the Tinker Bell type.  Disney would likely faint, but TB is definitely adult fare.  

3.  Gator Boys   I am okay with alligators.  On the other hand, I do not want to walk out in my backyard and find an alligator underneath the purple sage.   This is one of the reasons that we do not live in Florida.  Yes, we have alligators in Texas, but they tend to mind their own business; if they do not, they end up as boots and handbags.  (I am not condoning such behavior, merely acknowledging that it exists.)  Florida gators, because there are so many of them, tend to be more forward.  The gentlemen who are the Gator Boys run a sanctuary for alligators.  They catch alligators with nothing but a catchpole and a roll of tape.  One guy jumps in the water and swims around looking for the gators, then he pulls them onto the shore, where the other guy 'wrestles' the alligator until it gives up.  Then they tape up the gator and put it in the truck.  The alligators are not killed, but taken to the sanctuary, where they are allowed to live out their days.  Oh, they also catch snakes. 

4.  Call of the Wildman     This is a guy named Ernie, who lives in Kentucky.  Ernie has only seven teeth left in his head, and he likes to catch animals barehanded. People call him to get rid of nuisance animals, such as raccoons and possums, which have invaded their homes or barns or whatever. If there is a hole in the ground, the Turtle Man will stick his hand in there just to pull whatever is in there out.  The show plays up the whole "Hillbilly" angle.  Ernie's house apparently doesn't have a shower, since they usually show him taking one at his mom's house.  Ernie also has his mom cut his hair for him, and he brings her dead squirrels to cook for him.   Ernie has a friend named Neal and a dog named Lolly, along with a few other members of the "Turtle Team".  Zane will run around the house hollering about "Live Action", just like Ernie. My son loves the Turtle Man. I tell him that this is not really the best way to get women to notice him.   

5.  Ultimate Spiderman and The Avengers.   The art of the cartoon has been lost on most people.   Once they reach a certain age,  it is as if all the joy they once got from watching Saturday morning cartoons is sucked out of them.  I've seen some of the crap that passes for cartoons today, and I can't say that I blame them.  It never happened to me, because I watched the good shows like Looney Tunes, Freakazoid, Rocko's Modern Life, Pinky and the Brain and Ren and Stimpy.    I've been consistently watching various animated shows since I was a kid, and I don't intend to stop just because of my age.  Ultimate Spiderman is another attempt to reboot the animated Spiderman franchise, and I have to say that it is pretty darn good.  I have liked the stories so far, and the characters are likeable, and it's nice to know that Hayden Christiansen can still find work after being Anakin Skywalker.  The Avengers, which is an extremely great show that seemed to be holding true to the Marvel comic universe, has been cancelled because the Disney XD channel is as stupid as Fox was when they cancelled Firefly.  

Okay, feel free to point and make fun of me if you want to.  What shows are you guys watching this summer?


  1. I think anything goes in the summer. We watch different fare, or at least I do. It was summertime many moons ago when I got hooked on Survivor because it premiered then. I have seen every episode since. I feel no guilt watching The Bachelorette in the summer, I also watch TB, Weeds, Californication and a whole bunch of other stuff. No judgement here. I say, "Go for it!"

  2. Being a fan of all things vampire/werewolf/magic/zombies/unexplained mysteries, I tried to watch True Blood. But I just can't get into it! It was like Glee... I wanted to like it. But I couldn't. I'll just stick with the zombies and aliens on Walking Dead and Falling Skies.

  3. it seems to me, there used to be much better summer replacement shows--i hate most of the ones on now---so we rent movies or watch reality shows :)


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