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In memory of TV

BY NICHOLAS KELLY | FEBRUARY 18, 2009 7:39 AM

Audio: The author reads his column


TV, we must talk. TV, I thought we were OK.

Remember the good times, TV? When I wrote the columns about how you were swell? How I spoke in your defense, told people you weren’t completely evil, the idiot box they’d called you so many times before?

And now here we are, TV.

Me, hunched over the keyboard, Jackson 5 on a loop to drown you out, and you, you TV just over my shoulder, with your flickering e-lec-tronic eye blinking away at me as you do keep doing those unspeakable things my roommates make you do.

TV, how could you?

TV, I can’t believe what they can do to you, do with you. Not just the roommates (who apparently can’t figure out that a Family Guy bit where Darth Vader is — get this, A METER MAID — just isn’t that funny) but the others, the one’s who actually pay to do those horrible things.

I’m talking, of course, about the advertisers.

Now, TV, I’ll be honest, I had an inkling that this was going on. I was aware that in exchange for an electronic service called television I had to pay a nominal fee each month (and then cancel that fee every six months and resubscribe in a roommate’s name to keep that fee “introductory”) in addition to watching a number of commercial advertisements in order that you, TV, could continue to live the lifestyle you had become accustomed to. And that was fine. I wanted to provide for you as best I could.

But sometimes I feel as if you’ve begun to ask for more than what my love can provide.

I can’t do it. TV, when you ask me to turn a blind eye as you run around with these ads that think they can somehow fill a 30 second spot with four words repeated over and over.

Don’t be coy TV, you know what I mean, don’t make spell it out.

Five, five dollar, five dollar … shall I go on?

That’s the kind of shit I’m talking about, TV.

I heard an ad on your good friend radio the other day, where a guy walked into a Subway and all the customers suddenly broke in to that song.

He didn’t know why. But I do.

It’s because they play that song on you, TV and they play it every five minutes and with only four words in that song it doesn’t take that many repeats before you’ve got the whole thing down pat.
Really, I don’t know if I can go on.

Or TV, when you start going around again with those who have hurt you so many times before.
That’s when it stings, TV. When I know it’s not even your fault, when it’s someone who’s learned to take advantage of you and will do it again and again.

You know who I mean, the same villains who slipped that awful Big Ten into you, violated you with its esoteric college sports programming, and now make you show clips where a dopey stereotype of two Midwesterners hawk phone-line bundling. TV, I weep because I know you’re too precious to ever be sold to people named Buck and Penny Pincher (eh), and yet they do it to you still.

But TV I don’t know if I can forgive, I don’t know if I can forget just yet.

If, TV, you make like Hall and Oates (who are now the ones drowning you out) and baby-come-back, will you be good? Or, will you remain the man-eater that you are?

TV, sometimes I think the gulf between us is too great. I’ve seen the people who are pulling your strings, and let’s be honest, these are the same people that green-lit the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show” — a program that has cause me to seriously consider the merits of seppuku (and, by extension, is almost as terrible as “Superjail”).

How, TV, do I cope when other people push your buttons, abscond with you in a near absolute manner during that whole agonizing “bowl season” ordeal, or, worst of all, simply rifle through you without purpose or direction, yielding snippets of Chris Hansen catching predators one second and Andrew Zimmern eating far louder than any human should be able to the next — all this time not yielding a single clue as to what is going on in any of the eight programs being surfed.

I guess what I’m saying, TV, is that I’ve learned that your fault is that I’ll never have you all to myself, and that, TV, that’s a turnoff.


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