A cornucopia of hits for connoisseurs of culture

The last word about dads on Father's Day

Recently we vacationed in the high elevations of Colorado’s
Rocky Mountains where there is so much snow it will require
high-intensity laser beams of pure global warming powerfully
focused over that state for the area to have hope of ever seeing
bare soil again. And even though piles of snow delayed our trip
home to California, were we worried? Heck, no. We had satellite
TV!
Recently we vacationed in the high elevations of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains where there is so much snow it will require high-intensity laser beams of pure global warming powerfully focused over that state for the area to have hope of ever seeing bare soil again. And even though piles of snow delayed our trip home to California, were we worried? Heck, no. We had satellite TV! This meant we could toast our feet by the fire while watching a plethora of televised programming. Sort of.

In California, we are fortunate to have DVR; this means we have the option of watching what we want to watch and ignoring the rest. Without DVR? Well.

Let me start by saying that with some televised offerings, the commercials are better than the programs. Way better. For example, I know the wildly (and weirdly) popular “Jersey Shore” is this country’s guilty pleasure. But after witnessing various TV interviews with a few of the players (Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino and Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi to name a couple), I vowed never to tune in this MTV “reality” show. Ever. I mean, what is it with a guy who names a part of his anatomy “The Situation”? OK, in this case it’s his “abs,” but I shudder to think what could come next.

It’s a good thing nobody asked me to predict the popularity of a TV series because “Jersey Shore” is one I never saw coming. A study in group dynamics (OK, that’s probably a bit lofty for the “Jersey Shore” scenario), the show originally followed a collection of eight housemates spending a summer at the Jersey Shore. Season two they traveled to Miami while season three saw them back at the Jersey Shore. Wow. This was “entertainment!” A few tweaks in cast members occurred along the way, but the show is still going strong.

Later in the year, this outfit will be found frolicking in Italy. That’s right. And I’m worried about relations between the U.S. and Italy. I hope we don’t owe Italy money because the “Jersey Shore” abomination is certainly cause to call due immediately any outstanding notes. Hopefully the brain trusts that produce “Jersey Shore” aren’t cooking up strategies to drag this assemblage to China because don’t we owe China a BOATLOAD of money? I’m just sayin’.

The sad thing about these cultural phenomena is that they spawn all sorts of corresponding paraphernalia such as talking bobble head dolls and t-shirts. There is even “The Situation – Official App” for the iPhone. Oh, be still my heart. I don’t care how many accoutrements they come up with for “Jersey Shore,” I refuse to watch it. Ever. In fact, I’ve heard the show actually kills off brain cells, but you probably shouldn’t quote me on that.

Another genre that drives me bananas is the reality “housewives” programs. Oh, please. Should we perhaps produce a “Housewives of South Valley” reality series? Let’s see. One exciting episode finds me (and yes, I’m in it because it’s my idea, OK?) deftly cleaning toilets before sitting down to plan the evening’s dinner menu featuring a dazzling tuna casserole. Yeah, no. So unless the featured program contains the word “Desperate” before “Housewives,” count me out.

Therefore, the other night high in the mountains of Colorado we gloomily perused the offerings on regular old TV minus our queue of DVR favorites that were languishing at home in California. We prudently avoided “Jersey Shore” and any “housewives” listings and lighted instead on a far superior program called “Wipeout,” a.k.a. “Winter Wipeout,” which is featured at the present time. And may I just say, “Holy Cow.”

Yeah!! THIS is what I’m talking about, people: programming of the highest caliber. Here, goofy contestants “athletically” smash through a hilarious extreme obstacle course by battling such impediments as the “Yule Log Jam,” “Big Balls,” and the “Spinning Ski Lift.” I can’t tell you how civilized I felt watching contestants like “Broken Record” (a confident woman convinced she could break the show’s every record and blabbed this claim ad infinitum) get her comeuppance by being launched 50 feet into the air, said launch culminating in an undignified landing in a pool laden with mud and a shaving cream-like substance.

Props such as the “Snow-tivator” and weird mechanical pigs add to the fun of watching contestants crash through and bounce off strangely shaped foam rubber objects that gyrate, twirl and shake – or simply remain motionless in a dicey, slippery fashion as contestants skid, slither and slide down the playground from hell.

And for the “Wipeout Champion,” the lucky soul who gets pretty much shot out of a cannon, swims through fire and arrives in the shortest time at the final destination, “Big Bucks” are won. Oh, YEAH! Now THIS is culture!

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