Dallying With Daytime TV

DAVE BARRY'S TO WIT

November 19, 1995|By DAVE BARRY

People often ask me: "Dave, what's the biggest advantage of working at home, other than that you don't have to get dressed until 4:30 p.m., when the pizza-delivery person arrives with breakfast?"

I would say that the biggest advantage for me, as a writer, is that, instead of writing, I can spend an enormous amount of time watching daytime television. For example, I routinely watch reruns of "Wonder Woman." Why? Because "Wonder Woman" has an aesthetic quality that you are not going to find on so-called "prime-time television," or even in the so-called "Louvre Museum," and that quality is: very bad special effects, especially when Diana changes into Wonder Woman by spinning in a circle. You owe it to yourself to take a couple of days off work and check it out.

I also strongly recommend "Hawaii Five-0," starring Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, a man with the emotional range of Formica, who, on the basis of owning more suits than anybody else, has been given the job of fighting all the crime in the Hawaiian Islands. This is not easy, because Steve's entire police force consists of just three men (two of whom are named Chun) who mostly just stand around, cowlike, unable to blow their own noses without explicit instructions from Steve. This means that Steve just about always ends up capturing the bad guys himself, usually after a shootout, which Steve always wins because he can deflect bullets with his hair.

But for sheer reliability of plot, you can't beat reruns of "Baywatch," the popular series featuring female lifeguards who are required by law to wear impossibly tight bathing suits all the time, even at the supermarket, in case they suddenly have to rescue somebody. Their job is to guard No Fat Beach, which is covered with civilians who also have incredible bodies.

Every few minutes some guy with a normal body shows up, and he immediately becomes depressed, because next to these people he looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy. In despair, he dives into the ocean and starts drowning, which is the signal for several female lifeguards to run toward the water. It takes them about 15 minutes to get there; the No Fat Beach lifeguard station is apparently located miles from the actual ocean. So most of the show consists of close-up shots of these women running, running, running. Fortunately, the Pillsbury Doughboy is a terrible drowner, so he's always still alive when they finally get to him. Then it's time for a commercial, after which we return to the beach and ... uh-oh! another victim is drowning! Time to start running again!

But as good as the dramatic reruns on daytime TV are, they don't hold a candle to the live shows. When you check these out, you'll need a remote control so you can zap rapidly from one to another, to fully appreciate the breadth of issues being covered by leading thinkers such as ...

(ZAP)

" ... Maury Povich, and today we're taking a long-overdue look at the issue of men who force their wives to dress up exactly like O. J. Simpson defense attorney Barry Scheck and then have sex with ...

(ZAP)

" ... Ricki Lake, and today we'll hear from six women who say: 'I am fed up with the way my best friend's mother's lover's wife's daughter's boyfriend, whose baby I am having, has been sneaking around behind my back having an affair with ...

(ZAP)

" ... Jerry Springer, and we're going to be talking with some men who want their girlfriends to stop going to Amish lesbian nightclubs and return to prostitution so that the boyfriends can get the money they need to have sex-change operations so they can appear in porn movies wherein they engage in explicit acts with Olympic gymnasts, live Cornish game hens and ...

(ZAP)

" ... Judge Wapner, who today will consider the case of a woman whose doctor diagnosed her with appendicitis, but when surgeons opened her up, they were shocked to discover ...

(ZAP)

" ... this genuine cubic zirconium pendant with a retail value of $385,000, but you pay only $9.95, because as a member of the Home Shopping Network, you get to ...

(ZAP)

" ... carry the love child of ...

(ZAP)

" ... Dan-o, Chun and Chun! I want you to interview every right-handed person on Oahu and find out who ...

(ZAP)

" ... is routinely having wild, margarine-smeared sex with ...

(ZAP)

" ... the Pillsbury Doughboy."

Speaking of whom, my pizza is here.

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