American Chopper

“Hey, I’m going to come get you. You can help me move our new TV,” my cousin Joe informed me over a crackling cell phone connection.

“What?” I asked through static, “What kind of TV do you need two people to carry?”

“Actually, Jeremy’s already here.”

Even though his “old” 27-inch flat screen was in perfect condition, he was getting a new larger set, which apparently required three young men to lift.

We backed the truck up directly in front of the door to Sears and dropped the tailgate. Jeremy emerged from the store folding reams of Technicolor receipts and waving someone through the store, “That’s it. Just to the left a little. Okay. The truck’s right here.”

That can’t be it, I thought. It’s too damn big. It won’t even fit through the front door — the front door to Sears, for cryin’ out loud. That must be a refrigerator for someone else... My doubts were put to rest when Joe sprang from the tailgate to help the sales clerk free the monstrosity from its cardboard confines and tug the TV through the door. The four of us then hoisted it from its cart and shoved it into the pickup bed, “Good lord, I’m going to get a hernia,” I grunted.

“Hey,” my cousin responded. “You want to watch a lifesize American Chopper? Then shut it.”

After several attempts to get it through the front door of their mobile home, we sat on the porch and started drawing up plans with a rusty nail. My fingers had been smashed into the door jam on the first few tries, so we were brainstorming new ways to get in. “I’ll cut this wall out with a Sawzall,” my cousin frantically offered.

“No, no,” I had to remain cool or this would be ugly. “This isn’t even your trailer, you rent it from Gram and Pop.”

“Here, we’ll take it out of the box. And flip it like this. Jeremy, get under it. Lift up. Now tilt. Bring it back. We’re in!”

The black monolith dominated the tiny living room of the doublewide, and we all hustled around it — stringing wires from this box and this outlet, running energy and signal into its terminals. When blue-glow blared from it, we stood back in awe. “This is the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen,” someone said.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “What are you doing? You rent, from our grandparents, a mobile home with — no heat, holes in the kitchen floor big enough to drop a cat through, and a bare pipe for a showerhead. And you chose to buy this? What are you going to do, huddle around it for warmth this winter?”

“Who are you, my mother?”

“No, it just doesn’t seem to be a rational decision...hey look, American Chopper.

Wednesday, December 8

Honorable Mention
A Clay Aiken Christmas
NBC 7 8:00 p.m.

Barry Manilow, desperately trying to remind the American public of his existence, trades microphones with the character actress from Will & Grace, trying to convince us she’s not a character actress. Do I blame Clay Aiken for this effluvial discharge? No, I blame you, the American public. For it was you who made him an idol.

Thursday, December 9

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
WB 5 8:00 p.m.

What fresh hell is this? As if the song weren’t enough, someone decided to produce a television special. If you ask me, that’s just downright assholery. Where do such lazy people have such good connections to get their lack of creativity into the public arena?

The Apprentice
NBC 7 9:00 p.m.

Speaking of lack of creativity, I offer the four turds left on The Apprentice. Listen, kids: if you have to tell me over and over that you’re intelligent, creative, and a born leader, then you aren’t. The best thing about this episode is that two people will be canned instead of one. In my opinion, that’s still not enough.

Friday, December 10

NBC 7 7:30 p.m.

As I get ready to go out for the evening, I’ll listen in and shout out wrong answers, “Constantinople! What is Constantinople? Fuck.” That freak, Ken Jennings, isn’t marauding all over the show anymore, so I might not feel like a complete idiot if I watch. I hope he chokes on that two and a half million bucks.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
WB 14 8:00 p.m.

This is the real one, folks, not that overproduced pabulum from Ron Howard. I’ll watch the animated Grinch tie an antler to his dog’s head, then whip the ever-loving-hell out of its canine hide as they sled down to pillage Whoville. If only they’d stop the show before his heart grows three times the size of a normal Grinch heart I’d be happy. I like my Grinches bitchy and mean.

Saturday, December 11

Southern Steel
DSCP 35 7:00 p.m.

I want to see this second chapter because the first was hilarious. This show is basically American Chopper south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s better, though, because when someone burns himself or drops a pipe on his head, the ensuing string of curse words are in a slow drawl. Someone doing stupid shit with a Southern accent just seems right to me.

Sunday, December 12

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
NBC 7 8:00 p.m.

This is the second-best Christmas movie ever. Since it’s Sunday night, what else are you going to do? Brace yourself for the workweek ahead by watching Chevy Chase tailspin into manic holiday senselessness. Of course, they’ll censor out Randy Quaid’s, “Merry Christmas! Shitter’s full!” but any movie shown on TV is going to suck like that. By the way, Die Hard is the best Christmas movie of all time, in case you were wondering.

Desperate Housewives
ABC 10 9:00 p.m.

“You should watch Desperate Housewives. You should watch Desperate Housewives,” people harp on me constantly. Oh, those poor middle-aged, wealthy women; I feel so sorry for them. Sex with the hired help and complaining about their husbands must wear on them so. That chick from Lois and Clark better show some skin in this episode or it’s off my list.

Tuesday, December 14

The Real Gilligan’s Island
TBSP 33 8:00 p.m.

I have to see this. What a terrible premise: take an actual millionaire, an actual small-boat captain, a country bumpkin, a blah-blah-blah, and put them on an island in a re-creation of a fictional television show. Oh, the stink. Oh, the shame of these people. I just wonder what bit player they scrounged out of rehab for the role of the “movie star.”

The Amazing Race 6
CBS 8 9:00 p.m.

If a show pisses me off as much as this, it is truly awesome. The young, bright people who would normally excel at most games are thrashed by the feeble and aged just out of bad luck and circumstance. All the people I hate on this show because they’re old or weak or stupid are doing absolutely awesome. By the end, I’m red-in-the-face from screaming at the TV. Ah, good stuff.

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