The Reader's Eye on Television

Our last night in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we sat in the yellow light of a Khmer restaurant and sloshed beer across the table and ate frogs. The frogs came out skewered through and giving off coal smoke. Other than being barbecued to a dark brown hue, they looked exactly like live frogs. They were lined up on the bamboo stick mouth-to-little-nubby-butt like a sizzling froggy conga line. The beer was strong on alcohol and crisp. It wasn't long before we were staging famous scenes from movies and TV shows with our frogs. Ron put one in a crystal candleholder, removed the top slowly, and when revealing his frog he croaked a little, "Nanoo nanoo." I managed to tie a string that had frayed from my shirt around one of the little smoky bastards, set him on my lap, and in my best Jabba the Hutt I growled, "Ooh koo dooh, ha ha, Solo."

Ron couldn't get napkins wrapped around two of his frogs' necks because frogs don't have necks, so he settled on tying the paper around their waists. After our waitress dropped off two slick wet bottles of Singha beer, Ron pulled the napkins back and with a dashing voice commanded, "Quick, Robin! To the Batcave!"

Rain dinged on the tin roof, and an excited man rushed in and barked at the waitresses. There was something outside that needed their attention, and three waitresses disappeared into the gray deluge. My eyes were opening and closing independently, and I had to steady myself on a metal pole that ran beside our table when I stood. Pinching two frogs to an empty Singha I flew them at Ron and slurred, "Request permission for flyby." Ron snapped out a smart, "Negative, Ghostrider, the pattern is full!"

When the waitresses returned, they quick-stepped through the door and pulled their saturated shirts away from their bellies and rung them on the concrete floor. They ignored the stupid Americans in the corner, one high-kicking a frog across the table and singing "Ragtime Gal," the other drunken dumbass was in the middle of a sorrowful version of "It's Not Easy Being Green."


Thursday, March 9

Bringing Down the House (2003)

ABC 8:00 p.m. Directions for use: Unwrap (peel away packaging), operate product, dispose of properly (it's flushable!). Single use only. It's that easy:

use and forget!

Plagues Upon Us

UCSD 9:00 p.m. Now here's something I can get behind.

Friday, March 10

The Four Tops: From the Heart 50th Anniversary

PBS 9:30 p.m. Gerardo: 13 Years of Rico and Suave doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Saturday, March 11

The Facts of Life Reunion (2001)

FAM 12:00 p.m. Oh, you wisecracking group of misplaced-yet-spunky gals, what hijinks and hilarity are you up to now? Take us with you. Take us on your wacky caper!

Trojan War (1997)

WB 8:00 p.m. Durex Skirmish would be the more interesting film.

Sunday, March 12

How to Survive

DSC 9:00 p.m. A lesson on what to do in case of a bear attack I don't need, thanks. What I could use is a tutorial on how to keep my apartment clean and balance my checkbook. Better yet, just send me some money and a maid. Now, there's a show, Send Me Some Money and a Freakin' Maid!

Monday, March 13

Sixteen Candles (1984)

AMC 8:00 p.m. "No more yanky my wanky. The Donger need food," is now my default lunchtime announcement. Previously it had been, "I could eat the butthole out of a hippopotamus," but all things change, like the seasons and tides.

Tuesday, March 14

The Unit

CBS 9:00 p.m. Yeah, like that name wasn't intentional. I'm going to film a series called Giant Swinging Junk about a scrap-yard crane.

Thursday, March 16

And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip Hop

VH1 9:00 p.m. VH1, purveyors of all things knitted, vanilla, and warm, turn their expert eye and camera lens to the inner-city music phenomenon.

How William Shatner Changed the World

HIST 8:00 p.m. Excuse me?

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