The Reader's Eye on Television

What I Will and Won't Watch This Week

Why are they called permanents? I know that sounds like the setup to a joke that isn't funny, but I've read about the "permanent-wave hair treatment" online, and I still can't figure it out. Either way, I'm giving myself one. Right now. If you didn't know it, dear reader, my hair is leaving me. It's not going in that stately, distinguished, male-pattern kind of baldness. Oh, how I wish I had the "olive branch wreath" that ringed my noggin from ear-to-ear, but no. My hair is falling out piecemeal and not in any specific area. It looks like my head is having a yard sale, and everything, everywhere, must go. Fifty cents for the patch above my right ear. A dollar for the bit above my neck. That little tuft in front? Just take it. I'm not making any money on this thing, and you look like you really want it.

In order to fluff and cover, to give myself a more youthful look, I've decided to curl what's left. I don't have the money to get the treatment at a salon. I don't even have the money to buy one of those boxes of chemicals and the little pink plastic rollers. That's why I read about perms online. So I can make my own home recipe.

I've disassembled my television. Its contents are strewn from a wall socket across the floor in a line of electronics as if the black plastic case projectile-vomited in my bedroom. I've routed some of the power cables to bicycle parts; they're acting as the rollers. I'm lying on a towel with my head soaking in a solution of laundry detergent, air freshener, and table salt. The monitor of the TV is functional, sort of. It turns on and glows warm, adding the heat I need to complete the chemical reaction, and I can hear the television show through the speakers that are strung over by my closet. I can't change the channel, and damned if I left it on that station that plays The Golden Girls reruns 24 hours a day.

So, here I lay, my head bathing in chemicals and electricity. The warm radiance of a blue screen on my face. I'm wearing sunglasses -- you know, for safety reasons. I am like a caterpillar in a Frankenstein cocoon, and the singsong voice of Blanche Devereaux reminds me that soon I'll be a beautiful butterfly.

Thursday, April 5 Fresh VH1 10:00 a.m. Ugh. How did I get " Like a Virgin" stuck in my head? I haven't heard that song in 20 years, and I hated it when it was new... shiny and neeeEEEew. Ooh! Like a virgin! Damn. Make it stop! For the love of God, please, make it stop!

Scrubs NBC 9:21 p.m. My neighbor and medical consultant, Ed, has diagnosed me with adult-onset Tourette's syndrome. Only I don't have the condition in English. I curse in other languages; Spanish and German mostly, and only while driving. You don't want to be in my truck with me in traffic when I start yelling, "Move! Move, pinche schissewagon !"

Friday, April 6 The Wedding Bells Fox 9:00 p.m. . ...- . .-. -. -- - .... .. -. --. / -. -- --- ..- / .- .-. . / .- -. -.. / ... - .- -. -.. / ..-. --- .-. / ..-. .. .-.. .-.. ... / -- -. -- / ... --- ..- .-.. / . -- .. - .... / .... .- - . / .- -. -.. / .-. .- --. . .-.-.- That's Morse code for "Everything you are and stand for fills my soul with hate and rage." I don't know how many different ways I have to say it. Maybe French next week.

Saturday, April 7 Top Design Bravo 3:00 p.m. Top Design. Pffft . You effeminate nancies! Decorate my apartment. I'll be out doing important things like building monuments of steel and stone, forging rivers, and killing alligators with my bare hands. MINCE! MINCE, YOU SISSIES! PAINT MY WALLS!

Pterodactyl Sci-Fi 7:00 p.m. I love the Sci-Fi channel's cheap horror films. Someone with access to a camera, a back yard, and an industrial-sized tub of ketchup can still make a movie and have it broadcast to millions. As a fan, I checked this listing to see what it's about. (As if I needed more than the title to tell me.) I was pleasantly surprised to find that the starring role is played by none other than Coolio. Yes, that Coolio. Oh, my! I'm about to combust in a fine mist at the thought of yarn-haired, gangster rapper Coolio pretend-fighting a flying dinosaur that's been drawn with white grease pencil directly onto the videotape. A grander exercise in absurdity has never been performed. Fellini and his clowns now look like literal campfire tales told by scoutmasters at a jamboree.

Sunday, April 8 The Fast and the Furious USA 7:00 p.m. Easter! Easter! Easter! Easter! I get to eat ham and chocolate and put cellophane grass on my head and throw decorated eggs at retarded children. God, I love the holidays. I'm going to get so drunk.

Monday, April 9 Beauty and the Geek MTV 6:30 p.m. People like to make predictions. Flying cars. Shining cities on the moon. Those sorts of things. I like to make my predictions grounded in current trends. My prediction for the coming future is more technologically savvy old men are going to be found dead in front of their computers with... ahem ..."racy" websites pulled up on their browsers. If you know what I mean. Wink!

Tuesday, April 10 Good Eats FOOD 7:00 p.m. My neighbors are loud. As retribution, sometimes, I fry up a pound of salmon and boil some brussel sprouts. Then I stand at my door and pump it back and forth to wave the poison cloud of messy stink out into the courtyard. Loud-ass neighbors. Suck my wet-trash smelling food odor, bastards.

Wednesday, April 11 That's Gotta Hurt TLC 8:00 p.m. I like that these miniature dramas on candid video still adhere to Aristotle's definitions of conflict. A motorcyclist collides with a bulldozer? Man vs. Society. A lobsterman spears himself in the head and falls into the ocean? Man vs. Nature. And even though it seems that the antagonist has triumphed, we see later, in the hospital, that Man has really won the battle because he'll "just get back on and keep riding" or "go back to the boat tomorrow." It's all very Greek tragedy. Togas and sandals. Caught on tape.

Thursday, April 12 MSNBC Special: To Catch a Predator MSNBC 7:00 p.m. Damned MSNBC. Ruining all my fun. How I loved to pretend to be a 13-year-old girl in chat rooms and work old men up into a tunnel-visioned, sweaty-shirt-collar-between-their-teeth, one-handed-typing session. Now this stupid show has scared off all the eligible New Mexico retirees. What will I do for giggles?

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