The Reader's Eye on Television

Tiki people are a disgusting, wild, terrified group. This weekend at the tiki convention I witnessed the grossest of base, amoral misbehavior by adults. It was in the tiki and sushi bar that I saw an off-duty hula girl bite a Shriner's nipple, right through his thick, polyester, blue Hawaiian shirt.

"You cretin!" she cried, baring her teeth, lei torn off and plastic petals flinging.

They were separated and the hula girl's friends attempted to console her.

One lens of the Shriner's thick black Buddy Holly glasses was cracked. Apparently, this hadn't been his first altercation; with a hula girl or someone else, I didn't know. His awful comb-over seemed more menacing.

I have never seen a fez used defensively before. While the aging gadabout recovered on his barstool, he stuffed napkins and ice into his burgundy conical cap.

"What's that for?" I asked. "Ice and napkins?"

"So there won't be any bruising," he said through chipped yellow teeth and a waxy greasy mustache. I thought he meant to use it as an ice pack for his sore nip.

The hula girl was red-faced furious and her grass skirt shook like a rattlesnake's warning. But the Shriner sat up from his stool and crossed the bar, his fist stuffed into the napkin-and-ice-filled fez. When he reached the hula girl, he pulled his elbow way back and socked her hard in the temple. She crashed against a bank of televisions playing Blue Hawaii. Three monitors filled with Elvis's giant head were torn down from their shelves and shattered against the slippery tile floor and one TV rolled over the hula girl's torso, knocking the wind out of her.

Oh, it was pandemonium after that. Hula girls on one side, Shriners on the other. Brass knuckles. A switchblade. A tiki mug filled with banana daiquiri smashed into the face of a retiree. Blood splashed against unflattering floral pattern shirts.

From an overturning table, I rescued my coconut-husk cup of piña colada with tiny umbrella and sipped at the bendy straw through a storm of cocktail ice cubes and mixed- drink rain.

"What the hell is this all about?" I asked my girlfriend.

"You really are stupid, aren't you?" she said. "That Shriner grabbed that hula's rear end."

"Well, she isn't wearing underwear. She kind of asked for it."

My girlfriend shot me a glance that said, for my last comment, things were going to be worse at home than they were here. I searched around for an errant fez and napkins.

Thursday August 23 Clifford the Big Red Dog PBS 7:30 a.m. Clifford the Big Red Dog ate a baby. He's part pitbull, but nobody knew that. They had to put him down. I know. It's sad and I don't want to talk about it either, kids, but there it is. He was a menace to cartoon children everywhere, and I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry Clifford the Big Red Dog is heaped in a trash barrel behind the cartoon dog pound.

Scrubs NBC 9:30 p.m. Nobody cares about Scrubs anymore. Not even Zach Braff. I understand though. If every year you wrote yourself into a movie where you make out with the hottest actress of the season, you'd be hard-pressed to get excited about your day job too.

Friday August 24 Miss Teen USA 2007 NBC 8:00 p.m. Sponsored by Noxzema and anorexia.

Saturday August 25 Crypto the SuperdogCW 7:30 a.m. I've devised a new cartoon superhero. He harnesses the power of Japanese crustaceans. He is "Robster Craw! To the lescue!" Prease, Robster Craw! Save me, prease!

The Cat in the Hat ABC 8:00 p.m. When it comes to kids' movies, there's a fine line between entertainingly cute and creepy. Mike Myers hopscotches over that line in too-tight short shorts. You can see the outline of something you don't want to see. But he's in pigtails and it's weird. I weep for our children.

Sunday August 26 Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll CW 9:00 p.m. I have a Pussycat Dolls lunchbox. What can I say? I got caught up in the media frenzy. After I bought it I was so embarrassed that I covered up the lettering with glitter and My Little Pony stickers. Somehow, that didn't bear the effect I had hoped. I am the laughing stock of the gym.

Monday August 27 Fat March ABC 9:00 p.m. I wish fat was disgraceful again. Oh, Bewitched, take me back to a time when slender-hipped women in mint-green pencil skirts were the nightly offering for viewing pleasure instead of humps of stinking humanity, sweating through the seat of their "team color" track pants.

Tuesday August 28 Live From New York: The First five Years of Saturday Night Live NBC 8:00 p.m. NBC is out of ideas. If they have to dredge up slapdash late-night programming from the Carter administration to sell ad space, they've gone as stale as a nine-week-old pizza crust behind the toilet. It's attracting bugs and the dog won't even eat it.

Wednesday August 29 Last Comic Standing NBC 9:00 p.m. I wish something about this show were funny. It's so far down on the "tragic" end of the "tragic-comic" spectrum that only a crotch attack by raccoon could bring it back. Or, an old lady getting cracked in the ear by a Wiffleball bat.

Thursday August 30 In the Wild: Polar Bears With Ewan McGregor PBS 9:00 p.m. What? What the hell is going on? Why is young Obi Wan Kenobi doing PBS specials on polar bears? This documentary discards my childhood Star Wars memories like a peed-on couch into the alley.

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