The Reader's Eye on Television

The cooking-segment host for that l.a. News station was a kid-toucher. They ever tell you that? No. Because Hollywood is depraved. Right now, there are slaves tied up and swinging from the ceilings of TV stars' homes. Filipino immigrants are snatched from the bus stations and temporary work agency lines around L.A. and sold to the weathergirls and celebrity gossip hosts so that the captives might manicure majestic gardens, sweat over roiling pots of soup, and engage in things best left unwritten in these gentle pages.

This is my confession. I was a talent agent in the '80s. Scouting martini networks and wineglass affairs for the next Noxzema girl was only part of my job. I managed their measly careers until they were found with their pale cheek in the spit, grit, and cigarette butts of the La Brea gutter. Every one of them. The same story. The same ending. Ass in the air, a seeping chest wound.

Live by the razor blade, hypodermic needle, and cat-o'-nine-tails, die by the razor blade, hypodermic needle, and cat-o'-nine-tails. Shivved by an Eastern European refugee is the price you pay for mediocrity. Oh, sure, the "talent" got a mid-grade BMW and a tract house in West Covina. And their illegitimate children got a check to cover a one-room apartment and a powder habit. But the junkies, slaves, and bookies always won.

The ones with a taste for teenagers and the elderly were the worst. You figure snatching a bum in his 30s from a train-station bench and making him clean a pool for room and board isn't a bad deal for everyone involved. But the thoughts of my clients with someone's kid or some poor grandfather shackled up in their garden shed used to keep me awake at night.

The Nicaraguan and the opium ring. That blonde girl from Boise and the videotape of it, passed around at parties. Oh, newscasters are the sickest of all.

No records were ever kept. Maybe the gamblers have a coded log somewhere, but that has nothing to do with my name. Thank God.

It had to be done, I tell myself. It had to be done. The people demand starlets with mathematically perfect teeth to dish them their nightly serving of celebrity gossip. The starlets have their own demands.

I was in the middle.

Thursday, March 8 Today NBC 7:00 a.m. I'm a pixie! I'm a pixie! I'm an angry pixie, though. My eyebrows tie in a tiny knot beneath my puckish bangs, and my pointy little ears are red! Cross me and I will pull up your collar and put my curl-toed slipper in your tokhes. You ever been conked on the brainstem with a glittery wand? Keep it up, buster. ( Angry Pixie: The Katie Couric Story )

Everybody Loves Raymond CW 7:00 p.m. I want to ride that tall guy with the deep voice. He can wear a harness and I can sit in it like Master Blaster from Beyond Thunderdome . I'll have a little riding crop, and if he gets out of line, I'll crop him and yank his ears. I will ride him through the streets of Temecula and terrorize the fuzzy boot and SUV cougars sipping their Diet Cokes. "HYEAH! GET UP, YOU BIG UGLY MOTHER! HYEAH!"

Friday, March 9 House Fox 8:00 p.m. I have to diagnose my own ailments because I have no medical insurance. This show helps. My health problems are symptomatic of West African Zebra-Transmitted Wasting Disease. Tonight I'll conduct exploratory surgery on my brain. I have a pocketknife, a cordless drill, and I boiled a chopstick last night. You know, for sanitary purposes. Pour some bourbon on the hole and bite down on my belt for 20 minutes and I should be fit. It's either that or I have athlete's foot and a sniffle, but I'm not taking any chances.

The Wedding Bells Fox 9:00 p.m. You couldn't pay me. I don't care what you think it's about. I don't care what you want it to be about or what the critics are saying. No. You come near me with that remote control and you're going to eat it along with a hearty mouthful of your own teeth. Weddings are a waste of a good Saturday afternoon in real life. A TV show on the same subject should be listed specifically in the articles of the Geneva Convention. I'll fight you until one of us is dead before I watch a second of it.

Saturday, March 10 Mythbusters: Jaws Special Discovery 9:00 p.m. The Mythbusters debunk a movie from the 1970s. Hey, thanks. Next you'll tell me that Tony Manero's only chance to leave his Brooklyn painting job isn't disco dancing on Saturday nights. SHOCKING! Keep up the good work, fellahs.

Sunday, March 11 Desperate Housewives ABC 9:00 p.m. Eva Longoria's shimmery lip gloss once saved a school bus full of children that had plummeted over an embankment. Imbued by her star power, even the personal effects in her purse are coursing with heroism. The tube of makeup hopped from her speeding Mercedes, rolled along the shoulder, and dialed 911 from a nearby emergency phone. A passing professor from USC took credit for the rescue call. The lip gloss only smiled wryly when it saw the broadcast on the nightly news because it knew the truth, and it didn't mind. Saving the kids' lives was reward enough.

Monday, March 12 We Have 15 Children TLC 10:00 p.m. And we're going to bring them to the next movie you watch and sit by you. We have as much right to throw handfuls of jujubes in your hair as anyone else. We paid the same price for a ticket that you did. Actually, we bought 17 of them, 15 for the kids and 1 apiece for the missus and me. That means we're entitled to 17 times the usual noise level allotted to each person, and if you don't like it, don't come to the movies. Maybe that 32 ounces of soda in your lap will remind you just how hard it is to raise a child, you selfish bastard.

Tuesday, March 13 NBA Live: Bring It Home ESPN2 8:00 p.m. My team of millionaire felons is going to beat the pants off of your team of millionaire felons at the child's game of putting a rubber ball through an elevated hoop. It's going to be sweet. It will reaffirm my position in life as a spectator of events. I will approximate myself to success. We will be the champions this year.

Wednesday, March 14 SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2 Family 8:00 p.m. Someone saw fit to make two of these? I'm no humanitarian, nor am I a fan of more government, but at some point intervention must be made. Child labor. Tobacco. Pollution. Enron. This movie is like that. Monies and resources previously used for corporate gain from the destruction of our citizenry diverted toward the advancement of society can't be seen as charity, but rather necessity. I think -- and I'm only a poor drug-addled writer -- but I think our nation depends on this.

Thursday, March 15 Andy Barker, P.I. NBC 9:30 p.m. A bumbling private investigator makes good on mysteries despite apparent shortcomings. I wonder if the writer of this series understands that he's never had an original thought or if his brain only swims in its blissful pool of clear liquor, antidepressants, and delusion.

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