February 2, 2001

The Daze Rant

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As a college student and especially as an editor for The Sun, I have grown all too comfortable assuming the role of night owl. Because of the backwards schedule of my life, the majority of my energy is expended between the hours of 8 p.m and 4 a.m, probably peaking somewhere around midnight.

When my mom powered up the Hoover at 11:45 a.m over winter break, I actually yelled at her. In a sleepy fury, I unplugged the vacuum from the socket and threw the plug down the stairs. When she reprimanded me and asked why I would do such a thing, I vehemently replied, “It is too early to be vacuuming!” She looked back at me with a bewildered look on her face, and said, “David — it’s noon.” That’s when I realized I had a problem.

But it’s really too late to rectify the issue, and I have learned to accept my graveyard routine for the remainder of my college career. It’s simple really. I go to bed late, wake up late, and don’t like anything that happens in daylight. Of course, I have to attend class, which occurs while the sun is still out. And I am required to get my add/drop form signed at the registrar’s office between nine and five. So, due largely to societal norms, I have unfortunately adapted to some elements of the traditional American business day.

But for me, the larger issue has become my television options. As a second semester senior, I find myself with more extra time on my hands than ever before, which simply means I can devote more hours than ever before to the set. There’s no problem with primetime or late-night talk shows; however, once Conan O’ Brien signs off at 1:30 a.m., I have often found myself wide awake, relentlessly channel-flipping, and bored.

I just do not understand why the networks refuse to air any quality or semi-quality shows on the overnight lineup. As a result, I have been forced to watch Dr. Laura and repeat episodes of MTV’s teen melodrama Undressed. Oh, and upon occasion, I have tuned in to Judith Light selling anti-acne cream or that ridiculously loud guy forcing sports collectibles down my throat.

But it is obvious, isn’t it? Why would network programming heads care what airs overnight, since most sane people are fast asleep? Advertisers know this too, and only low budget businesses like the Syracuse dating service and Miss Cleo’s Tarot Card hotline want to buy the early morning airtime. So, even the commercials end up sucking.

The only programs that are worth my dwindling attention are the WB’s Change of Heart and Street Smarts, which have strangely become my new best friends in the 1-3 a.m block. Although Street Smarts has made me worry about the state of the U.S. educational system (last week, none of the three contestants knew who JFK was) and the invasive, psychologically damaging Change of Heart is a murder waiting to happen, they are still damn entertaining programs for the middle of the night.

My allegiance to them will undoubtedly be short-lived though, and I can only hope that when the novelty wears off, the networks will provide something else to keep my midnight oil burning.

Archived article by David Kaplan