March 27, 2001

Fishin' for Good TV

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Let me be the 82nd person to ask you, “How was your break?” Good? Yeah, mine too. Oh, the Bahamas, eh? Wow, sweet. Me, no, went home. No, Virginia. Yeah, good times. No, no palm trees. 90 degrees? Ha, not even close. Well, we’ve got tanning salons. Yeah, I guess, not quite the same.

Oh you did? No, the pools hadn’t opened quite yet. No kidding? Well, I just sat on my nice, non-sandy, non-wet, non-shaded, non-breezy, cushioned, back-supported rocking chair and watched TV. They’ve got some interesting programs on that thing. Oh, you didn’t eh? Well you must be completely out of touch with the world then.

Yeah, so this TV dealie is great. You ever see anything called women’s basketball? Pretty wild stuff. Apparently they’ve got dibs on March Madness too. Yeah, their own tournament and everything! No, they don’t dunk, but they’re getting there. I think one of them did. Once. It’s on at two in the morning on ESPN2. Good stuff, you should check it out. Yeah, neither did I. Who would have thought?

Speaking of basketball, can you even believe they canceled Hang Time? What’s up with that? First Pacific Blue and now Hang Time? Dick Butkus and Reggie Theus in one show. How can you beat that? No way.

Yeah, I guess Dick had his little XFL thing to explore. Hell, even I’ve given up on that garbage. They’ve got a bunch of chimps running that network. Say, did you know it’s illegal to keep chimps as pets? Yeah, I got rid of it. No, in the dumpster. Oh well.

You know, the greatest “sports” show out there is without a question, Battle Dome. Like all great sports, it’s about strength and courage in the midst of some poor fool getting the shit kicked out of him. The contests are great — they’ve got rope-climbing, and getting-out-of-a-caged-ball-while-a-big-dude-clings-on-to-you, and sideways-rock-climbing-while-you’re-suspended-in-air. It’s kind of like American Gladiators-on-coke meets WWF. You know what I mean? Exactly. It can’t go wrong. Look for it Saturday afternoons or Sunday nights on FOX.

Oh, you’re looking into more serious endeavors, are you? Thought so. In that case, it doesn’t get much better than Saturday morning on ESPN2: they’ve got three whole shows on fishing. A show on fishing. How crazy is that? It’s like watching a bunch of guys play basketball.

So first you’ve got your saltwater fishing with George Poveromo and Barry O’Neill. Yeah, of course I’ve fished before, what are you trying to say? Fresh, salt, clean, dirty, you name it, but never watched it on TV. As a matter of fact, they were in the Bahamas last time looking for wahoos. Did you see them? No, George and Barry. A wahoo? I have no idea. Although it puts those UVA folks in perspective, doesn’t it?

After that you’ve got one show on the proper way to conduct yourself when you’re outdoors because us suburban folk don’t get out there in the wild too much. It’s about conservation, about fishing, about the heart of the wild and about fishing. Backroads with Ron and Raven they call it. It’s the nation’s highest rated regional outdoor television show, if you need another reason to see it. There’s another show after that, but I didn’t have the absence of mind to watch.

Of course, then you get into the real sports, like cheerleading competitions, tennis, golf and race-car driving. I wonder what the ratings for those shows are. Oh, ratings don’t validate goodness? Oh reeeally? Tell that to Neilsen and the Budweiser boys. You ever wonder why tennis, golf and race-car driving aren’t as popular as basketball and football? The top five highest rated programs ever are football games. Not even baseball compares to them. What is the big difference, you wonder?

Cheerleaders. Basketball and football have ’em. Baseball, tennis and golf don’t. The ratings follow the cheerleaders, simple as that. Hell, even Battle Dome has cheerleaders. Of course, if that were the case, cheerleading competitions ratings should beat out those for race-car driving. And what do you know, according to the SuMeter