Copyright © 1998 Henrietta W. Hay
But there's nothing on television . . .
July 24, 1998
I wish I had a nickel for every time somebody has said to me, "There is
absolutely nothing on TV worth watching any more." It is obvious that
the people who say that really do watch, or they wouldn't know that
there isn't anything they want to watch. And I'll bet that most of them
have cable, and maybe even extended cable.
And in spite of all the people who aren't watching, the television
industry grows and grows: more networks are added, satellite dishes
sprout like oversized sunflowers above prosperous home developments,
screens are getting bigger and taking up entire walls, and whole stores
sell nothing but television sets. So somebody is watching. Maybe it
is the extra-terrestrials who are sneaking down and watching "our" shows
and taking "our" ideas back out into space. That should make for an
interesting intergalactic confrontation some day.
I am, of course, not a television critic, but, I watch a quite a bit
and that makes me an expert on what I like. My friend the philosopher
doesn't always agree. She has probably seen every "X-Files" show that
has been made. I can't even remember which one is Scully and which one
is Mulder. On the other hand, I have probably seen every "NYPD Blue"
episode, and she has been known to say, "Who is Jimmy Smits?"
Of course there is a lot of "junk" on TV. But my junk is probably
somebody else's entertainment.Fortunately, there is that little switch
that says OFF/ON. It does not require the skill of an astronaut to use,
but it does require a firm finger.
I use TV mostly for entertainment, so my taste in summer watching does
not stretch the mind unnecessarily.
There are three Women's National Basketball Association games telecast
each week, and I prefer not to receive any phone calls during those
games. My favorite team is the Phoenix Mercury, and they are doing very
well this year, thank you. Their coach, Cheryl Miller, is a fine coach,
and also a showwoman. She always wears a tailored suit with a silk
shirt and matching tie. If the game gets exciting she sheds the jacket,
and if it is really close the tie comes off. That's as exciting as it
has gotten so far. After the Mercs beat Houston last week she ran
across the floor and boogied with her embarrassed basketball star
brother, Reggie, who was at the announcers' table. You don't see that
in a Bulls game.
There is "Allie McBeal." Now my feminist friends think I have taken
leave of my senses to like that show, but I do. It is a well-written
very clever satire of a lot of things that deserve to be laughed at.
Allie has one major goal in life and that is to find a husband. But in
the meantime, she is a good lawyer in a good firm, she wins most of her
cases and she is kind, compassionate and funny. She is also good to
look at. And she is followed by this dancing baby who is worth the
price of admission.
For somewhat more serious fare I can always choose between the court
room and the emergency room. Sometimes there is not all that much
difference. The clothes are a lot more glamorous in "The Practice,"
but Julianna Margulies and George Cloony look pretty good in scrubs.
When everything else is too ponderous I can always fall back on "Silk
Stalkings," with beautiful people, exotic Florida scenery, and no brains
In the daytime we have "CNN&Co" with three or four intelligent women
discussing a problem of the day. On most days there will be a liberal
and a conservative, usually lawyers or prominent political figures,
with a journalist sitting in the middle, or some similar arrangement.
These are professional women who know their subjects and it is an
excellent half hour. If you happen to have Phyllis Schlafley and Gloria
Steinem on at the same time, it does get exciting.
In the afternoon there is Rosie O'Donnell, herself a great entertainer,
who has interesting guests and treats them like human beings.
ome on, gang. Lighten up. There's lots of good entertainment on TV.