Monday, March 18, 2013

The Guilty Pleasure is All Mine

The ol’ guilty pleasure ain’t what it used to be.

With the never-ending deluge of mind-numbing, senses-dulling crap in today’s world, it’s getting more difficult by the second to find any visceral sensation worthy in any of it. The term “guilty pleasure” has become just another lame excuse for bad behavior, part of the norm instead of the exception. Still, even if one has a developed palate, even the pursuit of an occasional indulgence can be the equivalent of a pig rooting through a mountain of guano in search of even a trace scent of truffle.
I ain’t no better. I’m down there wallowing around with everyone else down at the public cesspool. I just don’t spend every waking moment there. Occasionally, I like to come up for air. Then again, I’ve had a life-long love of professional wrestling that my closest friends and relatives have found baffling. Some day, I will explain this guiltiest pleasure o’mine, but not today.

Here are three others:

RESTAURANT STAKEOUT- The Food Network is one giant basic cable tapeworm. They’ve given up since they’ve become a brand name. Beyond standard cooking shows, its programming can only be considered recycled, repurposed and rehashed. They’ll take one concept, often pilfered from another network, and work it to death until it’s barely consumable at all. This show is yet another in a series of hidden camera offerings observing the behind the scenes of troubled eateries. While the Big Brother aspect is unnerving, RESTAURANT STAKEOUT gives some satisfaction in its attempts to fix the broken cog known as customer service in today’s world. But its wild card and the real reason I watch is the show’s host and resident pit bull, Willie Degel, the fixer himself. Willie is a Frigidaire in a shark-skin suit, the only man I know who can rock a pink tie wrapped around his 20 inch neck. He looks, acts and talks like he stepped off from a revival of THE SOPRANOS. A little “youse” and “getouddaheahs” fly outta that mouth on a regular basis. My favorite was his complaint about a restaurant hostess “standin’ up theah with a puss on her face”. Willie’s my man. Maybe he should fix The Food Network. First up? Show Ann Burrell to the curb.

6 NATIONS RUGBY- BBC America’s another baffling network. With the vast library of British programming at their disposal, they choose to offer at least 48 hours of TOP GEAR, another 24 devoted to Gordon Ramsay, way too much DOCTOR WHO (and this is from a devoted fan) and odd choices like STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION and endless showings of THE SHINING. It’s both bewildering and maddening. But in the last few Saturday afternoons, it has aired live rugby matches in this limited league of six western European nations (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Italy and France). I am in no way a sports aficionado in any way, shape or form. (Professional wrestling doesn’t count as you well know. It’s a different animal altogether.) In the past few years, I have a passing interest in soccer thanks to my grandson, Sebastian. I’ve even attended a few Portland Timbers games and had an absolute blast. (See blog post:
SOCCER? I BARELY KNEW HER) But I’ve always been curious about rugby and one afternoon, I actually watched a few minutes just to see if I could figure the damn thing out. And I was hooked. My wife Laurie, another member of the Anti-Sports Nation, joined me after a few minutes and even she was hooked. I think it’s because rugby is absolutely bat-shit crazy. It's brutal. It’s feral. It’s relentless.  It’s down and dirty, yet has a bizarre sense of dignity to it that I haven’t seen in any sport. This isn’t the kind of game that will have either senior or  pee-wee leagues. However, there are female rugby matches...

 DAVE’S OLD PORN-Showtime has it all over HBO in the sense of fun. This ultra-low budget show stars the great sad sack stand-up Dave Attell from the old INSOMNIAC series on Comedy Central. DAVE’S OLD PORN shows clips of old hard-core films (naughty bits blocked and pixilated) from the 70s and 80s while Attel sits on a couch with fellow comics like Marc Maron, Kathy Griffin and Adam Carolla as well as sex stars from the era (Ron Jeremy, Seka, Ginger Lynn). It’s basically MYSTERY SCINCE THEATER with porn and it’s goddamn hilarious. Sure, it’s crass as hell. It’s meant to be. But it’s funny. Crass without funny is merely crass. That’s a lesson that other shows could learn. Isn’t that right, Lena Dunham, media darling of HBO’s GIRLS?

So there. I have plenty to be guilty over, but if I only watched these for sheer pleasure, it would be an empty experience. Not really. But I had to tie this up somehow. Now I really feel guilty.
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