Friday, June 25, 2010

Daytime Dispatches - 2010

Today's live-blog (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., PDT) was dedicated to enduring a Friday's worth of daytime television: droning infomercials, shouting confessionals, courtroom procedurals, and, of course, Oprah. As I get a chance, I'll review this draft for typos. Also, feel free to check out Year Two and Year One.

8:00 (AMC): I'm all a-twitter, getting ready to start another edition of Daytime Dispatches. I've got my junk food ready. My easy chair's stretched out. And my clicker's on stand-by. My fingers quiver over the button. How to begin the next nine hours of brain-melting entertainment? Hmm... I think I'll start with an infomercial...

8:01: Kevin Trudeau, wearing a shiny gray suit, is in The Hot Seat, sitting among a gaggle of busty babes, exposing how American citizens can get money from programs "they" don't want you to know about! Apparently The Hot Seat is a faux-conversation show (a la The View). The only difference is, no one is interrupting the guest.

8:04: Uh, oh. I spoke too soon. One of the hotties stopped bobbing her head with amazement long enough to exclaim, "This seems too good to be true!" Yeah! Don't let that slimy slickster talk you out of your life's savings!

8:05: A bit of background on the show. The participants are financial experts: a former participant from Donald Trump's Apprentice, a "briefcase beauty" from Deal or No Deal, and "back by popular demand," the 2007 Playboy Playmate of the Year. Because, well, why not? The whole show is hosted by Barbara Niven, whoever she is.

8:09: Apparently the way to get ahead these days is to search websites for "Free Money." There's unclaimed money and property waiting in accounts. "You just have to know the website to go to."

8:11: Pink Hottie keeps putting Kevin on The Hot Seat. "I've got to see it to believe it..."

8:12: Every once in a while, the price (only $19.95!) pops off the screen to the strum of harps. Harps!

8:13: Kevin just channeled Glenn Beck, "I wonder how they found out about it. Friends, relatives, neighbors?" He practically cackles with sarcasm, rubbing his fingers together with conspiracy. "They" don't want us to know this! But Kevin does.

8:16: Playboy Bunny is actually a pitchfork-waving populist storming off the great plains with rage and anger: "It's not fair, the rich getting richer!" This show has taken a surprisingly political turn.

8:20: Kevin's now hawking another book Debt Cures II: What they REALLY don't want you to know about. Awesome! Sounds like a movie sequel. Remember the cheesy eighties flick, Hellraiser? My favorite sequel slogan of all time: "They'll tear your soul apart. AGAIN!"

8:22: Barbara's now serious. Can the average person take advantage of this system?

8:24: Kevin drops the bomb. "The government hates me." The insiders in government don't want Kevin to tell us about this. Dude. This guy could get whacked on television. A hired assassin has already been dispatched. Kevin reminds us: "The government is not your friend." Did that plant just move? 'Cos if it did...

8:25: Kevin's getting sued by the government for $37 million because he's writing these books. "You're not a consumer! You are an American citizen! And the government is treating you like crap." Buy these books and take your government back!

8:27: Now I'm getting a little freaked out. The government doesn't want that free money to get released, and the feds are clearly after Kevin. But since I've been blogging about this, does that mean that they're after me? Better beat a quick retreat.

8:28: Barbara reads my mind. This show is too dangerous, too much of a threat to the Powers That Be. It's time to wrap this one up. She concludes the show with a mini-arm pump: "Power to the People!"

8:30: (CSNCA): It's time for Insanity!

8:32: This is an interesting approach. Rather than the typical exercise gear pitch ("Burn 1000 Calories While Sitting On Your Couch!") this one promises to transform your body in 60 days - if you're willing to go insane! Apparently that means working out in a puddle of your own tears.

8:35: You don't "do" insanity, you "survive" it!

8:36: I love how the insanity logo is spray painted onto the television. It makes sense, though, given the venue: These folks are pushing past the zone in an abandoned warehouse where each floor is covered in puddles. Working out in an urban death-zone, insanity is training for the Zombie Apocalypse!

8:40: "Are you willing to keep going when your body is begging you to stop? ... Then you're ready for insanity." At least they've got standards. That don't want pathetic piles of money from fat-bodies who'll be first to go when the Zombies strike: "Insanity is probably not for you!"

8:42: Even the DVDs look like they're drenched in sweat. I'm not sure I want to put 'em in my machine. Will they short out the equipment? Hey, buck up! You've got to be insane if you're going to survive this workout! INSANE!

8:44: Oooops. "Insanity" downshifted into goofy commercial-land: "We don't want to rip you off. We want to get you ripped!"

8:48: It's an arena. It's a crucible. It's cross-training. It's intervals. It's insane! But ultimately it's a psychological transformation. You're not just peeling off pounds; you're stripping away the fat and waste of suburban life, getting ready for the insanity of the zombie hoards. They're over the horizon, crunching over the manicured lawns. The death of the modern world is just down the road. Are you nuts enough for insanity!

8:53: Whew! This commercial has been a workout. All those fast cuts! All those guitar licks! All those slogans! And now it's slowing down. The happy workout-people have dug deep, and now they're thanking Shawn for leading the way, for helping them push through the burn. They're cut, but they're also proud. And now they're looking through the screen into my eyes. This is a quiet moment, one that calls for intense and honest personal reflection. And, I admit it, I'm not ready for insanity yet. Let the zombies come.

8:57: Time to switch gears and try something new. What to watch next?

9:00 (KIOND): It's Live with Regis and Kelly!

9:01: For some ungodly reason, Kelly's never around when I watch this show (literally once a year). This year, it's Bernadette Peters ("the first lady of the American theater!"). I didn't know she was still alive. I'm glad she is, of course, but I had no idea that she's even around.

9:03: Regis now turns on Bernadette. "So what do you do at night?" And she squeaks in shock. Things are going to get funky on Regis. She squeaks again and tells a Borscht Belt joke, which inspires Reg to wax eloquent about the old Ed Sullivan days. No cut-aways to the audience. And for good reason.

9:06: Bernadette thinks she's ready to go toe-to-toe with the Reg. She was on Sullivan. So he drops an Arthur Godfrey reference, and Bernadette squeaks like Betty Boop.

9:09: At last, an audience cut-away. It lasts for all of one second and I think I can spot the average age: about 50.

9:10: Bernadette bobbles through her announcement of a forthcoming singer on the show, "Ori - Ori - Orianthi." She's never heard of the singer, but either have I.

9:14: They've just called some woman in Massachusetts, a retiree who has a dog named Stella. Regis notes that Bernadette has just written a book whose main character is named Stella. Bernadette helpfully squeaks, "It's a children's book. It could be about your dog!" And then after an awkward pause, "Is she there?"

9:16: Someone needs to tell the cue-card person to step a bit closer. Bernadette is having some reading difficulties. Though on the upside, she's leaning over the desk a lot, and she wore a top that's tight enough to impress Regis.

9:18: Time for another dumb-guy commercial. Blobby dad can't find a wireless cord. Fit-and-trim Mom informs him that they've switched to AT&T, and now they've got high-speed wireless access. Blob-dad is confused: "Wireless," he sputters. "Can I just get a cord, please?" Smart daughter condescends to explain, "Dad, The cord's invisible." Yeah, Blobby. Invisible. Like you should be!

9:21: It's time for Cameron Diaz to pitch the new movie, Knight and Day! And unlike all the images that pop up via a Google search to check the spelling of her name, Cameron's wearing clothes!

9:24: Regis and Cameron are talking about parties they've planned. It's hard to get 12 people to meet in the Bahamas at the same time. Oh, isn't that the truth!

9:25: Which reminds Regis of that new movie! Ooops, the audience has just started applauding. Must be time for a commercial.

9:27: A mosquito commercial. A bunch of the blood-sucking beasties mount an attack on red t-shirted man. He's panicking, but he can't move. He stands still, awaiting a grisly fate. Green t-shirted woman strides onto the scene and calmly clips a mosquito-repelling fan to the man's shorts. She saves the day. Dumb, clueless men worldwide breath a sigh of relief.

9:32: Back to Live, and Bernadette is struggling to keep her legs in that tight dress, thinking to herself, in a voice that now sounds like Barbara Walters, "I'm getting too old for this crap." Still, I'm starting to see the wisdom of 3D.

9:34: Regis announces the singer/guitarist named "Orianthi," and nails the pronunciation. Bernadette stands by, meekly adding a "yeah." I've got imagine that Reg loves these breaks from Kelly.

9:39: Jamie Lee Curtis has given video cameras to people taking The Activia Challenge. This stuff supposedly helps people poop regularly. Yeah. Footage Or It Didn't Happen!

9:41: Office Space clone-boss asks Gary to come into work over the weekend. Office Space clone-worker drone scratches off a lotto ticket. One scratch. Two scratches. Three scratches. Office Space clone-worker blows off the etchings and smiles: "I'm going to be busy this weekend. Buying stuff."

9:43: It's time for the Firehouse Cook-Off! A fire-fighter is making hamburgers and Bernadette is working hard to get some camera time, uttering random comments whenever Regis takes a breath. The fire-fighter puts the burger into a baggie to which an amazed Bernadette asks, "What kind of bag is this?" Regis shoots her an annoyed look. I do too. I can't believe that in this menagerie, I relate to Regis. Bernadette bursts forth: "Ohh, these are hamburger rolls!"

9:47: Regis and Bernadette finally stuff the burgers into their mouths, and the audience applauds. When Regis tries to swallow, Bernadette tries once more to score some camera time: "You speak very well with food in your mouth!"

9:50: Dumb AT&T Dad is back: "I want my own invisible cord!" Long-suffering daughter scoffs, "You already have one, Dad!"

9:54: A Fiber One commercial: Vaguely creepy guy assures us, "Cardboard no. Delicious yes."

9:55: The Monterrey County Health Department follow ups with a spot about the value of hand washing that looks like it was produced by interns at the community access station. No, not the college-bound seniors aiming for a gig at a regional affiliate. The other interns. The stoned ones. "Listen up California. We wanna warn ya!"

9:57: Regis now thanks Bernadette for "always being available." She kissing him square on the lips, reminding herself to pick up some mouthwash on the way home. "Always available..." Those words burn in her throat. "I'll show you next time! We'll see how available I am! I'll tell you to stick it up your - " "Ah hell," she admits, "Who am I kidding?"

10:00 (KSBWD): It's time for Ellen DeGeneres! The audience is dancing, screaming, cheering. Ellen's tired, clearly wishing she were somewhere else.

10:02: They're still cheering, still applauding. Ellen's waiting for them to stop. The sooner they knock it off, the sooner she can get this show over with.

10:05: Ellen's now dancing, God knows why. For some reason the audience is absolutely going bonkers watching Ellen lip-sync to Dee Lite's "Groove is in the heart."

10:08: Ellen's now showing a picture of a wild warthog that her wife Portia saw. Not on their farm but near their house in Beverly Hills. Nice to have that cleared up.

10:10: It's time for a new game, "Poodle or a Home Perm!" A game where audience members try to guess the difference. Ellen is counting down 'til the weekend: "How many more? One more?"

10:15: Brunette bites into a York Peppermint Patty, bites her lip as the goosebumps appear. She takes a chew and practically orgasms on TV. Immediately thereafter, "Pristiq" promises to help fix your depression. During the side effects montage, newly Depression-free woman looks at antiques.

10:17: Forgettable but vaguely cute American Idol guy (yep, this is a repeat) is now on Ellen's stage, and he's pledging to enjoy each and every of the fifteen minutes he's got left of recognizability.

10:20: Bland but generally likeable American Idol guy is singing "Hallelujah." Oh, God. That song. "It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth..." How many Very Special TV Episodes have ended with that damned song?

10:23: Boring but harmless American Idol guy earns a standing ovation, and he wonders what life will be like when he's working at Dairy Queen.

10:26: Now it's time for Jennifer Lopez! Remember when she was the Next Big Thing? Remember that movie Out of Sight? Now she's waving her hands at the audience like she's trying to swat off a swarm of flies.

10:28: Ellen enthuses, "You always look beautiful, but now you look extra beautiful." J-Lo responds reasonably enough: "I do, thank you!"

10:31: J-Lo is now struggling to explain the guilt she feels about not being able to be with her new twins. Ellen's struggling to relate: "I would think you couldn't wait to leave!" Then it all clicks, and Ellen gets philosophical: "I feel guilty when I leave for the weekend and I leave my cats."

10:35: And now J-Lo's threatening to go on Glee. Something bad will happen to the Space-Time Continuum on that night. I know it.

10:36: Ellen is filling time, asking random questions of a guest with whom she has absolutely nothing in common: "A lot of people sleep with TVs on. How is that comforting to you to hear noises?" Now it's time for J-Lo to get philosophical: "It just is."

10:41: I'm watching the wrong episode. On Monday, the announcer tells us,"Someone will get to touch Robert Pattinson!" Yep, the footage features audience members groping someone named Robert Pattinson. One woman is fixating on his boobs for some reason.

10:41: Chloe Moretz is on stage, pitching Kick Ass. I've got to admit, I kinda hated that movie.

10:45: Chloe's explaining her crush on some man-boy named Justin Bieber: "I'm thirteen!" They're dating through tweets. And when he's next on Ellen, Chloe's got her opening line ready, "I'm like, hola!"

10:48: Local-spot fun: "Date Night at Aquablue" That's right. For $140, you can drag your husband to a spa. There's even a glass of champaign, which will partially help him deaden the shame of being seen in a spa. Partially.

10:50: Norah Jones is now performing. I really like her. No snark here. The record company lowlifes got their piece, and the awards showered for months, but she didn't disappear. Somehow she pulled herself from that bear trap to continue making interesting music.

10:55: Ellen's wrapping up, and I'm dreading the next hour. But somehow I've got to man up and face reality: I've got 60 minutes of Rachael Ray ahead of me. We all have our crosses to bear.

10:59: Had to take a potty break. Artemis, my lap cat, is not pleased. But she's not so pissed to stay away. "You're back," she scowls. "I knew you'd come back."

11:00 (KSBWD): It's time for Rachael Ray! That creepy Joker-smile messes with my head.

11:03: This episode's focus: the joys of being a Stay At Home Mom: "No man should have to come home to a woman who's grumpy and crabby." Thrilled SAH Mom is delighted to have sex whenever her husband wants. Husband seems pretty happy with the situation too.

11:05: SAH Mom went to college, she beams, "But once I married him, he became my career." An older woman in the audience is trying to stifle a scream. She scrunches her nose. She's got to say something. Somewhere in the RR director's booth a producer is whispering into a mic, moving security personnel into place. This is an audience member who is likely to disappear.

11:08: To her credit, Rachael seems to agree with the audience member: What do you mean, you've got no grumpy feelings? Maybe Angry Audience Member has got an ally.

11:13: Another Traditional Family comes onto the stage; this couple explains the 45 minute Rule: Traditional Husband doesn't have to hear any hassles from Traditional Wife for the first 45 minutes after he gets home from his Traditional Job that Pays Enough for a Family.

11:15: Traditional Counselor Explains, "If all all you do is hold hands and cuddle week after week and month after month, you're going to have a frustrated man. Occasionally you have to get under the sheets." Rachel wags a finger. Women like sex too, she explains, licking her lower lip salaciously.

11:17: Rachael's philosophy is summed up today, once more in a single pithy phrase: "It's not gonna get any worse!" Remember last year? Same thing: "cheap and cheerful!"

11:18: Traditional Marriage Counselor offers a tip to woman who want to keep their man happy: "Talk less." Rachel is nodding aggressively, looking for kitchen tools. Time to go, dude.

11:23: Rachel is taking Q&A with the audience. Someone asks, "Who haven't you met that you want to meet?" Rachel thumbs through her mental rolodex. Tom Jones? Met him. Bill Clinton? Met him. Then she downshifts: I'm just glad to talk with you!"

11:25: Another audience member asks Rachel to call a friend. So she makes the call and puts a mic up to the phone. "Patty say Hi." "Hi," Patty says. Rachel then spends a minute explaining to Patty why a good white sauce needs one key ingredient: fat.

11:28: And now for some ungodly reason, Reba McEntire is on stage. Rachel explains, "You're amazing, and you look fantastic!" Oh, Reba's got a new clothing line! "Accessible and affordable," Rachel summarizes.

11:31: This convergence of Just-Folks/Creepy-Joker-Smile icons is too overwhelming. Now both Rachel and Reba are referring to themselves in the Royal We.

11:36: McDonald's frappé commercial gets to the heart of working class drudgery. A cubical jockey pulls the headset away while someone is screaming over the phone. He smiles at his fast food sugar slushie: "My 'me time' is when I'm apologizing for something I had nothing to do with."

11:39: Reba's now trying to pick out her various hairstyles through the decades in a contest where there are no stakes. Either way, audience members get a free copy of her newest album. But Rachael tuts to any would-be freeloaders: "Pay it forward. You get one for free, you buy one for a friend!" But wait! I didn't want this one. Now I have to buy another?

11:41: Reba doesn't know her haircuts. The audience doesn't care. They'll clap for anything.

11:43: What's for dinner tonight? "It's really cute, and it's super healthy for you." Mini-turkey meatloaves with smashed sweet potatoes!

11:44: Have you ever looked at Rachel's kitchen-set? It looks like something out of a three-story downtown walkup, something out of Good Times. There are little magnets on the fridge that's been chugging along since the Ford administration. And outside the window: brick high rises. I'm just waiting to spot a clothes line between the buildings.

11:47: New Coffee House Inspirations brings a hot knows-his-place barista into your house! "One caramel macchiato," the guy wearing an apron announces. "Ah, thank you, hon!" Maybe he's her husband. But the final moment features her alone. "Me time," indeed.

11:51: How would you like to be the floor sweeper on the Rachel Ray show, with all the salt she tosses over her shoulder?

11:52: "I like 'em a little on the chunky side." Yet another says-it-all RR Quote!

11:55: I'm getting a bit stressed. I can't find any sign of Jerry Springer! What will I watch at noon?

11:58: Flipping through options. Noon looks pretty dry. Another infomercial perhaps?

12:00: It's time for Montel ("Wasn't I famous once?") Williams to advertise something called the HealthMaster. We're going to meet his "Medical Dream Team," a "family desperate to get healthy, and a "weight loss miracle."

12:02: Wait. That's a juicer, right? It's just a juicer! Motel Williams is going to hawk a juicer for the next 30 minutes?

12:03: At least we're not just watching some silly infomercial. It's an actual TV show called Living Well With Montel! There's a real audience and everything! But I've got to ask, is every episode about selling that damned juicer?

12:05: "World renowned psychic" Sylvia Browne, who was much more attractive when she was a man, is talking about juicing with "Product Guru Forbes Riley."

12:10: I want the meet the parents who look at their newborn baby and look at themselves and say, "Let's name our daughter Forbes."

12:12: A quick wikipedia search reveals that "Forbes Riley" had her debut on a Bob Hope Miss Teenage America pageant sometime in the early seventies. You can imagine that day, when "Forbes" looked into those klieg lights and said, "I'm going to make it. I'm going to be a star!" Today, looking something like Mary Tyler Moore before things went really, really bad, "Forbes" makes her living in informercial hell, working with Jack LaLanne (hawking another juicer) and selling products like Aerobed, Microgrill, and MaxiGlide.

12:16: Watching a graphic of about the HealthMaster's Centrifugal Friction, which turns vegetables into glorpy messes, I just learned a Little Known Fun Fact: Did you know that Jack LaLanne is still alive? Ah, the power of Wikipedia. Incidentally, did you know that one acronym for GLORP is Generic Lightweight Object-Relational Persistence?

12:19: Montel has now introduced his Medical Dream Team. Here's "Dr. Mike!" I know he's a real doctor because he's got a real shiny stethoscope! And there's Dr. Timothy Brantley: Naturopath. What the hell is a Naturopath?

12:22: Dr. Timothy Brantley reminds us that Otto Warburg won a Nobel Prize in 1931 for research that led to the creation of HealthMaster. An audience member nods knowingly. She's thinking to herself, "I was wondering when Brantley was gonna mention Warburg. You can't talk about the cancer-fighting powers of oxygen without citing Dr. Warburg!"

12:28: Another commercial-within-a-commercial as the announcer explains how you can pulverize meat into a gooey mess. Just set it and forget it! I look up to see the effect and - Gross! are those eyeballs?

12:31: Unhealthy family is on stage; they're sad that they can't lose weight.

12:32: "Dr. Mike" leans into the camera, somehow looking like Stephen Colbert, warning us about an epidemic in overweight people: "If we don't do something now we're gonna have a crash, like the stock market, in our health!"

12:35: Now they've dragged a "hating-my-life" fat kid onto stage. He hates spinach! He hates beets! He's not too fond of Montel either! But he loves the stuff that oozes out of the HealthMaster. He downs the glass and doesn't even want to wipe the remains from his mouth. Something tells me this kid had better be home-schooled from now on.

12:40: A happy couple is now on stage. They're the HealthMaster "After Version." They lost pound after pound, thanks to this amazing device. Thinking back to the Insane Weight Loss Program I saw earlier today, I'm wondering: Heck, who said that getting ripped abs has to be tough? I just need to use Centrifugal Friction!

12:42: Did you know? The HealthMaster isn't a juicer at all! It's an emulsifier. An emulsifier! Technically it's a "Digital Emulsification System" a "unique and proprietary process" that seems geared to sheer off the fingers of the very sad.

12:45: Sylvia the Psychic is back! I was wondering where she went. An audience member asks whether her grandmother is going to beat cancer: "Is things going to get better for me and my family?" Sylvia promises that August will mark an improvement, and Montel reminds us that the HealthMaster is a great cancer-fighting tool.

12:48: "Forbes" is back too, offering Sylvia a champaign glass of Green Goo. And now the audience gets some too! I feel for that angry looking guy near the back wall. You know he was dragged in by a pal who promised, "Really! It'll be great. Informercials are fun. All you have to do is clap, and you get free stuff!" Great. Free Sludge.

12:52: This seems like a great deal: only five payments of $49.99 (plus S&H, which only seems fair). No wait, Montel made a special deal with the distributor. It's only four payments! Four!

12:57: Only three minutes to go, until... Maury! Turn the channel to check and - rats! I've been missing a Star Trek: The Next Generation rerun!

1:00 (KCBAD): "DNA Drama!" The Results Are In!

1:05: Daymerus and Deedee have a quandary. She says he's the father of her child (Daymera). He retorts, [Mumble, Mumble "It's messed up she telling me I'm her Baby Daddy." Meanwhile, Dayemrus has been sleeping with Jasmine, who has concluded that, perhaps, Deedee's possesses less than admirable character ("That bitch don't know what she talking about!").

1:07: Daymerus announces that he plans to extricate himself from both relationships, fraught as they are with excessive drama.

1:08: He is the father!

1:12: More baby-drama: "Three angry women, four babies, and one man!" Maury explains, "They're aren't three babies, we're talking about four babies." Deborah adds one important detail: "Five, five, I'm pregnant!"

1:14: One of the women decides to engage the other in sporting debate: "Let me tell you something, Bitch! [Censor Beep. Censor Beep. Censor Beep. Censor Beep. Censor Beep.]"

1:17: Maury expresses his frustration that he can't empathize with any of these women. He does this show to expose a complex social conundrum about mothers, fathers, and responsibility, a sociological investigation worthy of a doctoral dissertation. But somehow the shenanigans of this quartet manages to offend Maury's delicate moral sensibilities.

1:19: Aaron says that he hopes Maury can save him from all the drama. "Aaron," Maury sighs without a trace of empathy, "I can't save you, but I can present you!"

1:21: The results are in! After the commercial!

1:25: Another Troubled Trio? But what about Aaron and the Angry Moms! [Wouldn't that be a swell kid's book?]

1:26: A new family crisis: Even Jeremy's Mom thinks that this scraggly haired Lynyrd Skynyrd reject is the daddy of Suzy's baby. "Whateva!" he explains. "Whateva, whateva," he adds.

1:29: On the stage at last, Jeremy is stating his case, "She was cheatin' on me with this dude. I was like 'What the hell!' Know what I'm sayin' Know what I'm sayin'?" Good point!

1:30: "You are the father!"

1:33: Wow, a 1-800-Bar-None commercial. "Everyone deserves a second chance!"

1:34: Another couple: Benjamin Senior says that Benjamin Junior is not his kid. Angela disagrees: "Don't shake your head. You know I'm not lying. You know I'm not lying. You know I'm not lying!" Benjamin Senior goes on shaking his head, adding, "She lying."

1:37: Reunited on the stage, Mom and Maybe-Baby Dad trade witty repartee, like something out of a Mamet play: "[Crying, shrieking, Censor Beeping]..." Once the beeping is done, Mom explains the fundamentals of genetics: "We was lying together when that baby was conceived!" Maybe-Baby Dad considers the evidence, weighing the various proofs brought to bear: "Not mine. Not mine. Not mine!"

1:38: "Benjamin, you are the father!"

1:39: Maury: "I want you to take care of this baby." "No," Benjamin responds thoughtfully.

1:45: Another couple: Michelle had a one-night stand with a co-worker and she's shocked, shocked that Maybe-Baby Dad would charge for babysitting.

1:48: Mom and Maybe-Baby Daddy debate due dates.

1:49: "You are not the father!" Non-daddy Backflips ensue.

1:53: Scenes from today's economy: commercials for career college, sell-your-gold companies, and debt-settlement plans!

1:54: And now the news: "Aaron. You are the father! Aaron. You are the father! Aaron. You are the father! Aaron. You are the father!"

1:57: What to watch next?

2:00 (KIOND): Let's Make a Deal!

2:01: Oh, sad, so sad. Wayne Brady is stuck hosting a game show remake.

2:02: Wayne explains that the "traders" can choose a Gold Envelope or a Blue Box. The audience applauds, and Wayne opens the door to his personal hell: "Yes, I clap for colors too," he says.

2:04: Have you ever seen this show? The idea is that folks dress up in goofy costumes and made decisions between various options. Sometimes they get cool stuff (the faux-fat girl pretending to be a Vegas Buffet Tourist gets a camera). Sometimes, the results are less than pretty (a crashed airplane called a "Zonk").

2:10: Scenes from today's American Health: "Think the Lap-Band Procedure is too expensive?" Guess what, it isn't! [Just watch out for slightly death-inducing results from lap-band slippage] Then we see a spot for bigger refrigerators. Finally two hip teens take a break from playing basketball: "You know what our favorite part of shooting hoops is?" Yes. It's eating salty, fatty pizza rolls! Enjoy your lap-band procedure, boys.

2:13: Wayne looks into the abyss. He notes that one trader's fake snowboard looks pretty cheap, "like something I had as a kid." Then he adds, "And who knows? If there's not another season, I could be right back on this."

2:16: Andrea faces the risk of sexy red dress-wearing Tiffany pulling a Zonk from three decks of oversized cards. Tiffany turns the card and frowns before turning... a money card!. She's gotta make $1500 in order to get a car.

2:19: $500 left. Tiffany purses her lips into existential misery. Zonk!

2:20: "Moms trust Band-Aid (brand) to heal the hurt!" Better than booze, I guess.

2:21: Wayne surveys his world. "Listen to this sea of enthusiasm, people that want that money!" He selects a human bowling pin for his next contestant.

2:22: Bowling Pin-Man must choose between an envelope and something that waits behind closed curtains. Bowling Pin-Man stares at Tiffany and turns down the envelope. His logic is unimpeachable: "I like the curtains!" Yeah, but do they match the - OK, this is a family blog, so I'll stop there.

2:25: Walmart presents another scene from today's economy: "Nowaday, all kids of people are changing their own oil."

2:26: Oh, God - they keep running that "Washing Hands Saves Lives" commercial. I swear, if they run that awful jingle again, I'm going to dunk my hands in the cat box and lick every finger clean.

2:28: Ohh, snap! Wayne picked Deborah, but Mercedes came down! Awkward! "Back to the lot, Mercedes!" OK, I just got that.

2:29: Wayne pulls out two bankrolls: rolled-up wads of cash. He explains that just because a bankroll has a fifty on the outside, there's no guarantee that the insides are that rich. Hmmm. The folks on Maury would have benefited from that advice.

2:32: Jasmine can't decide. Should she keep her washer and dryer or trade 'em for what's behind the curtain?

2:33: "It's a new spa!"

2:34: Another anti-depressant ad, this time for something called Abilify. I'm imagining the person who came up with that name. "Lessee... Happimake, Improvipad, Smilicide - no, that won't work. How about..."

2:36: I knew I couldn't avoid these commercials for long: "Relief from feminine itch has always been messy, sticky, and thick." Thanks for the info.

2:38: Mercedes gets her quick deal! She's got to guess another trader's date of birth within three years. No one said math would be involved! She guesses 1967 and...

2:39: She wins!

2:40: A couple celebrating their 20th anniversary is trying to win a vacation in either Hawaii or Argentina. All they have to do is pick the right cards! Their first card is Hawaii.

2:42: Now the stress rises. They can abandon their vacation dream and settle for new bedroom furniture - guaranteed - as long as they don't pick that second card. Patricia is looking at the sure thing. Kurt seems to agree. Screw Hawaii!

2:44: Turns out 20 Anniversary Couple made the right call. The card they would have chosen would have gotten them nothing. So they go home to a new bed, which makes me wonder: what's the percentage of winners on this show? How many people trade their way to victory, and how many people roast in their own shame-juices after making the Wrong Call? When I watched this show in the 70s, there was much more tolerance for shame.

2:49: It's time for the Big Deal of the Day! Jasmine gets the first chance... and she Goes for the Big Deal!

2:52: Quick-cut commercial for the new Hawaii 5-0 remake. Electric guitars make everything seem contemporary.

2:53: Now Jasmine gets to hear all the things she could have gotten. You could have gone to Jamaica! You could have won a new TV. Fortunately she did win the Big Deal!

2:58: So, what's next?

3:00 (KIOND): Judge Joe Brown! Oh, noes! I missed the soap operas today, and there are no more available. Oh, well. I'm stuck with Jowly Joe Brown.

3:02: OK, we have an uncle or niece. LaTasha lent Uncle Spud money. Apparently he's not paid it back. And - wait a second. Uncle Spud? Spud? Anyway, he just got out of jail and is having difficulty getting his life in order. Judge Brown asks Spud, "How old are you, 50 years old?" Hell no!, Spud replies: "I'm 49!"

3:06: Dude, Uncle Spud is mocking Judge Brown! And the Judge threatens to send Spud back to jail! Spud had better clean up his act during the commercial break.

3:09: Joe is now going over Spud's criminal record and pronounces his judgement: "You pitiful little scumbag!"

3:10: Yep, Spud is out a lot of money.

3:12: The next case: Christina bought a car from Juanisha! And, it had a hole in the gas tank. [Shaking my fist to the heavens]: Damn you, Craig's List!

3:14: Oh, you lost me, Christina. She explains that the car, with its leaky gas tank, was a death trap: "I have two kids. If was driving down the street and flicked a cigarette out the window my kids could have been in danger." You're one of those idiots who toss their cigs out on the street? Fail! No finding for you. Come on Joe, do the right thing!

3:20: More details. Juanisha explains it all, figuring that an avalanche of detail will shut everyone up: "And I do have a copy of the smog certificate."

3:22: Ooops. Juanisha turns out to have played Christina, buying the lemon for $50 and selling it for $500. Slimy, yes. But she seems to have all the paperwork in order, and she sold this piece of junk "as is." Quite Machiavellian! I think that Joe will find against Christina. Don't hate the player, kiddo, hate the game.

3:25: "Buyer Beware," Joe purrs... Epic Fail!

3:29: Maybe one more infomercial...?

3:30: Lifestyle Lift!

3:31: "Former News Reporter" Jackie Bales is pitching something that socks it to jowls and third-chins. Sure enough, Lifestyle Lift has been mentioned on Real TV stations, including CBS and Fox news affiliates! So it must be credible.

3:34: Now we're going to watch real life stories of people who have changed their lives, thanks to Lifestyle Lift.

3:35: Former Saggy-Neck Oldster tells one story about how she couldn't get money out of the bank until she explained where all the turkey fat went. "I had a Lifestyle Lift!"

3:36: What I'm waiting to figure out stuff out: Just what is a Lifestyle Lift? It's a "procedure," yes. But what kind of procedure? Is it surgery? Is it a supplement? Is it magic? Either way, easy financing is available.

3:40: Another Wikipedia search reveals that Jackie Bales was an anchor for WTSP, my hometown Channel 10, back in the 80s. And now she's pitching a "medical procedure." Did she run over the station owner's boss with the Channel 10 News Van?

3:43: "Bonnie" is divorcing her husband at age 63, and she's hoping that Lifestyle Lift will add excitement to her life. Maybe she can hook up with "Glenn" - once a tired old man. Now that he's vibrant and has a lot going for him, he might be ready for "Bonnie." Are you ready, "Glenn"?

3:47: A bit more detail: It's done under a local numbing agent - "like at the dentist!" Yeah, I'm sold.

3:48: Here's the problem: Another Lifestyle Life customer, "Esther," looks like a human being in the "before" footage. "After," umm, she looks sort of like a ferret. Oh well, at least she enjoyed the benefits of easy financing.

3:52: Further explaining the "procedure," Jackie says the word "safe" about three times in 15 seconds. Fortunately we also see a building - a big building! - in the background. There's no way something unsafe could happen in a big building like that!

3:54: Before-person "Linda Sue" talks about her time in the seventies when she was a runway model and magazine cover girl, back the, she was known as "the girl with the million dollar face." Wikipedia search for "Linda sue" + "Girl with the million dollar face": 0 hits.

3:56: Jackie Bales isn't just an infomercial host. She's also the proud owner of a brand-new face, thanks to Lifestyle Lift!

3:59: One more hour in the Third Annual Daytime Dispatches! You know what's on next. There's really no choice...

4:00: It's Oprah!

4:01: And Tom Cruise!

4:02: Oprah asks, "So, how's your life?" Tom shakes his head no: "Feels good!"

4:05: Tom is also hyping Knight and Day, and you can tell he's been on a press junket for a long time. But that's a common theme. Everyone I've seen today - movie stars, informercial stars, game show hosts - everyone is exhausted.

4:09: Tom is talking about all the advantages his kids enjoy, getting to travel the world. Oprah bores in, "but how do you not raise spoiled kids?" Tom's answer: "Let the kids do what they want to do." Man, why didn't I try that?

4:12: Cool, creepy commercial about loser teen guy who follows his girlfriend, wearing a giant cell phone. "Let's try something new: nude pix." Ewww! Then the commercial drops the slogan: "When does caring become controlling?"

4:14: Back to Tom. He's talking about four-year-old Suri and all the clothes she gets to wear. And the books! She's got her own personal Oprah's Book Club! That's right, Oprah sends Suri books. Is there any chance of that kid growing up to become an actual human being?

4:16: Oprah asks Tom, "What grade would you give yourself as a Dad." He doesn't blink: "A-plus-plus!"

4:21: "Listen up California, we really wanna warn ya!" The catbox it is!

4:25: Back to Oprah, and Tom's talking about how daring he is. "I like action. I love flying airplanes." Oprah follows up in the most logical way: "And now you're Tom Cruise."

4:26: On the next Oprah, Kirstie Alley is planning to lose weight again. Again, why do I miss the good ones?

4:29: Local affiliate KSBW is striving to stay relevant in the digital age: "Mobile coverage you can count on!"

4:30: Oprah asks Tom to describe Cameron Diaz in three words. He counts off four and looks confused. Then proud. Of course four! Why settle for three? Tom Cruise: Always exceeding expectations.

4:31: And now Cameron Diaz is on Oprah! Her elbows are sharp enough to cut paper.

4:35: And now Tom's explaining how to do a stunt with bulls. Getting. Very. Sleepy. He is. Cameron is. Oprah is. I am. It's been a long day.

4:36: Tom wraps us the story somehow and the audience applauds. I think they're grateful that it's over. I know Tom is relieved.

4:38: Scenes from a forthcoming interview between Oprah and disgraced politico Andrew Young. She rattles off "How Could You?"-type question after question, but the spot never lets him answer. Each jab yields a thoughtful, embarrassed, overwhelmed, frustrated, or basic "What was I thinking?"-look from Young. But for the answers, you'll have to watch Oprah this Tuesday!

4:42: Oprah gets Touchy-Feely, asking Cameron: "Are you living your dream?" Cameron stumbles through journeys and blessings and openness. In short, no. But she does make a good breakfast, with caramelized shallots and everything!

4:47: The minutes are ticking away and my cat adjusts herself on my lap. She's been here all day. Artemis loves all-day live-blogs.

4:48: Back to Cameron. Jeez, she's still going through her savory oatmeal recipe. Oprah's entirely rational follow-up. "Do you love being famous?" Artemis perks up her ears. Yeah, I can't wait either.

4:51: Turns out that being famous is kind of cool. Glad to have that cleared up.

4:53: Coming up: Action News is gonna answer the question, "Can drinking wine actually improve your eyesight?" Interesting! I find that after a couple glasses, my eyesight gets kinda blurry.

4:54: Oprah is now pitching her new network. Tom and Cameron are watching her read the prompter, wondering, "Are we supposed to be still sitting here?"

4:56: Fortunately Tom and Cameron are still on stage to sign a no-texting-and-driving pledge for some reason. Cameron asks, "Are there Oprah police on the streets?" And then she has to pause as she's trying to remember the date: "Oh, my God. It's 2010!" I hope she's not driving, pretty much at all.

5:00: That's it for 2010's issue of Daytime Dispatches! Local news is threatening to start with a story about a couple trying to sell their baby girl for 25 bucks at a Walmart. Why yes, drugs were involved. Why do you ask?


Jenny Wood said...

You're sure having adventures, today! Poor Ellen- already getting tired of her talk show, go figure. And what lame banter with JLo!

highway163 said...

It's an adventure, yes! What to watch at 11? I'm stressin! Can I endure an hour of Rachael Ray?

Andrea said...

I am a little distressed that you are not aware of Robert Pattinson, but I will try to move past it. I am not sure about the Rachel Ray, do you have enough insulin on-hand for that long of a show?

highway163 said...

Sorry, Andrea! I'll have to add Robert to my list of "who the hell is he?" research projects! :-)

Yep, Rachel is tough to watch. But easier for me to tolerate than The View!

Jenny Wood said...

eww, set it and forget it meat??

highway163 said...

I'm TRYING to forget it. But I can't. I CAN'T!

Andrea said...

Okay, I have finally gotten past the Robert Pattinson thing, but I am completely depressed at the idea that my kids are almost completely grown and I did not have Tom Cruise around to give ME parenting advice like that...just let them do what they want? I am BITTER. Sigh. Andy, I have enjoyed checking in with you today...maybe this should be your regular gig? :)

highway163 said...

I'm so with you on the Tom Cruise thing. Wow, that would have saved a lot of hassle, wouldn't it? Thanks for hanging with me today. But believe me, I'm gonna need a long break before the next live-blog. :-)