Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Holy Doodly Crap, Diddly

Sometimes my inner Ned Flanders gets yanked to the fore, as it did during the 4-9-04 show of "Entertainment Tonight," and I want to block out half the cable channels. (MTV and BET with the homeys and the ho's bling-blinging everywhere are already blocked. I'm eying Bravo with all the Queer Eyes, since it seems to be about 50% of their programming anymore.) We pretty much avoid the evening news as the spin these days is, well, absurd, and we are in another Vietnam (surprise!), so we don't need our 7-year-old seeing all the images and getting worried. She was old enough to remember 9-11, which still haunts her, so we don't want to further her concern over such things. Besides a broadcast news-fast is good for everyone; try it sometime.

We also typically avoid "Entertainment Tonight" because they are simply too interested in the sex lives of the stars, showing sex scenes in movies (with little ribbons of filmstrip covering the pink parts), obsessing over who's gay, graphically blowing stuff up, and splaying other stuff that we just don't want to explain right now. However, as we were flipping past, they had a teaser for Ella Enchanted, which my daughter wants badly to see, so we stuck with ET.

In that one show they had:

1. Previews for a new, scary movie with vampires and other monsters in it, which was essentially a quick montage of each monster baring its teeth, or something else that might give me, at 42, nightmares - let alone a 7 year old who had trouble getting through Monsters, Inc. the first time. Surf away! Surf back for Ella!

2. A montage of all the creepiest scenes from The Mummy movies with Brendan Fraiser. My wife and I love the first one, but again, the monsters are just a tad intense for kids. Why the hell were we seeing the scariest parts of the movie in prime time? Evidently there's a new ride based on the movie at an amusement park somewhere. Could they have shown the ride itself? No. We need pissed-off, rotting yellow-eyed mummies with fangs growling at the camera. Surf away! Surf back for Ella!

3. A segment on the new movie The Girl Next Door, which is about the wacky adventures of a young porn star, and the teenage boy next door who she torments. Even critics who don't usually delve into the morality level of the movies they review are calling this one a stinker in that regard; they say the movie sucks (ahem), too. But in this report, we get to hear the words "porn star" and "whore" and "hooker" a few times in quick succession before... Surf away! Surf back for Ella!

4. A segment on Sherry Stringfield on ER, who's now pregnant in real life, so they worked it into the show (and will probably eventually kill the fictional baby with a dread disease as a season cliff-hanger, given the general bent of that show anymore). What clip do they use to illustrate this miraculous event? The character Sherry plays walks behind the ER check-in desk, stops, vomits splashily all over the floor in clear view (next to an available garbage can), and then casually walks on whilst shocked onlookers look at her all shocked. Do teasers HAVE to have a puke-take? (We had just had dinner, too.) Surf away! Surf back for Ella!

5. The last freakin' segment of the show was just the pre-packaged teaser trailer for Ella Enchanted, which we've seen in regular ole interminable commercial blocks while waiting for ET to come back on and cross all reasonable boundaries yet again.

Needless to say, ET is now scratched off of our list, and if it weren't a major network, the channel would be blocked.

To reprise, in the 14 minutes of actual content that comprise an eppy of ET, we had two mindbending monsterfests with all the new verisimilitudinous scary hotness that digital movie making has to offer, a raft of vivid words about a young girl who sells herself for sex, and a huge regurge replete with gagging and splattering sound effects. Crikey. Makes a professional animal trainer holding his baby while dodging a crocodile seem wholesome.

Update: For the record, this is just the reason we (my family) are no longer watching ET, but this does not mean that I think the show should be taken off the air or even boycotted. I would hope that they would realize their timeslot and that kids are watching, but they clearly are not. So, as a parent, I have to make the difference.

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