Load the Car and Write the Note

Drunk on Television: Weatherporn and Kids Shows

I had a moment to watch some TV yesterday, as I was in a home with the Super Extended Premium Fuck You Bruce Springsteen Digital Cable package, and I took curious note of two very different sets of “performers” who I believed must have been drunk. I not sure the frequency with which television personalities are drunk while on camera. I’m sure it’s less than it used to be. For example, Fred Rogers must have been more often than not a few beverages into his afternoon before putting on his cardigan. Bob Cole surely knocks down a few shots of Lambs Navy Rum before fighting his way through a HNIC telecast. And anyone within three feet of Elisabeth Hasselback better be drunk, or I’ve lost all faith in humanity. But none of those people were on TV yesterday.

The first drunk was spotted during the CNN coverage of Hurricane Irene, and its impending doom. I made the assumption, after only a few minutes, that Wolf Blitzer must have been very very very inebriated. I mean, he’d have to be, right? Blitzer, at some point in time, was a respected and important journalist. I mean, he went to Johns Hopkins. He made it out of Buffalo. He covered news in Jerusalem and DC. He was a White House correspondent, for god sakes. He is arguably, the grandfather of cable network news. He named himself Wolf! He’s not Ben Fucking Mulroney. But here he is, working a Saturday afternoon in August (when, really, no one with a real job does) doing 24 hour coverage of Irene, in CNN’s best weatherporn style. Its entire coverage is based on elaborate sets, and iPad 5 prototype touch screens and, instead of giving facts, assuming and predicting the worst.  So, as you can see from our CNN Weather Alert Matrix, if everyone currently living east of Milwaukee was to run naked to the base of the Hudson River, there could possibly within reason be significant casualties.

First of all, Wolfy looks embarrassed. But, I understand a man’s gotta work. He’s probably got debt. A few mortgages. A bad investment here and there. Dude has bills to pay. I get it. So there he is, slugging back three-finger gin and sodas and chasing them with 12 year-old Glendronach, just so he can stand in front of a 35 foot LED screen and tell viewers to keep watching or they’ll die. Hell, I had to have a few adult beverages just to keep watching. He must have been praying for an assassination, or coup, or even a B-celeb overdose just so he could stop introducing some DeVry dropout every four seconds to show viewers what a map of the East Coast looks like, and how clouds move.

In quite dichotomous opposition to the drunkenness of Mr. Blitzer, is that found within the atrocity of contemporary children’s programming. Now, understand, I have no problem with Dora and her cousin. I spent a winter living in Costa Rica, and I dig the whole Pura Vida thing, let’s save the whales and learn shit while avoiding a fox vibe. I can get onboard with that. And Sesame Street is still one of the best TV shows of any genre out there. (However, when did Bert and Ernie get legs? In fact, when did any of Jim Henson’s creations get legs? It’s just kinda creepy.) But some of these shows are just plain awful. There’s this Max and Ruby, two rabbit orphans who never wear pants. And Daniel something, who is the embodiment of a Bruce McDonald Kids in the Hall character traveling the world and asking adults annoying questions. Kids seem to like it, but I’m afraid they’ll all grow up kind of stupid and naïve. Seriously, the coming generation is going to believe that puppets have legs, and that pants are unnecessary. Trust me, it’s coming.

Note: If my sister and brother-in-law are reading this, I’m referring to other people’s children. Your kids will be fine. First off, you guys are cool, which helps offset the evils of TV. Also, when you’re not looking I explain the Silver Jews, and alliteration, and Hemingway to them. They’re cool.

Keeping within our framework of on-camera drunkenness, is a show called The Fresh Beat Band.  There are dozens of shows that most be similarly employing drunken young actors, but this is the one my niece and nephew like, and this is the only one I’ve seen enough to judge, generalize, and make rash assumptions about. So, The Fresh Beat Band stars The Fresh Beat Band who bounce around a bright coloured sound stage, and sing and dance with their kid co-stars, and adore everything and are filled with such wonderment it is sickening. Frightening even. See for yourself:

When you peel back the fluorescent façade of faux happiness, you find a collection of your favourite Milestone’s and Boston Pizza servers trapped in what they believe to be their big acting break. The thing is, it isn’t. And when the adult actors realize this (and it must not take too many episodes to do so) I can’t imagine they have much choice but to turn to drinking. Again, as in mid-weatherporn Wolf, I had to tip a few to survive. It should be noted, however, that both Milestone’s and Boston Pizza have wonderful corporate advancement and management programs. Not all is lost.

I think it may be best to return to the days when it was kosher to have a smoke and a scotch out on the news desk. Why hide it anymore?  It insults us all. And for the love of all things holy, someone give Wolf a war to cover. And don’t bring him in on Saturdays in August anymore. None of us are working, why should he? We’re all in our backyards enjoying adult beverages without the world watching.

Minced Oaths revisited

41. The winter dragged on, and work was light.
They watched sitcom upon sitcom upon sitcom,
but could never settle on an aesthetic to their liking.

42. You don’t own it. It’s not yours. It’s not yours.
But, when you’re up for it before the dawn,
and the coffee bleeds rum. Maybe it is.

43. He liked the subway, how it was always nighttime,
the comfort of the constant shuffle of strangers.
The fare, however, he found prohibitive.

44. The tide made its way to the porch. His things
were packed. The car hadn’t started.
Maybe they’d stay. It depended on the car.

45. He had always been attracted to Sinead O’Connor,
finally convinced his wife to shave her head. It didn’t work
for him. Turns out he had been attracted to the accent.

46. Cauterized, and staggered, he wandered on.
Facing back the night, and trampled. He wondered
about more drink, about morning, about his math.

47. He lived in vacations between substances,
in a two-bedroom by the water. He longed
for a washer and dryer, or an addiction to pills.

48. “The monkey hadn’t eaten since it arrived.
Finally, he accepted some peanuts. Being allergic, he died instantly.”
The zookeeper always felt he knew, felt it was suicide.

49. He spent the day googling himself, until he found something
interesting. Turns out he wasn’t a dentist. Wasn’t married.
Did not have kids on the way. Did not golf. Interesting.

50. At the bar, it was sad news. He was not impressive.
The girl with the llama tattoo finally broke away from her friends,
and whispered: “Take your things, and stick with us.”

The Avett Bros.

You know, because of Brooklyn and the hurricane and stuff.