Dante's Daytime Circles of Hell
So, my best friend got married over the weekend and I’ve been staying at her house. It’s always so weird being at a house that you’re not familiar, but it’s doubly worse when you’re acting like a chimp from 2001: A Space Odyssey trying to figure out how electronics in the house work. They have a smart TV that has a bunch of apps, but no cable. I know, #FirstWorldProblems.
Nowadays, there are no fewer than 15 channels offered by just hooking an antenna up to your TV. I could watch Netflix, HBOGo, or Hulu. But there’s a special kind of self-loathing that comes with watching morning TV.
For reasons, I woke up later than normal and missed the early morning offerings. Which is probably for the best. At around the 10 o’clock mark, that’s when things get interesting, kids.
That’s when you enter the First Circle of Daytime TV Hell: Limbo. Put on your Slanket or Snuggie, Virgils, shit is going to get real.
In Inferno, this circle’s residents are primarily virtuous non-Christians and people who haven’t been baptized, and they’re doomed to live in an inferior version of Heaven. Depending on your individual tastes of Heaven, this can vary wildly. In daytime TV, it’s too easy: it’s The Steve Wilkos Show, the offspring of Jerry Springer who hasn’t been baptized with an original show idea. Today’s topic? Will This DNA Test Destroy Our Marriage?
Next, we’ve got Lust. Again, too fucking easy. The TV schedule is rife with soap operas and telenovelas packed to the gills with fleshy pleasures (dibs on band name.) SO MANY ADULTERERS, DANTE. I haven’t watched a soap opera since my sister forced me to watch Days of Our Lives, but I suspect that Marlena is still kicking around and probably still possessed. And in case you want to learn Korean and Spanish, please watch daytime TV. You’ll learn all the best phrases.
The Third Circle is my favorite: Gluttony. Unfortunately, you’re punished into watching two shows: The Chew and Rachael Ray. In Inferno, Dante and Virgil find souls of gluttons who are watched over by a worm-monster, Cerberus. In daytime tv, the parallels are uncanny! Souls of gluttons?! Audience! Cerberus!? Possibly Mario Batali (Guy Fieri would be the obvious choice here, but he hasn’t broken into network TV. Yet.)
Trucking through Gluttony, we enter Greed, where the hordes of hoarders and those who spend lavishly are overseen by one Pluto:
The Fifth Circle is Anger.This is where the wrathful and sullen are punished for their sins.
For Heresy, I’ve reserved my favorite heretic for his own Circle of Hell, because he’s earned it:
The last Circles of Hell are a bit encompassing because these TV hosts have all engaged in violence, fraud and treachery to varying degrees. Not to mention, I think these folks have been the most egregious in the aforementioned. If these four end up being the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, I will not be surprised in the slightest. Between Dr. Oz shilling out bullshit health products, Dr. Phil shilling out bullshit life advice, or The Doctors shilling out bullshit medical advice, you’d do better to get advice from a bunch of internet strangers. We’ll take better care of you. I watched Wendy Williams for a hot second, where she was arguing that Bill Cosby shouldn’t be put in jail because he’s too old, basically blind, and (I can’t believe I’m going to type this) “Who is he gonna hurt?”
Moreover, the final Circle of Hell, Treachery, is basically the natural state of morning news shows like The Today Show or Good Morning, America. The morning news encompasses all the above and so much more. It doesn’t help that Hoda and Kathie Lee are trying to bring levity to all of us being frozen in an icy lake in this circle.
As for me, I had a bourbon and breakfast burrito for breakfast, but even I have standards. I won’t be watching Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil, as I’m already searching for my own Beatrice and need an adult. Probably on Tinder.
Friends, don’t do what I did. Go live a better life. Remember I love you and did this so you don’t have to.