Sick Day Channel Surfing
Shot in some Canadian city that was tarted-up to look like an American city, this clearly made-for-TV enterprise appeared to be little more than a series of flashbacks and heart-tugging music, all culminating in the cathartic moment when Melissa Gilbert got a bad headache and collapsed in the rain.
I then found myself in the middle of a "Dog Whisperer" marathon. Cesar Milan, who always reminds me of an aging figure skater -- albeit from a macho nation -- was applying his magic to Binkey Larue, a two-legged dog with aggression issues. Part of the dog's therapy was Cesar riding a skateboard. It was at this point that I became absolutely certain that I was a shitty dog owner and that I had consumed too much cough syrup.
My next stop was "As The World Turns," where blandly attractive people filmed in poor quality video shouted at one another on a rooftop. Something dramatic happened causing somebody fall over and yell, and then a nasty looking guy in a wheelchair sped off behind an air vent! We were denied closure on this matter, immediately cutting to a scene in which a couple of different good-looking people were kissing. And then, after that flash, we were in a hospital room! Here, a doctor, who looks like a younger and more handsome version of the House guy, says bitchy and insensitive things.
"The Ghost Whisperer."
Jennifer Love Hewitt, her arms crossed chastely across her ample cleavage, marches after a ghost. She wants to help! Why won't the ghost let her help?! All lip-glossy and amber-lit, she speaks of this sad matter to her handsome -- yet dim and supportive -- fiancé over a glass of wine.
And then there's a commercial for Always Fresh containers, proud to show us a cracker that's still crunchy after 40 days.
Oprah appears on the next station. She's so vivid in her green outfit as to seem supernatural. Her guest is Kirstie Allie, who in one of her heroic incarnations of fat/not so fat, appears on the show to thunderous applause. As she marches out, Oprah comments that she can tell Kirstie's lost weight because she's got "her strut on."
Before I lost consciousness, I turned the station one more time, landing on the "1980ish" classic The Incredible Hulk.
In front of a New York City skyline that still included the Twin Towers, Dr. Bruce Banner was working in a factory making women's blouses. A couple of old school white guys in cheap suits were intent on putting this place out of business, and the owner, desolate and heart-broken, informed his employees that he was going to have to let them go, telling one of them, tenderly, "I'm gonna' miss your meatball sandwiches!" This, of course, was sweet rather than racist.
For some reason, the bad guys decided to put Banner's arm in an iron press at which point he began to transform into the Incredible Hulk. He turned his head as if in pain, his eyes went white, and then he was a green and flexing Lou Ferrigno and all manner of hell and fury was breaking loose!!!
This, this is what I had been looking for.
This was the cool and perfect touch of a mother's hand against my delirious forehead.
What TV show returns you safely home?
Michael Murray is a freelance writer. For the last three and a half years he's written a weekly column for the Ottawa Citizen about watching television. He presently lives in Toronto. You can find more of his musings on his blog, or check out his Facebook page.