This is a dark time of year for baseball, my friends, when the World Series is afar and we can legitimately say that spring training starts “next month,” but this cheat on relying on the pitchers and catchers report date simply means that we are comforting ourselves with the fact that somewhere out in the general area of sand, Tucker Barnhart and Sal Romano are playing catch. Which is an improvement over the no-baseball prison in which you and I are currently trapped.
The major problem, of course, is what we’re supposed to watch on television right now if the Reds aren’t appearing there. I myself possess many, many bookcases of many, many books, all of which are angry at me because they feel neglected. Reading is lifeblood for me and I currently have three books in various stages of reading-ness, but I’m not going to drag out Leaves of Grass for three minutes while I cram a breakfast sandwich into me on my way to being late to whatever I’m being late to. Leaves of Grass requires sitting in a quiet room with no melted cheese product to distract me from figuring out just why Walt Whitman felt the need to write an eleven-page poem about an axe. (I worry about these things so you non-English majors don’t have to. You’re welcome!)
The Crown: Really anything out of Britain is going to be entertaining. A UK show means that there’s always a chance an American character might show up, and that usually means a Brit actor is going to attempt, badly, talking like us. This most often results in the person sounding like he just fell off a turnip truck out of 1886 Georgia. Once I saw a BBC docudrama about the early space program, and they made Alan Shepard, who was from New Hampshire, speak like Foghorn Leghorn. I’m pretty sure that British people are under the impression that “y’all” is peppered throughout the Constitution.
Any Shopping Channel: Our very basic TV package consists of 95% shopping channels. I like to stop in every now and then merely to marvel at the fact that they still exist. Online shopping means never having to hear another human being say the words “Look. At this. Cubic zirconium.”
Basketball: I just put that to be polite. Basketball is horrid. It’s ten dudes running back and forth between two baskets to shove each other around. There’s too much squeaking. Bottom line, if you want me to take basketball seriously, call traveling once in a while.
Vintage Game Shows: I am often bothered by television shows purporting to take place in the late 80’s and popping their characters on screen as though they just walked out of Carter’s inauguration. We wore Esprit and little shorts and neon in the 80’s; there are people still alive who experienced this and everything. Scripted television often gets it wrong, even in its own era. I remember, as a child, watching The Cosby Show and becoming very upset with Denise Huxtable’s fashion choices. I didn’t dress like that. Even the weird people I knew didn’t dress like that. Where was her floral, her overalls, her Reeboks? This wasn’t reality at all!
Game shows, however, consisted of real people wearing their own clothes, and there is no hiding from the giant tie knots and the tube socks. That happened. I recommend Press Your Luck, which was amazing, and Tic-Tac-Dough, which was also fairly great but also featured a scary dragon which came out of nowhere and roared and you might have to run away and hide in your parents’ bedroom holding your ears during the part of the game it might show up.
I’m just warning you.
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.