TV SHOWS

Paul Krassner

Oh, please, take pity on us poor satirists, for reality keeps nipping at
our heels and increasingly overtaking us. There was a recent report that a
Sunday School teacher instructed a student to write What Would Jesus Do?
on his penis. How challenging it would be to extend that truth organically
to further reveal its basic absurdity.

So here I am, trying to extrapolate on trends in the television industry in
order to forecast programs to be seen next season. One of my ideas was a
series on HGTV called Feng Shui Vigilantes, but my wife Nancy just saw a
promo on The Learning Channel for an actual upcoming series, While You Were Out,
with a similar format. See what I mean? Anyway, here are my remaining entries.

The News Dude: Recent polls indicate that less and less young people
watch the network news. In order to entice that demographic, a 19-year-old will
deliver the evening news accompanied by appropriate music. For example, when
reporting the latest corporate crime, this one involving the Carlylse Group, he will be
backed by a tape of Jimmy Cliff singing The Harder They Come, the Harder They Fall.

Snitch: At last viewers will be like flies on the wall, free to observe,
in the comfort of their living rooms, paid informants divulge information to
their control officers. A split screen will reveal the informee reacting to a
monitor in the Green Room. Security will be very tight. The show will be hosted
by Bill Maher, who--at the National Organization For the Reform of Marijuana Laws
(NORML) convention--outed Ted Turner and Harrison Ford as pot smokers. Each week,
Maher will open with a relevant monologue, such as his hilarious parody of the
good cop/bad cop syndrome.

Tips for Terrorists: This is a spin-off of those segments on the news,
originally intended to inform American citizens about the plethora of
vulnerabilities in our infrastructure. However, intelligence agents learned that
international terrorists had been busy taking notes, ever vigilant for weaknesses
in this, their target country. When the first episode is aired--disclosing the lack
of security at the nine dams scattered around Los Angeles--it will be attacked as
stretching the First Amendment too far, but defended as the risk of democracy.

With Spying and Surveillance For All: This series will feature highlights from
public outdoor cameras along with hidden indoor cameras so that the viewing
audience can invade the privacy of an unknowing J.D. Salinger and catch him
tossing paper clips at a mandala.

The People Whisperer: Originally inspired by Ronald Reagan's pronunciamento
in Bedtime for Bonzo--Even a monkey, brought up in the right surroundings,
can learn the meaning of decency and honesty
--this original HBO movie will
be based on contemporary research: the head of the Anthropology Department
at USC concluded that chimpanzees are as intelligent as two-year-old children;
the Chimpanzee Collaboratory asserted that chimps are so close to humans--
sharing nearly 99% of our genes--that they deserve to get the same kind of
legal representation as children; in Germany, parliament voted to give animals
constitutional rights, thereby providing a legal weapon for those who object to
laboratory testing of animals; the host of The Pet Psychic on Animal Planet
converses with animals telepathically; chimps at the Chimpanzee and Human
Communication Institute who communicate with sign language may have begun
to discuss their emotional problems. HBO's Chris Albrecht decided to give the
green light to The People Whisperer as a science-fiction flick when a chimpanzee
at a lunch meeting advised him that communication is a two-way street.

Voices From Hell: This show will be the result of an FCC equal-time
requirement in response to such mediums as James Van Praagh and John Edward,
who hear only from departed souls that are in Heaven.

The D Files: D, of course, is for disinformation. Ever since the Bush
administration announced that there would be an Office of Disinformation--
and then, as its first official act, the Office of Disinformation announced that
there would not be an Office of Disinformation after all--folks have been
wondering what they're clandestinely up to. This reality game show provides
the answers, as contestants attempt to distinguish between facts and propaganda.

Libel: Each week a panel of experts in public relations will take a
completely unknown person and, like alchemists transforming underground buzz
into mainstream awareness, they will turn him or her into an instant
commodity with total name recognition. When that project is successfully
completed, then that same panel will carry out a vigorous campaign to libel
those same individuals, who cannot sue because they are now public figures.

The Nielsen Family: Sponsors used to depend on the number of eyeballs
that a TV show could deliver. But, since a study indicated that scenes of
sex and violence tend to distract from the viewer's attention to commercials,
this new series is actually intended to be dull, thus aiming for quality--that
is, brand-name consciousness--rather than quantity. And, indeed, the ratings
should soar to the top, perhaps because it will feature a different Nielsen
family each week, and all the other Nielsen families will watch it regularly.

Celebrity Enemas: Executives at the Fox network will readily admit that it
was a real challenge to develop this particular series. It was important,according
to one spokesperson, that this program be presented in a tasteful manner. At first
agents and publicists alike refused to return calls from segment producers. But when
Marlon Brando agreed to participate in the pilot, then other celebs started volunteering.
I'm on a special diet, the portly actor stated--low salt and high colonics.
The program will be sponsored by Starbucks to help promote their new coffee enema,
the Anal Latte.

Laugh Track: Even diehard sitcom fans have grown tired of listening to the
reconstituted sound of an audience that had originally been laughing at
I Love Lucy and now ostensibly laughing at Will and Grace. Virtually all
of them are dead, but it's the only form of an afterlife that I can concieve.
Laugh Track will present clips of all new laughter, with the only visual
being that of the studio audience laughing. It will serve as must-see TV for
those who want their own laughing to be stimulated only by pure peer pressure
without any interference from content.

Godspin: Every Sunday morning, representatives from a variety of
religions--including cult leaders and professional skeptics--will discuss
spiritual matters in a lively fashion. Such topics as the following will be
explored: Does the Deity Have an Awareness of Itself? Can Blasphemy Be a Form
of Prayer? Is Scientology Really a Religion? What Motivates Suicide Bombers?
Should 'Under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance Be Changed to 'Inside God'?

And, naturally, Did Jesus Masturbate or Did He Just Have Nocturnal Emissions?

Uh-oh, my wife is channel-surfing again, and now there's another show with a format
that's similar to my fantasy, Feng Shui Vigilantes. Yes, the Discovery Channel
has a new series titled Surprise By Design. As the rate of acceleration is
itself accelerating, that program becomes yet another case of satirical prophecy.
I must be careful not to let this power fall into the wrong hands.
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(C) 2002 - Paul Krassner
Reprinted by Permission
Todas Derechas Reservadas

Paul Krassner's Murder At the Conspiracy Convention and Other American Absurdities,
with an introduction by George Carlin, is published by Barricade Books; his CD Irony Lives!
is released by Artemis Records. Homer Simpson's suppressed (by Fox TV lawyers) introduction
to the album can be read and heard at Paul's Web Site - Click Here!