Monday, August 18, 2008

Flipping the Channels

I’ve heard from a loyal reader asking why I haven’t talked about Italian TV. Well, Italian TV is so horrible that making fun of it was almost too obvious. I have never even gone past channel 20, and I have satellite. But just for you, by request, a flip through the channels at midnight on a Saturday. Please let me emphasize now that I did not make any of these up, and that I haven’t skipped anything that would give you a better impression of my options. Anything from a foreign country is dubbed into Italian unless otherwise noted. This effort ends up taking over three hours, and I have to stop at channel 650.

1. An Italian variety show from the 1950s in black & white.
2. A TV movie from the U.S., I think, from the 1970s.
3. An Italian movie from the late 1960s.
4. A movie about kids taking drugs.
5. A Canadian? cop show.
6. A 24-hour news channel currently reading off the headlines from today’s newspapers, which the anchor has hand selected with a yellow highlighter.
7. Euronews, in English, which is pretty good. I think it’s from France.
8. BBC World News, which is useful but incredibly repetitive. Now it’s HARDtalk with an interviewer who thinks very highly of himself. The ad for his show is heavy animals grappling each other against drum beats.
9. 6 more Italian news channels, one weather channel. One of them is also reading newspapers.
10. A documentary about bicycle racing in the 1970s.
11. A Russian boxing match, in Russian.
12. The pope’s speech during World Youth Day in Australia, which was at least two weeks ago.
13. The Italian Senate channel.
14. A show that teaches English to young kids, who must have their eyes propped open with toothpicks at this hour. Two guys are pretending to be Siamese twins in the kitchen. “I like eating! He likes eating! We like eating!”
15. Another Italian variety show from the 1950s. Yes, it is different from the first one.
16. OK, this is a French movie from approximately 1984, if I’m guessing right from the two men wearing red shirts and leopard-print vests. They seem to work at some sort of strip club, and oh! lady nipples! It’s French soft-core porn.
17. Music videos, currently Hoobastank. I didn’t know they were still together.
18. Real estate infomercial.
19. More music videos, a girl group from the UK. “I kissed a girl and I liked it/Her kiss just traps me.” Hmm.
20. A naked woman moans in Arabic. Sex line.
21. Naked woman moans in Czech.
22. Polish music videos.
23. Russian music videos.
24. Fashion TV, women on the catwalk too sexy for their outfits. Apparently it is “couture weekend.” Honey, it’s always couture weekend!
25. “F Men Hot” a channel about fashion and men. Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s a bunch of models walking the catwalk, but some of them are now men. They’re advertising a calendar called “The Greek Gods” from – not making this up! -- 2004. Don’t pay full price people.
26. A picture slideshow of animals. Now it’s an Eastern European lady in pigtails and a cheap bikini dancing awkwardly behind a bunch of toll-free phone numbers. Ugh, this is about as unsexy as heterosexuality gets.
27. A concert by low-rent Jonas Brothers types.
28. A panel discussion of some kind, but the sound quality is so bad you can’t hear it even if you turn the volume all the way up to maximum.
29. A blond lady is wearing a mini dress made of green saran wrap. Her panties are halfway down her thigh, and she is taking calls from her many admirers, often one on each ear. I have to admit, she’s a lot sexier than that chick in pigtails.
30. Oh boy. OK, I promised to be thorough. This is an informercial for “Mondo Penis” brought to you by your friends at Mondo Medical, a division of Vaxotron. You can probably guess what this is for. Let’s just say it comes in four sizes, because you’ll soon outgrow the smaller ones. A naked man, his junk blurred out, actually demonstrates how to use the device, which he emphasizes is very simple. Truly horrifying for only 199 euros.
31. An infomercial for the Edelweiss Park Hotel. When’s the yodeling class?
32. A couple is … I have no idea, I have nothing for you. They are just talking, it looks like Italian cable access. Now they’re taking calls.
33. The “Lady Channel.” A show about Italian black people in the 1970s. Who knew?
34. A black & white Italian movie from - you guessed it! - the 1950s.
35. Beachfront time-share infomercial, discounts up to 70%. Sadly, time shares are financial death in any country.
36. American movie with James Spader from the 1980s. He’s being chased by greasers, very scary.
37. The Nostradamus Channel! Bah, I don’t get that one. I really could use some puzzling predictions right now.
38. A man absolutely screaming at me to buy mattresses.
39. C-Span reenactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
40. Completely naked lady plays with a whip. When they’re giving this much away, I’m not sure why you need to call. I wonder if Good Charlotte knows their music is being used for this.
41. Oriental rug hour on a home shopping network.
42. Pretty blond woman in a pink bikini and matching feather boa. See, they know how to get people calling.
43. Live infomercial for a “Sexy Shop.” A woman spontaneously presses her bare breast against the camera and there are “man on the street” interviews. Surreal.
44. A Sunday church service from the Faith Fellowship Church of Micaville, North Carolina. The production quality may be low – I’m guessing $150 camcorder – but I could use a spiritual cleansing after this exercise.
45. Amateur boxing. Amateur like “ring in my backyard” amateur.
46. A commercial for a cell phone ring tone where a kitten says Ciao in a baby girl voice. Whoa.
47. ACM, the Architecture Construction Materials channel. Bummer, no sound. Nothing says Saturday night par-tay like materials science.
48. Al Jazeera International, which is actually quite good. It is clearly well financed and managed. I also get CCTV 9, mainland Chinese news in English.
49. The Pentagon Channel for US troops stationed overseas. There’s a lot of boring Army propaganda, military documentaries, etc. But my absolute favorite show is “The Grill Sargeants” with SPC Brad, his sidekick Ranger Bob, and their smooth jazz band, the Taste Buds. There are a lot of bad cooking-military puns, and Brad likes to point out that the food they are eating is only possible due to American freedom. This week they’re cooking muffalettas and po’ boys.
50. Naked black-haired lady dressed like a cat, dances to Beyonce.
51. Sexy Arab line, Arab Lesbian line, Kurdistan TV, The Eternal Word Network with Sister Mary Catherine… ack!

I can’t take this anymore, not even for you. It goes on and on, 650+ channels of sex lines, infomercials, cable access shows, the Pentagon… it’s exhausting. A man can only take so much.

Note: I can watch Iranian music videos, German news in English, and a woman throw all her clothes onto a chess set, but I still don’t know what’s going on with So You Think You Can Dance. It’s a unfair world. However, do enjoy this clip of Il Simpsons.


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Joshua won on SYTYCD

At 5:53 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

OK, I grant you the selections are horrible. But I'd be curious to see how American TV stacks up on a random Saturday at midnight. In fact, in some alternate universe, I suspect there's an Italian blogger on holiday in the US posting about Ron Popeil even as I write this.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I have watched plenty of TV at midnight, it is certainly not as bad as this!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Shell said...

Kind of makes you miss "Fresh Prince" reruns? I just caught up on your last few blogs. Always entertaining.


At 10:41 PM, Anonymous Debby said...

Just wanted to let you know that I am thoroughly enjoy your blogs......

I live in Windsor, Ontario, so we are sort of neighbours, no?

At 1:33 PM, Blogger StefanoC said...

Take into account that August is the slowest time on Italian television (everybody is on vacation), especially Saturday at midnight when everybody who is not asleep is at discos and parties, dancing and getting drunk in order to try and kill themselves driving home at 4 am.


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