Friday, January 04, 2008

At our house, the TV is usually tuned to MTV (The Hills), WE (Bridezillas), Bravo (Project Runway) or the Style Network (just about anything). And I'm usually in the other room, refusing to watch that crap.

There are some shows that my fiancée Adelphia managed to convince me aren't bad. The Amazing Race (those Goths grew on me, until they started bickering: "Vyxen, stop this car now! I'm getting so mad, color might come to my ashen face!" Still, I'll miss those Pinkies.) and Kitchen Nightmares. (Last month Gordon Ramsay & I crossed paths running on the beach. He said, "Oy, you call that a bloody pace, m'man? Me *bleep* mum runs *bleep* faster, yeah?")

I managed to have some success with my shows. Adelphia admitted that The Bronx is Burning was well-done, but insists a mini-series about the '86 Mets would've be better. And thanks to me, she recognizes the brilliance of South Park after such episodes as "Woodland Critter Christmas", "All About Mormons" and "Guitar Queer-o".

But I failed to win her over to the Discovery Channel. And that's the best network on TV. How could Adelphia not want to watch those lovable geeks of Mythbusters? They blow up water heaters! They catapult life-size dummies! They fold a piece of paper over 7 times!

However, there was no denying the allure of Survivorman. Les Stroud gets left in the middle of nowhere with nothing but camera equipment, his handy multitool and whatever scraps of junk he can find. Next thing you know, the guy builds a shelter and roaring fire out of an old tin can and a piece of chocolate. He's not only ingenious but tough as nails. MacGyver never had to go all week with nothing to eat but kelp or live scorpions. And anyone who can distill drinking water from his own piss is one badass mofo.

At first, Adelphia called him a "Negative Ninny" because of his cautionary comments to the camera. I explained that Les had to keep the audience informed about the possible dangers, 'cause even if no polar bears attacked or hermit crabs picked at his sore toe, it was fun to know that it could happen any second.

But after making her sit through several installments of Survivorman to see if one would be a Blair Witch show -- in which the film survives, but he doesn't -- my plan to get my fiancée into quality reality television backfired. Adelphia started to develop a crush on Les Stroud.

"I like that Survivorman," she'd say. Or, "he's kinda sexy all bundled up inside his lean-to playing his harmonica". And, "yeah, sure, Michael, the fire you made in the fireplace is nice... for someone who had the luxury of using matches."

I tried not to get jealous. I just told her that instead of going out for dinner and drinks, I'd build a trap to catch the squirrels that climb the palm trees by the Santa Monica Freeway. Using parts from a discarded cellphone I found outside and the Oscar Watch advertisement supplement of yesterday's L.A. Times, I fashioned a desalination device to drink the Pacific seawater. Local pollutants should make this concoction have as much kick as the Pinot Noir Adelphia would get at the restaurant. I informed her that wading in the ocean water during the early-morning tide, there's a good chance I could get bitten in the leg by a shark. Or hit in the head by a surf board.

Adelphia assured me I didn't need to worry. Survivorman's cool on TV, but in real life, his Negative Ninniness would make him impossible to date. And she prefers someone with another Long Island accent to Les Stroud's annoying Canadian one.

So when she and I go to bed tonight, we won't tune to the Discovery Channel. Or any network for that matter. Instead, I think I'll show her a new use for my multitool.


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