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What I Watched Last Night

My evening started off with ABC's World News showing President Bush dancing and banging a drum onstage with a highly colorful African drum troupe. What followed for me was the exact same thought a bazillion other people worldwide with access to television sets had at the exact same moment:

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

Back in the day, the most embarrassing thing an American president would be caught doing in public was trying on a silly hat. President Reagan was good for this. How in the world could the president and his advisers - and the First Lady - not see this disaster coming? Perhaps President Bush was observing the death of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin by paying homage to Yeltsin's dance chops.

At least Yeltsin had the decency to be drunk at the time.

I imagine that sometime within the next few weeks, this video will make its way to a remote cave in the mountain wilderness of Afghanistan and someone will be saying, "Yo, Osama - you GOTTA get a load this . . . "

Ugly Underbelly
I spent a little time last night with ABC-TV's Notes From The Underbelly, which I had managed to miss since its debut a week or two ago. Not much time, mind you, because it's on Wednesday at 7 p.m and the only people around to watch anything at 7 p.m. are the infirm, the hospitalized, and jail inmates. I'm none of those, so I had to make do with the last 20 minutes or so.

Yeah, 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back. So it was a good thing I was using that time to do something else constructive while keeping an ear on this program, or I'd just have ended up annoyed that I wasn't out stimulating the local tavern economy instead.

Here's pretty much all you need to know about this show: Central couple Andrew and Lauren are expecting a baby, so it's an hour of situations and discussions revolving around women being pregnant, attitudes toward children, sex (or lack of it), masturbation as an alternative to little or no sex, looking fat in the shower, and - from what I gather from one of the previous week's trailers - men shopping for a breast pump. For chrissakes, every industrialized country has legions of single unmarried men who know how a breast pump works without actually having to try one out. No wonder the French think we're idiots.

It's supposed to be a sitcom, but it's not funny. It doesn't even feel like a sitcom. According To Jim is a sitcom. Notes feels more like what What About Brian would turn into if it decided to be witty.

If there's anything remotely engaging about this show, it might be Rachael Harris as Cooper, a bitter, mommy-hating attorney. Harris is better known from VH1's I Love The [Insert Decade Here] shows, but compared to Notes, she does better work on her Quaker Oats rice cakes commercials.

Of course, you can watch Notes for Harris until it almost certainly disappears due to lack of interest in a few weeks, but the healthier alternative would be to wait until she surfaces in something that's actually funny.

Crabs Kill
If you're looking for network that features a bottomless cornucopia of people unafraid of a little death by misadventure this season, The Discovery Channel seems to have no shortage of nutcups willing to do it because they're goofballs or so Red Lobster doesn't run out of Seafood Fiesta. Turn on Stunt Junkies next week and some dude named Icarus will be flying too close to the sun on a pair of wings held together with wax.

Tuesday night's collection of Discovery Channel brave and foolhardy were the deckhands on the several ships chasing Alaskan red king crab for the third season of Deadliest Catch The show gets its title from the idea that crab fishing is the most dangerous job on the planet (the injury rate is close to 100 percent), so it's always interesting to watch a bunch of guys try to make it through crab season without getting squashed like bugs against a windshield. There are plenty of opportunities given that the crab season on the Bering Sea is only, like, four days long, so the ships end up being run by crews of sleep-deprived zombies. October and January are the best crabbing months, which means the ships end up being run by half-frozen sleep deprived zombies. Representatives of the health and law enforcement communities claim that working four days straight day and night on an hour of sleep is worse than being drunk, so by and large, it's only a quick matter of time before a respectable number of guys end up getting washed overboard or crushed by something really heavy.

Actually, calling it crab fishing - in Babe Winkelman/Louisiana good ol' boy definition of fishing - is a bit misleading, since crabbing involves heaving 800-pound cages (called pots) baited with cut fish off the side of a ship 100 or so feet long. The crabs wander in, get hauled up by huge hydraulic winches when the ships come back to collect the pots, and get dropped into huge holding tanks beneath deck. Calling this "fishing" is like calling sitting in tree platform waiting for a deer to wander by so you can ambush it with a rifle deer "hunting."

Anyway, the surf in the Bering Sea was up as usual with 20-foot swells, the deckhands were exhausted as usual, and some doofus hanging off the side of one of the ships not associated with Deadliest Catch got picked off by a wave and ended up in the drink. Fortunately, the crew of Deadliest Catch ship Time Bandit were a few hundred yards nearby and managed to pluck Doofus Spiderman Deckhand out of the icy drink before he died of hypothermia within minutes.

Oddly enough, the crew of the Time Bandit are the only one of the several Deadliest Catch ships to wear survival suits full-time. This development came after last season's near-disaster when the boat got hammered by a 60-foot wave, ended up on its side, but somehow managed to right itself before everyone froze and drowned. You'd think every ship on the program would have gotten wise after this, but, well, the deckhands would just start getting all complacent about their jobs and everything, so . . .

A captain can make $150,000 during crab season, so it was understandable why Phil Harris, captain of the Cornelia Marie, was visibly upset while his boat was hung up adock in Dutch Harbor for a few days because a huge chunk of his 500-pound propeller broke off at sea. Phil has really high blood pressure, so I was waiting for him to have an aneurysm or something when his $35,000 replacement prop flown 1,400 miles from Kodiak, Alaska, ended up being a left-handed prop instead of a right-handed one. On top of that, his two deckhand sons spent their gratis liberty call living it up in town charging a few grand on his credit card.

Meanwhile, on some of the other Deadliest Catch ships, greenhorn deckhands were busy ignoring the admonitions of "Safety First" in bright yellow paint on various flat surfaces. So they spent a bit of time screwing up the expensive hydraulic equipment and not safely securing pots that ended up nearly squashing the sleepy-eyed nearby.

And really, that's just the sort of nail-biting anticipation you end up looking forward to when tuning in every Tuesday night.


Check out the What I Watched Last Night collection.


Posted on April 26, 2007

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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