What I Learned From TV This Week

By Dave White

Originally published on Advocate.com July 24 2009 12:00 AM ET

I promised you last time that this column was going to be about stuff that actually mattered since I wasted your reading moments blathering for nearly a thousand words on the relative merits of two Bravo reality shows featuring people who do absolutely nothing but hang out and behave like tools. I don't forget my solemn vows. Anyway, this week I learned …

1. That Paula Abdul might be forced off of American Idol and have to simply live on her remaining millions and millions and millions of dollars. It's unfair. Look, all I said was that I wouldn't talk about the Preps and the Socs. Paula is IMPORTANT.

2. That some "Christians" who aren't even part of that Westboro loony bin (I'm just going to put that word in quotes from now on unless I'm discussing Desmond Tutu, Walker Percy, Dorothy Day, or some other religious person who spends their free time volunteering in soup kitchens or taking care of crack babies) are planning to go to the gay pride festivities in Charlotte, N.C., and start some shit. Why, for this sort of thing, don't we have a standing drag queen and bear militia (the queens for height, the bears for width) to go put on their biggest heels and stompin' boots and just form a human wall, blocking the inbred morons from getting even a glimpse of their target victims?

3. That young Latino and African-American males are raised with the warning that when pulled over by cops for any reason they have to keep their hands up on the dash or the wheel and in very plain sight. Sherri Shepherd explained this on The View when they talked about the arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. inside his own home. She said that white people never have to think about that. I know I've never thought about it. I don't have some big punch line for this or anything. Sorry.

Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan x390 (Screengrab) | Advocate.com

4. That a kid named Demi Lovato is more popular than the idea of single-payer health coverage. I've seen both of these topics all over my non-HD screen lately, and Lovato is apparently the kind of tonic you drink that replaces the need for fancy "doctors" and "medicine" and other suspicious French-sounding shit like that. And no congressional reps (Democrats too, you fucking in-the-pockets-of-the-insurance-lobby traitors) get squinchy faces and talk nonsense about rationing when serious and important resolutions supporting the ongoing pop career of Demi are concerned. And speaking of bleak health care, Nurse Jackie is passing you by if you're not already on board. Seriously, watch this one, Showtime-havers. I already have a kind of scrubs-centric crush on big Thor.

5. That Rachel Maddow loves/hates Pat Buchanan so skillfully that he appears not to know up from down anymore. The second he wrote his crazy, whiny, racist "How to Handle Sonia" diatribe (that's Sotomayor, for you people who don't pay attention to anything), Maddow had him on her show, grilled him, then took him apart bit by bit on the next episode that wasn't about Walter Cronkite. Why are you still not watching this beautiful, brain-filled woman?

6. That there is not one good regular daytime talk show that's not in reruns right now. Tyra , Oprah , Martha,Ellen , almost all of them. Even The View seems to be taking weeks off at a time. Are they all at the same house in the Hamptons right now? I was so desperate for something to fold laundry to that I watched the wiener episode of Martha Stewart again just to see that gay dude in the lavender sweater make Martha crack up on the air about certain hot dogs being too big to put in your mouth. It was like the Ghost of Queer as Folk Christmas had come back to haunt my TV for a dozen soap-dropping seconds. Then Martha and the gay shared a hot dog covered in macaroni and cheese, which is way more my speed.

7. That people on the news talk shows are still diligently hunting for President Obama's elusive birth certificate. That makes me happy. I hate it that our president is from some other country I've never heard of, like Illegitimistan or something. I think that's what I heard someone say. Anyway, my favorite truth-seeker is Orly Taitz, an attorney and dentist from Irvine (So/Cal represent!) I saw on CNN and then again on The Daily Show . She sounds like what would happen if Arianna Huffington suffered a concussion that erased her memory and she became a telemarketer selling you extended warranties for cars you don't own. And her platinum blond wig technique is wacky as FUCK. She makes me want to start a fan club.

TODDLERS TIARAS X390 (TLC) | ADVOCATE.COM

8. That two-week-old male newborns can and should be rightfully represented on the baby beauty pageant circuit. I learned this from watching the season premiere of Toddlers & Tiaras . Unfortunately the little slacker I witnessed needs to have his ass kicked for allowing his two-week-old head -- the one that's half the size of the rest of his body -- to loll around listlessly. How are they going to put the tiny King Baby Mr. Universe crown on your soft-fontanel-having skull if all you're going to do is slump to one side, endlessly crying for the teat? It's called "professionalism," you little wannabe. Learn what it means and put it to use and then you'll get your milk.

9. That Hung -- which is not a terrible show at all, by the way, and occasionally features the awesome Anne Heche -- will always tease its audience. Think about it. Remember the last scene of Boogie Nights ? I do. I went with this straight male friend and his wife to see it on opening night back in 1873 or whenever it opened. This straight male friend thinks talking to gays about penises is hilarious. And he's right... it is, especially if you're a hetero guy and no one ever talks to you about your own dick in a meaningful way. But when we all witnessed Marky Mark's weird, thin, latex-molded dong and then walked out as the credits rolled, he said, "Ever seen anything that big in your life, Davey?" (He always calls me "Davey." Because he's an asshole.) I said, "Yeah. A lot. We got our own porn, you know. Seen bigger than that. They shouldn't have shown that fake-ass thing at all." So unless they fit Thomas Jane with a prosthetic of truly thunderous, elephant-trunk proportions, it ain't never gonna happen.

10. And finally, I didn't learn anything from watching D-List last week, but I want to recap my favorite moment anyway. Now, it's not like I've got this boner for Kathy Griffin, but I have to mention her one more time even though I covered the new season a few columns back. Because on last week's episode when she goes to Miami and tries to fake-buy a house that's way out of her budget and finds out that the owner is such good friends with Nancy Reagan and the late president that the former first lady still regularly sends Jelly Bellies to this unnamed person, Griffin goes off:

"I'd just like to say that 'The Reagan Years' are a fallacy. And to not say the word 'AIDS' for six years? Maybe your legacy isn't so great. So fuck you and your Nancy Reagan-red and your bullshit politics. It got us in the situation we're in today. If I hear one more Republican say, 'I'm bringing back the Reagan era,' then just remember that's the shit you're talking about [that] you're so proud of."

This is awesome not only because she's absolutely right, but because her freaked-out assistants can only nervously laugh and try to cover their boss's mouth with their hands while gay former Major League Baseball player-turned-fancy real estate agent Billy Bean simply skulks off-camera and moves across the room as far away from Griffin as he can possibly get. Frankly, I think that bursting into automatic applause would have been the appropriate response.

That's what I did.