By Dave White
Originally published on Advocate.com September 18 2009 2:50 PM ET
All daytime TV talk shows have started their new seasons. And after about six weeks off from watching any of them, I’ve woken up to something I hadn’t thought about before: They're all for chicks, man.
I’ve spent several hours already with The Dr. Oz Show and I’ve learned about what heart attack symptoms I should be looking for if I’m a woman and how to keep my downstairs lady parts in good health. I’ve also learned about how my purse is full of germs.
It’s like they just put Oprah’s entire audience on a shuttle bus and dropped them off down the block at Dr. Oz’s place. And because Dr. Oz knew they were coming he just fixed up his content to suit them. I mean, I guess it suits me too because I’ve been watching Oprah and Martha and Ellen and Tyra and whoever else all this time without thinking much about the way none of them were really aimed at me. I just felt kind of smarter knowing all that stuff about menopause. And now, thanks to Tyra’s “period panties” show last week, I also know all about tampon applicators and who needs which kind.
All you female readers should really be thanking me for this, I think, because it’s my natural curiosity about every little thing -- including the burning topic of why aren’t you wearing the right size bra -- that keeps me looking at these programs. I don’t have much typical gay diva worship living inside me, so it’s not that. I just want to watch when Oprah yells at Gayle about whether it’s okay or not to tell teenage girls about the joy of clitoral stimulation with vibrators. That was a good episode for any gender to enjoy, come to think.
Ultimately, I suppose that working at home writing about female-aimed TV stuff sort of means I’m automatically not a real man, but then I think about prisons and auto repair places. You know what those mechanics and murderers are looking at on their coffee break? The View. You know why? Because that’s all there is on TV at that time of day. That and Dora The Explorer.
So I’ve been looking for some balance. Some brute masculinity sprinkled on top of Joy Behar’s giant red hair. But I can’t even conceptualize what daytime TV for guys would look like if they even had it. I suppose I could go figure out how to give a shit about sports and watch ESPN all day. But is that all there is to being male and looking at TV? It can’t be. I’d like to think that medical terror and true-crime cold case shows count. I check out plenty of those. As I recently wrote, Monsters Inside Me, the gross, sensationalistic educational program about parasites that live in your brain or colon, is currently must-see TV in my house, but it’s somewhat gender-neutral I suppose. Parasites don’t seem to live within those roles. They live on Addicted to Beauty.
That leaves Cops and Glenn Beck. Cops airs at like 4am on my local station, and TiVo picks it up and I watch it between reruns of The Mighty Boosh and Whatever, Martha! It just started its 20-somethingth season and I love it now as much as I did when it began. Obviously, men in uniforms make me pay attention. It goes against all my punk rock upbringing, but I can’t help it. I respond to that. And guns. I like guns and violence. They’re better than Project Runway any day. And I love Project Runway.
They started out kind of tame-ish this new season. An ownership dispute over a pug with really adorable cataracts was the main focus of the most recent episode. No one got crazy besides the lady in the Confederate flag t-shirt who’d dog-napped the animal thinking it was her long lost “daughter” that her husband had given her when her fallopian tubes were removed. It was just more sad than anything. The pug made some snorty noises.
Which brings me to Glenn Beck. He’s full of angry white male rage, so I think he’s all the balance I need. Yeah, I’m a convert. I mean, not to his insane political opinions. But to his roly-poly preacher/grifter/huckster comedy routine. Seriously, if you can stomach the bullshit, watch him. Just this week alone I learned from Glenn Beck that there are mystery czars working for Obama who think “animals should be able to have lawyers and sue you!” That’s a quote. I like the idea of that pug suing Fox for showing his face without him being able to sign a release form.
Then Beck busted some lunatic ACORN employee for speaking encouragingly to a couple of people who were posing as a prostitute and a pimp. On hidden camera, they told the ACORN lady that they wanted to open a brothel for underage girls from El Salvador, ages 12 to 15, and keep them safe for turning tricks. The out-of-her-gourd ACORN lady was like, “Oh really?” and “Heidi Fleiss is my hero!” Then Beck gets to wring his hands and puff out his cheeks and shake his fists and his pasty white baby face gets all red and he’s intoning OH THE HUMANITY while calling the ACORN lady “ a kindred spirit in hookerosity.” There’s not much you can’t love about that. Meanwhile ACORN says she was edited to make it sound like she said things she didn’t. Not that I really care. It’s right-wing insanity piled on top of left-wing insanity piled on top of ho-cakes. Served to me on my couch. Then he called Jimmy Carter crazy because Carter says Obama haters are racists. Beck accused Carter of using fear... Best of all, Beck once called Obama a racist. In other words, it’s a wheel of entertainment that never stops rolling.
And you can even watch Beck’s commercials now that they’re not all boring national ads. This week I learned of the existence of the Hoveround rolling chair, the zebra-striped Snuggie, Robert Wagner for reverse mortgages and the Egg Genie. It’s a lot of fresh information to process. Now I feel like my Tyra Banks menstruation tutorial has a yang to its yin.
And you thought I was going to spend a thousand words talking about the Whitney Houston interview, didn’t you?