The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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Michele Bender

February 11, 2012

MICHELE M. BENDER | The verdict: Crime shows arresting

— Once again, the Nielsen TV rating people asked me to serve as a “Nielsen Family.” This wasn’t my first rodeo. I rated programs in 2007, too.

Nielsen asks viewers to keep a diary of shows we watch.

They pay us $2 for our efforts.

Now Mom can have that operation!

My program choices haven’t changed much in four years.

I still love “Law and Order – SVU,” “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS” and “The Closer.”

New shows I enjoy include “Southland” (cops in south LA); “Blue Bloods” (cops in New York City); “Memphis Beat” (cops in Memphis…what a surprise!); and “Mike & Molly” (a “larger-than-life” cop romance).

I “detect” a trend here.

After logging considerable hospital time, I discovered I’d developed the sleep habits of a raccoon. A pattern emerged. I loyally watched my “Cop-Out 8,” but much of my “mindless-viewing-just-because-it’s-on” happened in mid-afternoon or late night.

Talk and court shows

dominate daytime TV. “The View” ladies tell us what to think; “Rachael Ray” tells us how to cook; and “Dr. Oz” cures us.

“Judge Joe Brown” baffles litigants with his abundant, pretentious vocabulary. Half the time, no one knows WHAT he’s saying! Judge Marilyn of “The Peoples’ Court” chastises crooked contractors and free-loading (“That money was a GIFT!”) boyfriends.

“Judge Judy” hollers at petitioners suing over petty claims, and Heaven help the illiterate chump who dangles a participle or otherwise mutilates grammar. Infinitive-splitters are sent to “Ol’ Sparky” and fried!

Lawyers tout their services, targeting slugs who believe that personal injury attorneys are Santa Claus.

Budget insurers aim their ads at desperate drivers, and correspondence schools pursue unmotivated loafers who shouldn’t be home watching afternoon TV in the first place!

Late night TV is a whole ’nother animal!

In the wee hours, infomercials rule the airwaves. Kitchen gizmos, diet plans, Genie bras, and Time/Life music collections fill countless hours.

If you ever need to dispose of a body, I highly recommend the “Ninja Blender.”

And if you call in the next 10 minutes, you can receive two of whatever is being pitched, provided you pay the additional $29.95 postage and handling.

Provocative exercise equipment ads border on softcore porn. Women are required by law to work out in skimpy bikinis.

Jack LaLane, though dead, out-grossed Chuck Norris who, at age 95, continues to demonstrate his “Total Dementia Gym.”

One scary device, the “AB Rocket,” is used to interrogate prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

Insomniacs seeking ribald, kinky entertainment choose “Adult Swim” on the Cartoon Network, the “Smut-Central” of underground programming.

Even their video-game commercials gag me.       

However, “Family Guy” (also shown on mainstream networks), while crude and nasty, somehow cracks me up. My funny bone is one of the few things they didn’t remove in the hospital.

The Nielsen folks now know that I’m a drowsy, lethargic, deviant crime-junkie. Wow!

They’ll probably never recruit me again.    

Coming next: Results of “Best Johnstown Eats.”

Michele Mikesic Bender is a Johnstown resident and a member of  The Tribune-Democrat’s Readership Advisory Committee.


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Michele Bender
  • Michele Bender MICHELE M. BENDER | Scenic road to recovery

    I thought this busy summer wore me out.
    Father’s Day afternoon I flopped in my recliner and forced myself to do some bookkeeping. I licked an envelope and gasped. No spit, only blood ... as if Hannibal Lecter just served me lunch.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Licorice lends a paw

    I bet you expected to find Michele Bender’s column here today.
    She just came home from the hospital. She’s doing fine but resting, so I thought I’d lend a paw.

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    I’m “downsizing.” Sixteen years ago, this house was perfect for me. I gave parties. Friends came and stayed for weekends. Great insulation protected visitors from highway noise.
    Yep, I had the time of my life.
    But I’m 16 years older, and my friends are, too.  They no longer travel like they did. Parties wear us out by 10 p.m.

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

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    Twice yearly Hollywood marches out a platoon of war movies.

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  • Michele Bender Living life out loud

    “If I make it to Medicare,” I declared, “I’m going to throw a party people will not forget! It’ll be something no one’s ever done!”
    Well, I made it to 65.

    May 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Watch the stars come out

    Every spring, I catch drive-in movie fever. We are blessed to have three outdoor theaters in a 30-mile radius. Movies under the stars … heavenly!

    May 3, 2014

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | Whisper sweet nothings in my ear

    “Your call is very important to us,” growled the crabby lady at the utility company. “Please wait for the next available representative.”

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele MICHELE M. BENDER | Sock it to me


    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bender_Michele.JPG MICHELE M. BENDER | What happened to Christmas?

    Headaches rarely bother me. I always felt sorry for folks trapped in the Advil/Dristan web.
    I woke up at 4 a.m. Dec 17 with a headache that probably registered on a Richter scale. (People in New Zealand experienced aftershocks.)

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo


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