The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

February 11, 2012

MICHELE M. BENDER | The verdict: Crime shows arresting

Michele M. Bender
For The Tribune-Democrat

— 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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