We watch... so you don't have to.
Every year, around this time, every publication worth a hoot comes out with its Issue o' Lists. Newspapers scramble to publish their 10 Best Movies of the Year, 10 Best Restaurants, and 10 Best TV Shows. Entertainment Weekly names its "Entertainers of the Year." Rolling Stone finds some buxom chickie-poo to stick on the cover of its "Year in Rock" issue. Even Time, normally a staid, serious bunch, gets into the act, naming such things as the Man of the Year and the 10 Best Designs of 1996. (By the way, for the record, No. 1 is the butt ugliest edifice I have seen in my 26 years as a carbon-based life form, bar none.)
Apparently, the authority to slap labels on stuff is what separates the big boys from the small. Which means that someone here in teevee-land had better follow suit, because if there is one undeniable common goal between me and my fellow TV-watching geeks, it's that we all aspire to the Big Time. So, even if this may be a bit presumptuous, in the interests of forcing our way into the limelight whether we've been invited or not, I present . . .
THE FIRST ANNUAL PETEYS!
A totally random, off-the-top-of-my-head assessment of the year in TV, with special appearances by Ernie Reyes, Jr.; 'Hart to Hart's' Lionel Stander; and, of course, the dazzling Nia Peeples. And now, ladies and gentlemen, here's your host, Adrian Zmed!
- MID-SEASON REPLACEMENT OF THE YEAR: Ordinarily this would go to "3rd Rock from the Sun," which--despite my predictions of doom--became last year's only bona fide hit among new shows. But this is not an ordinary year. Unlike the Oscars, the Emmys, or the Tonys, we here at the Peteys remember shows from January to December. Which means we remember "Matt Waters," starring talk show host Montel Williams as a Navy Seal turned preachy high school teacher. You may recall it by its alternative title, "Fantasy Island II."
- BULLETS TO THE HEAD: To Warren Littlefield and the accursed NBC promotions department for slapping "Must See TV!" labels on everything from "Boston Common" to "The Single Guy" to "Men Behaving Badly." I "must see" "Men Behaving Badly" about as much as I "must have" a colostomy.
RUNNERS-UP: (a) Same, for the "Saturday Night Thrillogy." I've seen "Profiler," so I can say this with a clear conscience: The only way that show will get a charge out of me is if A Martinez hauls off and knocks Ally Walker's vision straight while she's in the midst of one of her cross- eyed, "The killer is named Lou" routines; (b) Whoever came up with CBS's "Welcome Home" campaign. CBS is not my home, and even if it were, I'd find it extremely difficult to feel welcome in any place where Cybill Shepard resides; (c) Fox. During one sports broadcast, it managed to get its logo on the screen in no less than four places at one time, and on another occasion, it hung a gigantic banner reading "Fox" behind Jerry Glanville's head--the point not to be missed here being that Fox employs Jerry Glanville; and (d) The genius at ABC who chose to air, instead of burn, the footage of Roseanne in a bra.
- 'LUSH LIFE' HERE WE COME: Six years ago, the networks introduced 33 new shows, including "E.A.R.T.H. Force," "Cop Rock," "Hull High," "Babes," "WIOU," and "Going Places," the sitcom Heather Locklear did between "Dynasty" and "Melrose Place." Only two--"Law & Order" and "Beverly Hills 90210"--remain. All of which means that the odds are distinctly in our favor that we won't have to put up with "Mr. Rhodes," "The Jeff Foxworthy Show," "Dangerous Minds," "Life's Work," "Men Behaving Badly," "Promised Land," "Suddenly Susan," or "Moloney" much longer.
- MYSTERY EMMY OF THE YEAR: Tyne Daly won an Emmy this year for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. If you can name the show, you need to seriously re-examine your life's priorities.
- 'FAMILY TIES' CAST MEMBER M.I.A.: Brian Bonsall. And you thought it would be Tina Yothers.
- BLAIR SIGHTING: "The Facts of Life" heartbreaker Lisa Whelchel was recently spotted in an infomercial hawking The Spacemaster Gold, an in-home treadmill.
- SHELLEY LONG LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Pamela Anderson Lee. Without "Baywatch," her breasts will last longer than her career. RUNNER-UP: Christine Elise. We're still waiting for "L.A. Firefighters."
- CANCELLATION OF THE YEAR, AARON SPELLING PRODUCTIONS: From the man who brought you "Charlie's Angels," "The Love Boat," "Vega$," "Hotel," "Dynasty," "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills 90210", "Savannah," and the forthcoming "Sunset Beach" (not to mention "Nightingales" and "2000 Malibu Road")...
"Malibu Shores" starring, among others, Randy Spelling and one Charisma Carpenter.
- TAKE 'EM BEHIND THE BARN: "Coach," "Murphy Brown," "Roseanne," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Married With Children," and John Tesh. And I didn't even see the Olympics.
- THE BEST SHOW ON TV YOU'RE NOT WATCHING: "Homicide." Don't look at me. This is TV Guide's award, not mine. I would have found a more suitable title for such a backhanded prize-- something like "And your gift is . . . a hooker for your 18th birthday!"
- NOW, JUST 'THE SHOW ON TV YOU'RE NOT WATCHING': "Party of Five," last year's recipient.
- ADIPOSE TALK SHOW HOST OF THE YEAR: Rosie O'Donnell by a brownie over Ricki Lake, Oprah Winfrey, and the increasingly corpulent Jenny Jones.
- 14 MINUTES, 59 SECONDS: Jenny McCarthy. Does anyone else find disconcerting her apparent fascination with the smell of her armpits? RUNNER-UP: Dennis Rodman. What if they held a world tour, and nobody came?
- MADE-FOR-TV MOVIE TITLE OF THE YEAR: "Mother May I Sleep With Danger?" starring the ubiquitous Tori Spelling.
- 'REAL WORLD MIAMI' CAST MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Flora, the Russian. Sure, she's a bitch. But anyone who wants to sue "The Real World" out of existence can't be all bad. RUNNERS-UP: Melissa, Dan, Joe, Mike, Sara, and Christine.
- TIME TO BRING BACK...: Lisa Dean Ryan of "Doogie Howser" fame. Let me be the first to pitch, "Wanda Plenn: All Grown Up."
And finally . . .
- TV PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: It's close. There are a number of contenders: Sherry Stringfield, because she's Sherry Stringfield; Helen Hunt, because she's Helen Hunt; George Clooney, because He's Batman; the casts of "NewsRadio" and "Homicide," the best ensembles on TV; the staff of ESPN's "Sportscenter," the best information show on TV. As always, though, the Petey goes to...
"Silver Spoons's" Freddy Lippencoddleman. Because I say so.