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TeeVee Mailbag XI: Bitching to Our Heart's Content

April may be the cruellest month, as T.S. Eliot suggested once in a poem that had nothing to do with cats. But if the recent spate of reader correspondence that's poured in to the ol' TeeVee mailroom is anything to go by, then February is the grumpiest month of all.

Maybe y'all are still stuck in the post-holiday blahs. Maybe you lost a ton of money on foolish Super Bowl bets. Maybe you have unhappy home lives. We want to try and understand. We want to be there for you. But you push us away like a cold Swanson's potpie and go back to grumbling underneath your breath about what an unending hell life has become.

We try to make you happy. We keep churning out the comedy and insightful articles in hopes that will cheer you up. We've throw in more obscure references to Scarecrow & Mrs. King and Freebie and the Bean than should be allowed by law, just to restore that smile to your face. We've taken to wearing frilly summer dresses to bring that old spark to our relationship. But for some reason, you just stare.

Nothing we can do is good enough anymore. The articles are too long. There aren't enough clever links. The meat loaf is burned, and the coffee's not strong enough, and what kind of chump would laugh at obscure references to Freebie and the Bean anyhow?

The avalanche of gripes began with this letter from Robert Goulet) -- and no, we didn't just make that name up to impress you because we prefer Wayne Newton anyhow -- who just can't come to grips with the fact that we haven't paid the proper homage to obnoxiously cheerful talk show host Rosie O'Donnell.

I can see some of your points but I feel that there are a lot worse things Rosie could be doing. And there are a lot worse things in this world that could use your attention than harping on the Rosie show. Just an opinion!

Robert Goulet is right... and we're not just saying that because his version of "If Ever I Would Leave You" never fails to make us fall all to pieces. There are plenty of worse things in this world than a silly old talk show starring an aggressive friendly character actress. And it's high time we Vidiots did something about them.

Worse things like ethnic strife! Oh, how we hate the ethnic strife. And war... war is very bad and no one should fight wars, unless they're good ones like World War II and the Spanish-American War and the invasion of Grenada. And homelessness, that's really bad. All you homeless people out there, man, we feel for you.

Murder, suffering, in-grown toenails -- all of these are Bad with a capital "B" and someone should do something about them post haste. As for us, we just want to want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. We want to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.

There, Bob... happy? Good.

Because Rosie's show still sucks.

Todd Wolf was the next grand marshal in our parade of Grumpiness, aiming the following salvo at Philip Michaels and his seemingly harmless suggestion that Jay Leno makes so many movie cameos, we were half-surprised he didn't show up playing the iceberg in "Titanic." The Todd-ster opined:

Leno cameos? How about Larry King? Any time a lazy director who makes films about "big ideas" (think Robert Zemeckis) needs to convince an audience that yes, a retarded guy from Alabama actually could build a huge device to contact alien life forms, Larry King is the man to do the job. How Hollywood got the idea that this much married, artery-hardened, braces-wearing pseudo-journalist-slash-talk-show pimp to the stars is a voice of the people is beyond this humble reader's comprehension.

Oh, come on Todd... For our money, Larry King is a hell of a journalist... Call us crazy, but we can't get enough of him... Or of the fabulous Ruth Buzzi... We cry each time we watch "Brian's Song"... You heard it hear first: the Baltimore Orioles will win the American League pennant... We may be going out on a limb here, but we just love to eat pistachio nuts... If she'd have us, Delta Burke would make one hell of a wife... We don't want to step on any toes here, but The Great Gatsby is a heck of a good read... The legendary Stubby Kaye, folks, there were none better...The woman who finally settles down with Jm J. Bullock will be the luckiest woman on the planet...

The ubiquitous Jay Leno also brought comments from reader Kbwmd, who makes up for in smarts what he lacks in vowels:

pitiful...I totally agree. At least Ed McMahon had class when he laughed his incessant laugh.

Which is the first time we ever heard the words "Ed McMahon" and "class" used together since his ill-fated appearance in the Gary Coleman TV movie "The Kid From Left Field."

Then, there was Craig Dallimore who dropped us a line to complain... well, about all this complaining:

I found this teevee site by utter mistake and find that it is some of the rare, hard to find brilliant writing that so many people fail to appreciate. I find it great. Insightful, and, um, persuasive, and quite true.

I also have noticed that many (at least, a fair bunch of) people seem to consider that maintaining this site is your collective duty: that they, as your public, have a right to have their opinions about tv shadowed by yours. I mean, WHY? If you ask someone's opinion, and it differs from your own, and you take offense, why the hell did you ask?

In short, people complain to you guys, and they should learn to accept your reason. Tim Curry is not good. He never was. That SHOULD be made apparent to everyone.

Craig, those are sobering, well-reasoned words. You clearly put a lot of thought into that e-mail, and it shows. It's concise, well-argued and carries with it a stinging critique that all of our readers would do well to keep in mind.

And as such, it has no place at a Web site like this. Take your sobering, well-reasoned words and cram 'em, Poindexter. And don't ever let us catch you skulking around here again, Intellect Boy!

But none of that changes the fact that you people have become surly and ill-tempered and that we're at our wits end over what to do about it. Then, it hit us. Here you are, a happening cat or chick surfing the Net when really you ought to be finishing that report that's due on the boss' desk in half-an-hour. That's when you stumble across our little site and instead of having your rib tickled or your funny bone smashed with a blunt instrument by our humble little musings, you're offended by our puerile attitudes and obvious lack of smarts. And then you have to take even more time out of your day -- out of your busy day! -- to let us know what a bunch of rubes and feebs and jackballs we are.

We can only imagine how much that pisses you off. And deservedly so.

Take that letter we got from Robert Goulet. He's just finished rehearsals with the road company of "Camelot" and he decides to leap on the ol' World Wide Web to see what folks are saying about his good friend Rosie O'Donnell when his search engine brings him right to TeeVee.

And what does he find? Hatred. Scorn. Snide comments about Rosie's appearance in "Exit To Eden." Why, it probably enraged Robert Goulet to the point of blindness! And then he has to cut into his personal time to write e-mail explaining what a fine, fine, super-fine show Rosie does and how she's just a swell person and how "Exit To Eden" isn't that bad -- concepts even a child could understand but that are somehow beyond the grasp of those confounded TeeVee chimps.

So by the time that's all done, Robert Goulet is probably white-knuckling the keyboard and pounding on the table with a clenched fist. He's so worked up that he can't concentrate on that swinging remix of "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" that he was probably planning to record.

And that is humanity's loss.

Well, we simply can't bear the thought of causing anyone undue irritation -- whether it's a suave crooner or just the usual human wastrels who peruse our site. So as a sign of our eagerness to make your lives all the easier, we've drawn up this handy little "TeeVee Complaint" form letter. That way, when you've got a gripe -- and believe us when we say you've got plenty -- you can shave valuable seconds out of your busy day by just clipping the following abusive letter and sending it off to us.

All the contempt of your normal poison pen letter in half the time!

Dear TeeVee:

You bunch of (rubes/feebs/jackballs). Where do you get off criticizing an (actor/actress) like (Tim Curry/Tiffani-Amber Thiessen/Brooke Shields/Sharon Lawrence/Jay Leno/Ice-T/some other hack)? I find (his/her) work to be (outstanding/orgasm-inducing/slightly above average/not as bad as you make it out to be), and any reasonable person would feel the same. You're obviously (deeply troubled/immature/dumb as a bag of rocks/a flawed, if devilishly handsome, group of fellas) to write such horrible things. Besides, you're ignoring (his/her) many charitable acts on behalf of (unwed mothers/stray lemurs/Hungarian refugees/the common cold) and (his/her) (wonderful singing voice/impeccable table manners/above-the-board hygiene/gravity-defying breasts). Do us all a favor and (eat shit and die/eat crap and die/eat a low-calorie pasta salad and die).

(your name here)

Or better yet, you irritated readers out there could just follow the simple, eloquent example of Brett Fishpool, who dug deep into his heart to find just the right words to express how we felt about us Vidiots and our fine work.

you fuckups

That we are, Brett. That we are.

Additional contributions to this article by: Philip Michaels.


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