We watch... so you don't have to.

You Too Can Be A Television Critic!

Feeling powerless? Empty? Sick of your go-nowhere job and your do-nothing life? Let me help YOU take control.

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Still skeptical? That shows a well-trained mind, friend. But just listen to this testimonial from cyber-columnist Matt Drudge:

"I used to think of myself as a hack, unable to string two sentences together without tripping over my awkward prose. In fact, the day before I read Power For Critical Living--The TeeVee Way!, I was holed up in a cheap hotel, a shotgun in my mouth and ready to end it all. But the book not only gave me the power to live -- it helped me start my own Web site. Now I'm a respected journalist with a new leash on life. If I could only follow one 12-step program, it would be Power For Critical Living--The TeeVee Way!"

Do you, like Matt, have what it takes? Are you, like Matt, ready to take control? Then it's time to take a little quiz:

1. Do you hear voices that tell you to do bad things?

2. Do you believe that unseen forces are conspiring to destroy you and only you?

3. When you turn off your television, does it involve in any way, shape or form, using a firearm?

If you have answered "yes" all three questions, you may have what it takes to work in the glamorous field of celebrity journalism. You have the power within to do as I do, to make a go of it as an internationally read and respected TV critic -- a world where every paycheck is a treasure trove, every meal a banquet and every episode of Suddenly Susan a Must See event.

So read on, friend, and learn....

The 12 Steps To Teevee Enlightenment

Step #1: Acknowledge Your Higher Power

In case you're wondering, it's me, Margaret.

Step #2: You have a sacred duty.

People who work in the television industry are curious animals. Take, for example, James Van Der Beek of Dawson's Creek. Despite all the fame, the riches, the sex, and the adulation of the masses -- in the dark recesses of his heart, he feels like a fraud and that he deserves nothing.

As a television critic, it is your responsibility to remind him that, yes, not only does he not deserve the special position he has achieved, but that it can disappear with a snap of the fingers!

Step #3: You aren't just sitting on your ass watching TV. You're keeping your finger on the pulse of American pop culture.

Sure, it looks easy, but watching TV on several different levels is hard work requiring hours of exhaustive study and a ready supply of snacks, often within arm's reach of the couch.

Not only must you know the difference between, say, Sister Sister's Tia and Tamara (Here's a hint: Tia is the evil one), but you have to put it into a sociological context, i.e., the twins represent the African-American community's unspoken desire to "live the good life" but still "be down with the 'hood."

See? And I just made that up!

Step #4: Your opinions do matter!

Just because you don't work for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, doesn't mean your opinions aren't legitimate! Believe you me, the TV critic there is just as much a loser as you are. Except for the fact that he's better paid, gets into better parties and has the respect and admiration of his colleagues.

Step #5: Hate is Your Friend.

Take a show like The Practice. Oh, sure, there's a lot to like about it -- clever writing, first-rate acting, and the tasty Lara Flynn Boyle. But think about this: while you're watching The Practice and eating Dinty Moore Beef Stew out of a can Sunday nights, executive producer David Kelley is most likely making passionate love to his beautiful wife, Michelle Pfieffer.

Feel the lump in your throat? That, friend, is what we call "your motivation."

Step #6: Abstain, dammit, and avoid heavy petting!

How the hell can you think about sex at a time like this, when America -- nay the world -- awaits your treatise on "George Wendt and the Politics of the Neutered White Male"!

Step #7: Whiskey: That Magic Elixir of Creativity.

Now it can be told -- liquor not only makes you more creative, but it loosens you up and allows to "tell it like it is." If you don't believe me, ask the major metropolitan daily newspaper TV critic of your choice!

As a bonus, liquor also makes you infinitely more attractive than you actually are! Again, ask the major metropolitan daily newspaper TV critic of your choice. I mean, I've been drinking since before noon, and damn, but Tom Shales is a handsome man!

Step #8: Now that you're drunk, horny and full of unbridled rage, it is time to write.

Just type whatever pops into your head -- and don't be afraid to be self-indulgent! Include the most trivial and inane details of your life -- talk about your dad's 8-track tape collection, your taste for hardcore porno, or your strange and unhealthy fascination for Dirk Benedict! Start the article off with a quote from Nietzsche, Susan Sontag, Ward Cleaver, or Bananarama -- they'll make you sound like you really know what you're talking about! Feel free to use excessive and needless profanity, readers will think it's fucking cool. And if all else fails -- make fun of Tori Spelling.

Step #9: The obscure television reference. Use them and use them often.

And for god's sake, practice! For example, you should try to incorporate them into everyday conversation: "Eating dinner with my family was like hanging out with that Neanderthal family from Korg 70,000 B.C. -- except you didn't have Burgess Meredith to explain what the hell was going on."

And when people ask what exactly was Korg 70,000 B.C.? Well...

Step #10: Master the snide reply.

For those times when someone dares to challenge your authority over pop culture, there is what I like to simply call "The Move."

Look at the person disdainfully, shake your head, sigh and reply as if speaking to a retarded school boy, "Korg 70,000 was an ABC Saturday morning show in 1974 about a Neanderthal family coping everyday trials of prehistoric life. For Chrissakes, how could you miss it? It came on right after Devlin! Good day, sir. I said, good day!"

It helps to practice in front of a mirror.

Step #11: What about fairness and accuracy?

Relax. You're writing for the Internet.

Step #12: Never ever forget your audience.

Those shut-ins, prisoners, lonely housewives, and college students named Larry who are really into "irony" are counting on you!

There. Do you feel the personal power growing within you? You have taken your first steps into a larger world. Now, you just need to find the time.

No need to worry! Stay tuned to this site for my next guide "How to look like you're working, when in fact you're writing an article for your TV web site!"


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