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Everybody Loves Reruns

Now that the season finales have finally made their way off the grand stage of network television, it's time for the best part of television: the reruns.

I'm not talking about the syndicated Friends reruns they show in the afternoons. I mean, I have nothing against them, except that the fifth time around, I'm pretty sure Ross and Rachel aren't going to patch things up in this episode. I'm talking about the reruns that are about to be showing up opposite Who Wants To Be A... actually, you know what? I think I'm going to do this without talking about that particular show. There's plenty of television to mock without trotting out Regis for a quick laugh.

Back to my subject: it's my theory that even the worst show on television can put out one good episode. And even the best show will put out a stinker. The trick, of course, is to watch only the good episodes.

At this point, you're thinking I wait until the rerun season to watch the good episodes from the bad shows. Nope. The bad shows don't live this long. If I waited until now to watch Secret Agent Man, I'd be fresh out of luck, wouldn't I? Oh, your plan sounded good at first, but it was grievously flawed. Because the clever part about rerun season is that this is when the shows that survived are all over the place.

And that means that natural selection has done my work for me. As long as I can steer clear of the wreackage that is Diagnosis Murder, whatever I run across will probably have some merit. This is where I benefit from a country full of viewers doing my market research for me. And meanwhile, I got to spend the regular season searching for hidden gems. Not that I found any this time around, but in a couple of years, who's going to be able to contradict me when I claim that The Beat was a great show? After all, I've been raving for years about Jason Bateman's brilliant It's Your Move (September, 1984), and no one's called me a liar yet.

And now that I can turn my attention to Buffy and The West Wing and whatever other shows are supposed to be good, I can rely on other people to have done my market research for me. I'm not just talking about places like this very website alerting me to the fact that "This Friday, the best-ever episode of Steve Harvey airs!" I'm talking about the buffoons I work with. They've been talking for months about this episode of Malcolm in the Middle or that episode of Angel, or the very special episode of The King of where Jerry Stiller gets his first period. Now I can watch the high spots of each of these shows without having to endure the chaff.

Not only that, this is where the networks trot out the extra episodes. Let's say you've got a mysterious attachment to Eddie Murphy's claymation extravanganza The PJs. Well, hey there, cowboy! Somebody paid good money for several hours of unseen PJs, and the network is danged if it won't put 'em on somewhere.

And the summer replacements! Whoo! For those of you that rolled your eyes when I mentioned Secret Agent Man, wait'll you see the short-term shows that clutter up the schedules in the coming weeks. Oh boy! And not only "series"; the rejected pilots will be shown. I remember getting to see the pilot of Tag Team several years ago. This was a show starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Jesse "The Body" Ventura as wrestlers-turned-cops. And if it weren't for the summer replacements, I would never have had the chance to bore everyone I know to death with that story over and over again.

So, friends, do not bewail the summer reruns! Do not give in to the temptation to give your valuable television-watching time over to watching those Japanese porn videos! And whatever you do, do not turn off your set! I repeat, do not start reading Finnegans Wake instead! There is nothing James Joyce can give you that the rerun season cannot provide! Embrace the reruns! Search out the hidden gems!

Of course, having said all that, I should admit that while writing this, I was watching "Happy Gilmore" instead of a series show.


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