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TV Like Your Smelly Old Couch

If you've managed to stay awake for more than twenty minutes of it, you might have noticed that the 2002 Fall Season seems a little, shall we say, uninspired? Nah, let's not say that. Let's say, "rehashed and shitty." According to a recent CNN puff piece that I accidentally sat through when I was too drunk to change the channel, the networks crafted the "new" season like that on purpose. They call it "Comfort TV."

Supposedly, the fine people that make TV happen have determined that, in these turbulent, post-September 11 times, people want entertainment that makes them feel safe and comfortable. They most definitely do not want their television to give them any yucky feelings, such as tension, fear, passion, mild interest, or rational thought of any kind.

You may think that this fall's lineup is filled with tired retreads because network executives wouldn't know an original concept if it slithered out of their rectums and asked for a lemon cookie. Not so! They simply recognize the soothing comfort of the familiar. Don't think of Family Affair as a horrible remake of a show that people remember as being pretty horrible to begin with. Think of it as a comfortable old shoe. It may stink to high heaven, but its threadbare canvas still cradles and supports you lovingly, like the embrace of a lifelong friend.

Because sometimes thrice-recycled premises just aren't comforting enough, there are also two shows about being young and dumb in the '60's, and two other shows about being young and wise in the '80's. What could be more calming than gentle nostalgia? Well, sure, there might have been one or two icky wars, standoffs, and Mid-East crises going on during those decades. But don't worry 'bout that, 'cause they're gonna focus on Bandstand.

In addition to the multiple nostalgia-fests mentioned above, we've got two identical shows about rogue doctors, two CSI's (three if you count Without a Trace), and three Law and Orders (five if you count Robbery Homicide Division and Boomtown). Why so many copies of the same damned show? It's because those thoughtful programmers don't want to jar you by presenting you with difficult choices.

So don't be bitter about yet another season of the same old crap. Instead, give thanks to your network pals, who work so hard to enable you and I to remain emotionally comatose. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing warmth of tedium. Because if you don't, the terrorists win.


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