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

Rest in PAX

Today, PAX laid off 50 employees, including its president and a handful of vice presidents who handled everything from programming to advertising. If this is not the death toll for the so-called "network," it's certainly the sound of the hunchback doing limbering exercises before making that first running leap into the bells.

And while the first thing I should have thought was, "Oh, no! Network employees released into the wild!" what I actually thought was, "Please God, do not shut down this network. Keep it open, so that Billy Ray Cyrus may continue to toil far from the public eye."

For those who are lucky enough to have forgotten who Cyrus was: the man who exhorted us not to break his achy-breaky heart is now playing a homespun country doctor workin' in the city. So that people don't forget Cyrus is indeed playing a doctor, the show is titled Doc. The show is packed to the gills with the usual family-friendly elements: dialogue that thinks it's Oscar Wilde, yet should sign its name Oscar Meyer; plots so transparent, if they were clothing, the viewers would be writing irate letters to the FCC; moral messages so clearly telegraphed, the closed captioning should read "-.. --- -.-- --- ..- --. . - .. - ..--.. --- .-. ... .... --- ..- .-.. -.. .-- . ..- ... . ... . -- .- .--. .... --- .-. . ..-. .-.. .- --. ... - --- --- ..--.. "

(Which makes me wonder: why is "family-friendly" synonymous with "bone-headed" and "lame"? Surely not all families are collections of morons -- most are actually collections of people secretly convinced they're related to morons. Wouldn't your children resent you less if you stopped confusing their height with their IQ?)

Doc is on PAX. I know this because my mother, who is otherwise an uncanny dowsing rod for the next big thing on television, has a tremendous blind spot for this network. And on the rare occasion when I've been home and circumstances haven't dictated that we watch blizzard coverage, Mom's parked in front of the PAX on Sunday nights lest she miss Doc and Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye. I've been exposed to the PAX. I've seen what it does.

What it does, most notably and laudably, is keep Billy Ray Cyrus from unleashing a second epidemic of line dancing and moronic ditties on a battered nation. Country music has already set up an axis of banal with Kenny Chesney, Chely Wright and jingoistic cretin Toby Keith. We don't need Cyrus imploring us not to re-break his formerly achy, breaky heart. We don't need a revival of the mullet. What we need is a witness protection program for gimmicky "artists" whose moment has passed.

PAX was that program. And it may be argued that the friendliest thing it's done for families is to reduce their exposure to Billy Ray Cyrus. It's a worthwhile venture. So keep PAX alive! Support the cause!

Won't you do it for the families?


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