If you wrote for TV Guide...

… how would you word the descriptions of particular episodes of the shows you watch? For example, I’d describe one episode of the original Star Trek as “Kirk meets the space hippies”.

Or you could cover 95% of all the episodes of Bewitched with “Endora casts a spell on Darrin, causing him to act strangely”.

“This week on Baywatch: Tits!”

Gilligan’s Island – They think they might get off the island, but they don’t.

Hogan’s Heroes – The Nazis get outsmarted.

Twilight Zone – All is not as it seems.

Beverly Hillbillies – The Clampetts can’t understand modern life. Mr. Drysdale tries to protect his bank.

Survivor – The castaways will do anything for a buck.

Andy Griffith – Nothing much happens, but Andy keeps things calm.

On the Simpsons: Crap that isn’t half as good as the earlier seasons.

On Mtv: No music at all, until 3 am, at which point our system shorts out and we accidentally play 5 seconds of a video you like, just to piss you off.

On CSpan: War rages in a small country you’ve never heard of and couldn’t possibly pronounce. Anchors Hair-piece moves slightly to the left as day moves on.

On Fox: High Quality Programming.

On PBS: dick jokes, scantily clad women jumping up and down, and 4 hours of pauly shore.

Survivor: The same shit you’ve seen every other week, the person you put your money on in the pool is voted off.

On the History Channel: Current Events.

Comedy Central: Same four hour block of programming on endless loop.

SciFi Channel: Same three hour block of programming on endless loop, plus one hour infomercial.

All three major networks: Exact same show as the other two networks, different cast.

HBO: Sopranos Sopranos Sopranos

History Channel: Germany loses again. (Gratuitous Simpson quote: Ahh, the Luftewaffe. The Washington Generals of the history channel.)


WB: The eternal cold of hard vacuum. Plus, Seventh Heaven.

There was once a Far Side cartoon where a bunch of writers for Bewitched were sitting around a table, coming up with ideas. One guy says, “Hey! I’ve got it: Endora casts a spell on Darrin, and no one can figure out what the heck is going on until Sam finally catches on!” and a lady thinks, “I like it.”

Saturday Night Live: Skits about characters you can’t stand to watch, without punchlines.

The Real World - Self absorbed 20 year olds talk about themselves incessantly.

The View - Four or five women talk and talk and talk.

The Man Show - Immature men talk dirty about sex.

QVC - Hucksters try to sell you crap.

Dr. Laura - Fake doctor pretends she’s moral and not political.

Three’s Company: A misunderstanding creates a situation that isn’t very funny.

The Brady Bunch - Feelings are hurt, but family pulls together.

Imus in the Morning - The Cadaver replays last week’s bits and surrounds himself with people funnier than he ever dreamed of being.

The West Wing - Sam becomes an earnest advocate. Toby becomes prickly. C.J. feels underappreciated. POTUS frets, then decides.

Big Brother - Every remaining person turns out to be an asshole. The ones who left were no prizes, either.

The Mole - Anderson Cooper makes a wry remark. Everyone behaves in inconsistent and incomprehensible fashion.

NYPD Blue - Andy and his partner bust perp, but perp is a lousy junkie skel. Skel perp threatens to get lawyered up, so Andy has to make him go for the whole thing or they gotta kick him. At home, Andy battles demons. Theo says something adorable. Nobody else in squad does anything worth writing about.

Hardball With Chris Matthews - Chris plays Hardball, Runs the Numbers, raises his voice for no reason.

CNN - Chandra News Network

Law & Order - Ripped from the headlines. Whatever you do, don’t miss the last five minutes!

E.R. - A crisis strikes the E.R.


Les Miserables - A man steals a loaf of bread and never hears the end of it.

The Wizard of Oz - Teenage runaway on psychedelic trip ends up in strange town, kills first person she meets. Immediately forms a roving gang to find and kill the sister of her first victim. Parents Strongly Cautioned

The Ten Commandments - Moses rains on everybody’s parade.

Perry Mason - Wrong person is accused of a crime, the last person on the witness stand is the actual culprit.

Murder, She Wrote - Wrong person is accused of a crime, the last person on the witness stand is the actual culprit.

Matlock - Wrong person is accused of a crime, the last person on the witness stand is the actual culprit.

Quincy - Wrong person is accused of a crime, the last person on the witness stand is the actual culprit. Sam makes coffee.

Flipper - TBA: one of three episodes:[list=A]
[li] - Someone tries to hurt the environment; Flipper saves the day.[/li][li] - Someone tries to take Flipper away from Bud and Sandy. Everything turns out fine.[/li][li] - Bud’s hare-brained scheme to make money gets him trapped in a cave; Flipper saves the day.[/li][/list=A]

Lassie - TBA: one of four episodes:[list=A]
[li] - Someone tries to hurt the local farm animals or townfolk; Lassie saves the day.[/li][li] - Lassie is wrongly accused of injuring local farm animals or townfolk; everything turns out fine.[/li][li] - Lassie is hurt, but returns home safely.[/li][li] - Timmy is trapped in a mine/well/cave/rockslide; Lassie saves the day.[/li][/list=A]

MASH - Alan Alda’s ego runneth over…again!

Friends: Chandler makes puns. Phoebe is in her own world. Joey stupidly makes a mess; Monica cleans it up. Rachel gets frustrated; Ross gets married.

Fraiser: Fraiser and Niles consume enormous amounts of caffeine and expensive alcohol, then wonder why their lives are so messed up.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In a gripping episode, the entire cast makes puns and pop references. Also: things die.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: In a touching family-friendly episode, Sabrina wanders around in tight leather pants. Pre-pubescent lesbians, prepare to feel all “tingly”.

ER: In a reprise of her Emmy-nominated role, Sally Fields yells.