Pat's View: “Niche TV”
There was a movie on TV the other night. Lots of them, actually. But the one I watched had various sub-plots, none of them compelling.
But what makes the film notable is that it all centered on people eating a huge, fabulous meal. It all looked so tasty that by the time the film was over, I was hungrier than the Kardashians are for attention.
The Food Network has the same attraction---just watching people prepare yummy dishes brings out the Pavlovian dog in many of us. I now keep a drool cup right next to the TV remote.
Not all TV offerings have the same effect. When the History Channel comes on, I don’t run out to buy a helmet and machine gun.
I don’t have a hankering to wrestle a python just because I see a guy doing it on Animal Planet.
I do not grab my Visa card to buy a 14 karat Muzo Colombian emerald ring just because the Home Shopping Network says so. I do it because my wife says so.
Yet, every time I find myself sitting in front of the TV watching the Food Network, I cannot turn away. There is a gluttonous allure to it. It helps if you are already shallow.
If you think about it, the idea of an entire network devoted to nothing but the worship of food is more than a bit weird. People such as Emeril Lagasse’ and Rachel Ray are lionized in a way that ought to be reserved for the truly great: Statesmen, artists, scientists---and finalists on Dancing with the Stars.
Bruce Springsteen wrote a song in 1992 called ‘57 Channels and Nothing On.’ His point was that more choices do not always mean better ones. But nowadays, the title might be ‘557 Channels and Nothing On. Except the Food Network.’
I stupidly signed up for a TV service that offers around 12,000 channels or so. I watch perhaps six of them. Even my fav Food Network does not always ring my bell. The other night somebody was making something with eggplant---which tastes like neither egg nor plant. Slugs would taste better. (In fact, slugs ARE better. Just don’t salt them too heavily.)
It occurs to me that we need food networks that specialize in stuff we like. For myself, the Pancake Network comes to mind. Or the Dessert Network.
For my friend, Dean---it’s the Beer Channel all the way.
Another acquaintance---Tony---said wants to see the Grass Network. I never realized he was such a lawn buff.
After consulting with friends, other TV networks that are badly needed include:
ESPN (Entertainment and Shoes Programming Network)
The Food With-No-Weight-Gain Network
The Someone-Else-Cleaning-My-House Channel
The Well-built, Shirtless Handyman Who Fixes Stuff Channel
The Skinny Supermodels Being Slapped Around by All Other-Sized Women Channel
The Rude Body Noises Channel
The Attractive Women Who Actually Prefer Guys With Big Guts and Thinning Hair Network
The Everything Big Network
The Dirty Joke Channel
Come to think of it---in a growing universe of preferences, should not there also be a Ying network for every Yang channel?
For example, if there’s Food Network shouldn’t there also be Fasting Network?
The Outdoor Channel is fine. But I know plenty of people who would prefer the Indoor Channel.
The Learning Channel needs to be balanced with the Playing Hooky Channel.
Animal Planet? Some might prefer Shrub Planet.
There’s The Military Channel. Why not The Pacifist Channel?
And the Travel Channel would get stiff competition from the Lazy-Boy Recliner Channel.
Meanwhile, I’ll eagerly welcome new channels to come---maybe some of them as
appealing as the Food Network.
One called The Swimming Network would be nice.
But I’d be careful never to watch it within an hour of watching the Food Network.
Pat can be seen on the top-rated sketch show “Up Late NW” airing Saturday and Sunday nights on KING 5---and on stations throughout Washington and Oregon. He also co-hosts a weekly on-line talk show: Peculiarpodcast.com