The new TV season is finally here! Everybody is so excited! You can tell by the exclamation points!
The critics are still out on how good, or how excruciatingly awful, the new and returning shows are. The best minds in Hollywood have been working hard for months creating what we all hope is compelling viewing.
But these aren’t the entertainment industry writing jobs I’d like to have. What I’d want to be is the guy responsible for the eight-word-or-less summaries that appear in the online listings that cable and satellite providers offer. In previous eons, we might’ve referred to this short literary form as a Japanese haiku, restricted to 17 syllables. These days, it’s probably more comparable to a tweet, only shorter.
Containing the bounty that is contemporary commercial broadcasting is no easy feat. Even the titles sometimes defy space parameters. Our local cable company posted the name of one popular sitcom as “The New Adventures of Old Christ…” for several weeks before evangelicals complained that there is no “Old Christ,” only the One, True Living Lord, Jesus Christ, and he’s not featured in a show starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, even as a walk-on.
Since I’m sure I’ll never get one of these precious jobs, I guess I’ll just have to play around on my own. What follows is my attempt to summarize possible plot lines for many of the programs debuting this week on network television.
Dancing With the Stars — Bristol Palin incinerated while touching partner Alpha Centauri
How I Met Your Mother — She was a “he” back then
Rules of Engagement — Rule One: Turn off the television
Two and a Half Men — Who cares about them? Watch for the hotties.
Mike & Molly — M&M meet an old friend; he slays them
Hawaii Five-O — Updated police classic still has hulas, fat guys
90210 — I thought this was cancelled long ago
House — House diagnoses a surprisingly common malady: shark-jumping
Chuck — Cheap meat cuts vie for cash and prizes
Gossip Girl — You won’t believe what she just said
Lone Star — They could afford only one recognizable actor
The Event — What will you believe? This show will fail.
Chase — Catch it!
No Ordinary Family — In fact, no family at all — just horses
Detroit 1-8-7 — Incredibly, the Lions play to seven ties
NCIS — No Cops In Sight, just good-looking investigators
NCIS: Los Angeles — Same as above, but really good-looking investigators
The Good Wife — Going against type, she eats a live kitten
One Tree Hill — There’s this tree, and it’s on this hill
Life Unexpected — No telling what will happen this week
Glee — Homo High qualifies for the regionals
Raising Hope — “Hope” is a person — clever, huh?
Running Wilde — Aesthete icon Oscar Wilde vows to finish marathon
Parenthood — Humans bear live young, and the fun ensues
The Middle — Investigating what makes a great sandwich
Better With You — Best of all, you go to Istanbul
Modern Family — The attractive Latina bends over several times
Cougar Town — Lions, leopards move in next door
The Whole Truth — Can you handle it? This show sucks hard
Survivor — Sweaty, hungry people are fortunately far away
Criminal Minds — Preserved brains grow feet, run amok
The Defenders — Let Binder & Binder help settle your claim
America’s Next Top Model — Sweaty, hungry people are getting closer
Hellcats — Don’t mess with these kitties; they’ll scratch ya
Lie to Me — Tell me I’m pretty, so very very pretty
Hell’s Kitchen — Just what you want: a pissed-off chef
Undercovers — Sheets, comforters, quilts do battle with evil
Law & Order: SVU — Police procedural is So Very Unwatchable
My Generation — People try to put them down
Grey’s Anatomy — Derek has a thing on his thing; ouch
Private Practice — Urologists, gynecologists solve crimes under cover
Big Bang Theory — Nerds talk pretentiously; somehow that’s considered funny
$#*! My Dad Says — This week, “motherfucker” and “shithead”
The Mentalist — Solving crimes with ESP; we’re so impressed
Vampire Diaries — Bloodthirsty undead blog about their lives, loves
Nikita — Former Soviet premier Khrushchev now a lithe Asian-ette
Bones — The ulna beats tibia senseless with fibula
Fringe — Like X-Files but everyone wears 60s vests
Community — Nobody that glib in real life
30 Rock — Jack tells Lemon to jump off a cliff
The Office — Someone left copier on “darken”; coffee is drunk
Outsourced — Indian accents are naturally hilarious
The Apprentice — Pressure, humiliation and Trump combine for smiles, tears
Secret Millionaire — Just in case Bush tax cuts expire
Body of Proof — A proofreader finds a mistake, is murdered
20/20 — Is it possible Hugh Downs is still alive?
Medium — Just try finding a sweatshirt in your size
Blue Bloods — Tom Selleck? You can’t be serious
Smallville — Superboy runs for mayor on Tea Party ticket
Supernatural — Neither super nor natural, it’s a pedestrian fraud
Human Target — Man, the most dangerous game (next to dodgeball)
Good Guys — Their name is “Good”, so are they; wacky!
Who Do You Think You Are?/School Pride — Probably some kind of Glee rip-off
Dateline NBC — This week’s predator: a 1200-pound grizzly
Outlaw — No summary necessary; no one will watch
Crimetime Saturday — Lucky viewers win a home invasion
48 Hours Mystery — The mystery: Why is this still on?
Cops — Viewers vie with viewees to see who’s skankier
America’s Most Wanted — He’s calling from inside your house!
America’s Funniest Home Videos — Finally, someone gets killed
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — Just blow it up and start over
Desperate Housewives — Bree gets upset, drinks a white wine spritzer
60 Minutes — Fortunately only 46 if you don’t count commercials
The Amazing Race — Contestants race to Swat Valley; several actually survive