Television is tricky. At its best, it is a machine for compelling visual art and a great transmitter of important information. At its worst, it will reach across your coffee table, open up your head, steal half of your brain, and replace it with cookie dough. Of course, that last part really stings because you can’t even access the cookie dough to eat it. Television figuratively pours salt in the wound by literally pouring cookie dough in the wound. Television can be a jerk that way, but then it makes it up to you by providing some of the greatest entertainment of our time.
I watched a lot of television this summer, like most summers before it, and also all the rest of the seasons — and by “season” I mean both the subdivision of the year and the unit of network programming. In fact, I’ve watched enough television for 10 normal people. You might be thinking to yourself “How can anyone watch that much television without adverse effects?” When you are literally a master of television-watching like me, you don’t have to worry about things like adverse effects. You do have to worry about how to avoid Mr. Magoo-ing into a manhole while watching a television that is mounted to your eyeglasses, but that’s life.
I know that I will one day have to own those special TV specs, or at least duct tape my iPhone to my sunglasses. There is nothing I can do. My love of television-watching puts me at great risk, and despite rigorous Sex-Ed classes and even more rigorous lesbianism, I still have no protection from manholes. However, I have come up with something to save myself from the aforementioned brain stealing and replacement with cookie dough. It is a simple equivalency system; feel free to adopt it and/or substitute shows as you see fit.
I call it: “The TV Table.” In order to use the table, simply look up the brain-stealing show in the left-hand column then, moving right, find your antidote. For example, if someone watches one episode of American Idol, then must merely watch twelve episodes of The Wire or one Louie to rebuild the stolen brain cells. This should come in handy next January when American Idol airs for twenty-nine straight days.
If the show you just watched is not listed, just approximate where it would fall on the brain-stealing spectrum. The higher up on the left-hand column a show is, the defter it is at stealing your brain. That previous sentence marked literally the first time that Tosh.0 has been referred to as deft. Also, the more powerful a TV show is at brain-stealing, the more potent the antidote TV program must be in order to replace all that cookie dough in your cranium with brains. Additionally, the felony brain-stealers are not recommended viewing. Especially, Entourage — it is not recommended that you watch Entourage.
The neutral shows are just that, they neither steal nor replace brain. Note: all antidote shows should be taken during their finest seasons. Season eight of The Office will not work as well as season five, but season three is a wonder drug. You can take these with or without food, but some white cheddar popcorn never hurt anybody. Lastly, if during an emergency power outage or other dire circumstances, none of these programs can be obtained there is another option. Supposedly, you can take literally any book, hardcover or paperback, and open it up. Some studies have shown that reading words one after another, on the pages of books, can be a very useful method of fighting brain-stealing. I’ll have to try that sometime.