Talk of the Town - Season’s beatings September 02 2004

Or, why I learned to read

The new television season is a lot like banking, with fewer and worse choices merged into bigger, not-so-better monoliths. Sitcoms are out. Reality is king. The dancing cigarette pack of yore is starting to look like Masterpiece Theater. But air one unexpected bizzaro runaway hit and it could all change in the blink of a Nielsen family.

The only sure thing? My cable bill will go up another couple of bucks next month — and every month thereafter. Deregulation, ‘tis a grand notion. Anyway, here’s a pseudo-preview of what you might expect in prime time.

8 p.m. (REALITY TV) “Meet Joe Sociopath” (new contestant each week)

8:30 (DICTATOR) “My So-Called Reich.” Goering enters a blutwurst-eating contest without telling the Gestapo.

9 (UNNATURAL) “Cockroach Racing”

9:30 (BADHISTORY) “Lug Nuts of the Crimean War”

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “This Old Crack House.” Fixing troublesome pipes.

10:30 (BIMBO) “Beach Beanbag Finals”

11 (GRADE Z) “Abbott and Costello Meet the Mensheviks” ** (1936) The boys get mixed up with Leon Trotsky and a plan to collectivize the Dust Bowl. Dig that Woody Guthrie score.

8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) “Trading Louses”

8:30 (DICTATOR) “Everybody Loves Stalin.” Joe gets a cold reception when he attacks the Finnish neighbors.

9 (BADHISTORY) “Ancient Geeks”

9:30 (REALITY TV) “Deer Factor.” Combination first-day-of-hunting/season finale.

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Iraqi Makeover.” This week: remodeling with rocket-propelled grenades.

10:30 (BIMBO) “Soccer Mom: SUV.” Housewife catches crooks by unintentionally running them over with a gigantic gas-guzzler.

11 (GRADE Z) “Nightmare on Orthopedic Street.” (2004) * Freddy Krueger gets so old he forgets to kill people.

8 p.m. (UNNATURAL) “Winnie-the-Dust Mite”

8:30 (BIMBO) “World’s Wildest Botox Videos”

9 (REALITY TV) “Outside the Jury Room.” 3 Musketeers vs. O’Henry.

9:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Sinkhole Appeal”

10 (BADHISTORY) “Celebrity Poker Genocide”

10:30 (DICTATOR) “Castro & Colmes.” Liberal commentator sentenced to five years in prison. (repeat)

11 (GRADE Z) “Gold Diggers of 2004.” (unregulated) Lobbyists sing and dance their way through Congress. Pharmaceutical finale has great special psychotropic effects.

8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) “Extreme Ethnic Cleansing”

8:30 (REALITY TV) “Big Brother XXVIII.” Company monitors every e-mail written by employees. Wait, it’s already been done.

9 (UNNATURAL) “The Weakest Mink”

9:30 (DICTATOR) “Kaddafi Duck”

10 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Divine Doublewides.” Your host: Bubba Flotsam.

10:30 (BIMBO) “Merdur, She Almost Wrote”

11 (GRADE Z) “Carnival of Blood Red Tape.” (2002/horror) Normal taxpayer trapped in DMV office for 48 hours. No one will be admitted during the eye-test sequence!

8 p.m. (REALITY TV) “Things I Hate About Mimes.” Highest-rated show on television.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Decoupage with Lint.” From the dryer to your desk.

9 (BIMBO) “World Series of Stiletto Heels.” Brought to you by the National Association of Chiropodists.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) “Awesomely Bad Air Strikes.” U.S. Air Force vs. Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

10 (UNNATURAL) “Weird, Wonderful Wombats”

10:30 (DICTATOR) “Who’s the Fuehrer?” German foreign policy loses altitude when Rudolf Hess flies to England.

11 (GRADE Z) “Willie Wonka and the Deficit Factory.” (2000: sequel in preparation) Eccentric chocolate factory magnate becomes right-wing president, manufactures gigantic budget shortfall in no time at all. Your move.

8 p.m. (BADHISTORY) “Modern Morons”

8:30 (REALITY TV) “CEO Perp Walks”

9 (DICTATOR) “Mr. Himmler’s Neighborhood”

9:30 (UNNATURAL) “The Incredible, Edible Slug”

10 (BIMBO) “Butter Me Up!”

10:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Hovel Hunters”

11 (GRADE Z) “Tarzan the Ape CPA.” (1940) Jane makes him get a white-collar job with benefits and a clothing allowance.

8 p.m. (REALITY TV) “Who’ll Deport My Dad?” First-generation Americans punk the foreign-born paterfamilias.

8:30 (HOME IMPROVEMENT) “Weekend Arsonist”

9 (UNNATURAL) “Parrot Makeovers.” When feathers go out of fashion.

9:30 (BADHISTORY) “Fascist Feud”

10 (BIMBO) “The Thong Show”

10:30 (DICTATOR) “That’s So Franco”

11 (GRADE Z) “He Wore a Yellow Ribbon.” (1969) Recently discovered John Ford film — last of his classic Westerns — with a cross-dressing John Wayne who fights Apaches and a plunging neckline.

Glen Slattery is remote behind the control in Alpharetta.