Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Circle or triangle? The shape of TV-watching hell

Man, at times like these, it's really nice to have a blog as an outlet for anxiety. Tuesday nights were already difficult enough for me, having to choose between Scrubs and House, both on at 9 p.m. EST.

Scrubs has been on the air longer, and I can't just forget the laughter and joy J.D., Turk, Elliott, Carla, and the gang have brought me over the past few years. To me, it's the funniest show on TV, and I watch each episode two or three times because I want to soak up every joke and visual gag it throws at me, and then see them all over again.

Yet I can't relegate House to second fiddle. I love that ornery bastard. And I really love his assistant, Dr. Cameron. Plus, my main partner in TV-watching crime, Mis Hooz, enjoys the show and I have to be there for her when she wants to rehash the latest episode. Besides, I'm the one who got her watching it in the first place. I can't just abandon her. But I wouldn't want to anyway, because it's a great show.

I was doing okay when FOX was showing reruns of House, or pre-empting it altogether, in favor of American Idol. But it was just delaying the inevitable. There was going to be a conflict. Ideologies would clash. Loyalties would be tested. There was going to be a conflict. Ideologies would clash. Loyalties would be tested. An Ian would be divided.

But now, I'm in a TV circle of hell. Or more appropriately, a triangle. I was bummed when CBS cancelled Love Monkey. I'm not even sure it was that good of a show. It seemed formulaic, kind of a male version of Sex and the City, with its group of thirty-something singles trying to find love in Manhattan. And it probably tried a little too hard to be cool, with its pop music soundtract, product placement, and awkward musician cameos. But I liked it. At least I wanted to like it. But CBS didn't really give me - or anyone else watching the show - a chance, setting it on the curb after only three episodes.

VH1 came to my rescue, deciding to broadcast all eight episodes of the show, including the five that never aired. Happiness! Joy! Bliss! Even if it doesn't get picked up again by another network (the new CW?), I could finally decide if I really liked the show, or if I just enjoyed it as a way to pass the hour before bedtime on Monday nights.

Except VH1 isn't showing Love Monkey on Monday nights. No, it reached its arms around me in a warm embrace, only so it could reach my back, stab me, and twist the knife for good measure.

When is VH1 running the show? Tuesday nights. 9 p.m. Oh, what fresh hell is this?

Last night wasn't so bad. VH1 ran a three-episode marathon of all the episodes that CBS already showed. So I was able to watch House, and tape Scrubs without being wooed by the third corner of my TV triangle. Next Tuesday, however, VH1 will begin showing the unaired episodes of Love Monkey. The circle of hell (It's a triangle, it's a circle - it's malleable, okay? Like, uh, a pipe cleaner... or something) draws in tighter.

But the two incumbent shows taunted me, wantonly curling their seductive index fingers at me. On House, the patient - the person whose life the doctors were trying to save - was named Ian. Oh, and Dr. Cameron was muy caliente in a strapless red dress. Meanwhile, Scrubs made a joke about House, when Dr. Kelso said to Dr. Cox, "You're so edgy and cantankerous - you're like House, without the limp." And craziest of all, the star of Love Monkey, Tom Cavanagh, made a guest appearance as J.D.'s brother! Why not just give me the middle finger instead?

I couldn't enjoy any of it. I was too conflicted, trying to work out some twisting scenario in my brain that would enable me to watch all three shows next week. Circle of hell. Drawing in tighter. Like a noose around my neck.

Why must you torture me, TV? Why must you play games with my mind and heart? Why can't you just lay back, let me ravish you, and fix me a sandwich afterwards, instead of making me fret, beg, and work for my pleasure? You're a cruel temptress, and I know you're enjoying this. Damn you, TV. I'd damn you to hell, except I'm already there.