Some mornings, I don’t want the television on. I don’t want anyone to talk to me, I don’t want to have to return phone calls or e-mails, and I wish that instead of choosing the career path I’m on, I’d joined one of those nunneries where you take a vow of silence and everyone just leaves you alone in your convent in the middle of the woods.
Other mornings, I can’t get enough of the wacky hijinks on the fourth hour of the Today show, and the travesty that is Access Hollywood Live, which, at least in the Los Angeles market, airs at 11 a.m. It used to be, I couldn’t turn the channel fast enough when Kathie Lee and Hoda were finished, but one day, too busy with a story I was working on (yes, sometimes I write my fluffier articles in front of the television), I was unable to change it to something else. Instead, I watched with horror and fascination as Billy Bush and Kit Hoover (who was on the original Road Rules) loudly discussed the latest in Hollywood news and interviewed a random assortment of C-list actors and pop culture figures. It basically boiled down to them saying what they thought was right and that was that. No room for debate; if Billy Bush said it, it was gospel.
Now, I find myself leaving it on Channel 4, even when Hoda and Kathie Lee are long gone. Maybe it’s because Access Hollywood Live isn’t as train-wrecky as so many of these entertainment news programs are – you know, the one’s with exclusives like “Meet the kitten strung out on meth who rescued his blind owner from drowning!” But still, there really is no reason why I should watch it. I don’t care for shows like Extra or Entertainment Tonight, and I think Billy Bush is an oh-so-repulsive mix of equal parts smug and judgmental. They don’t make any startling revelations on the show, or add anything to the entertainment discourse, and they act as though we should care what happens to Michael Lohan and the Real Housewives of Wherever. Although I really do like Kit, that is not enough to support me watching this dumb show.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and I try to spend seven or eight of those hours sleeping. I don’t like the idea of wasting those precious few hours I have where I am not working on shows like Access Hollywood Live and the other idiotic programs I sometimes find myself watching. If I added up all the hours I spent zoned out in front of them, I would probably cry. So why do I do it?
It’s an escape, yes, but there are certainly hundreds of other television shows that are considered escapist, and when I’m done watching them I have learned something more than what practical joke George Clooney is getting ready to play on Brad Pitt. I truly wonder if it’s just that by 11 a.m., I am just too lazy to turn the channel. I have already been awake and working for hours, and my brain just refuses to keep chugging along. As a coping mechanism, perhaps my subconscious is telling me, “It’s OK, you don’t have to find the remote. Give in and allow yourself to relax to the sights and sounds of Richard Simmons in a tutu offering dance instructions.” Or, maybe Billy Bush has some sort of bizarre hold over viewers, and I can’t fight it. It wouldn’t be the first time a member of that family had a terrible grip over the country.
Help me feel better about my decisions and choices. What is the stupidest show you watch? Do you feel ashamed, or do you own it?