Published: May 9, 2012 12:00:00 PM

bad-old-tv.jpgI have seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest on so many unfortunate occasions. That's the second one in the trilogy and 90 minutes of it are boring. Fortunately (well, not really), it's a 2.5 hour movie, and there are some wicked cool stunts -- and fortunately (really, this time), it is on TV all the damn time. It's also not a very good movie. However, a poor movie can make for entertaining TV. Bad TV can do a lot for you, and it's an important garnish to your entertainment dish.

Don't just take the good with the bad; love the sin itself. Own the bad television. Make it work for you because it can do so much for you.

9 Things That Bad TV Does For You:

  1. It adds a superiority complex.
    What? Like you've never leapt at the opportunity to assert your snobbishness? Just like bragging about veganism and how much money using ZipCar can save you, a person's choice in TV is often a big part of one's personality, and if you want to be a dick about it, you can use the existence of bad TV to pad your superiority complex. See? Just by existing, you owe bad television something. You hipster-doofus.
  2. It educates you on how good the good TV actually is.
    The other side of that coin is that after you watch some trashy television, and then go back over to watching some of the really good stuff (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Community, among many), you suddenly slap your forehead, understanding how terrible Whitney and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation really are. It's a "don't realize how good you've got it" scenario. Be glad that there is decent entertainment out there on the airwaves, lest you be left to the machinations of Chuck Lorre.
  3. If you ignore it, you aren't necessarily missing anything.
    Did you miss an episode of Jersey Shore? It doesn't matter. Every episode is the same! What about NCIS? I betcha it ended with an old guy slapped the cuffs on somebody's disrespectful grandson. It's predictable C-level poetry -- a pile of palette-cleansing after-dinner mint that congeals in a brass bowl next to the maître d's podium. They'll always be there for you to suck on when you're too indifferent to care that its formula hasn't changed since 1971.
  4. It teaches you to be comfortable with absurdity within rigid story-structure.
    Speaking of formula, sometimes a simple-recipe cake is all you want. Maybe even simpler. Maybe you want a Drake's Coffee Cake right out of the plastic wrapper. Sure, it's absurd that you can get baked goods out of a bag, but it's teaching you to be okay with the idea that there are going to be murder cases every goddamn week in Miami, and Caruso is going to solve them. It's all inside of a rigid formula, and sometimes the only way to swallow that kind of weirdness is if it's baked into a very generic cake. I think I lost the metaphor in there somewhere but you get the idea.
  5. It makes you ask yourself if you've completed all of your actual tasks.
    Lying down to watch a re-run of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer on FX? Wait, before you relinquish your afternoon to an awful, awful, terrible, movie, make sure you've completed all of your actual work, otherwise you'll hate yourself for blowing all that time on the couch eating gummi bears and watching a movie starring Jessica Alba and Michael Chiklis. Guard your pride -- it's okay to watch terrible TV if you did important stuff first.
  6. It reminds you what the lowest common denominator looks like.
    Do you often wonder that you've become TOO cool? Perhaps this has distanced you from your friends, loved ones, or your generic run-of-the-mill plebian. It's entirely possible. Maybe you need to get back into touch with the lowest common denominator, yeah? The lowest common denominator misses you. You never call. Don't betray your roots. You used to be such a happy, non-specific consumer. It's cozy back in the land of shitty TV. Remember how good you used to have it.
  7. It gives you pop-culture fodder to giggle at.
    Alternatively, what's better than getting your chortles about the dorkiness of bad television? Burn Notice (or any two-word punny-titled show about cops, lawyers, or doctors on USA) is laughable, sure, and yet it's memorable, and it's fun to point and laugh at with friends. It's easy to talk about this stuff because, like I said before, it's the lowest common denominator, and every episode is the same, so everybody can talk about how utterly-imbicilic the episode of The Paulie D Project is. One. THE episode because there is only the single one, that is painted and repainted a certain shade of orange.
  8. It makes you realize how comforting of a blanket pop culture is.
    Sit there, don't move, don't think, shut the whole operation down, and reboot. Did you just sit through season 3 of The Wire? Did the last season of Lost just piss you off? Bring things back to zero. Take a weekend and watch a marathon of Yeti movies on SyFy. They're so awesome. They're so terrible. Comforting that you got to experience that, wasn't it? Now get back out there and watch some True Blood (which sort of already falls into the "bad TV" category, doesn't it?).
  9. It helps you sleep.
    Only golf is a better sedative than bad TV. It's background noise that will give you goofy nap-dreams. You're welcome.

So what else can be said? It's horrible, passive entertainment that will cook you a decent dinner and not ask you difficult moral questions. It's terrible. But we fucking need it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go watch Robot Jox.

-- Alex Crumb (originally published 5/9/12)
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