New Fall TV Line-up

Is the fall TV line-up the most eagerly anticipated event in your household every year? Ya….us too….

Remember when it actually was a bit of an event though? When the September Preview Edition  TV Guide would appear in your mailbox, twice or three times as fat as the usual TV Guides? And there would be pages and pages of write-ups and reviews of the exciting, creative new programs you could look forward to? And the new fall season would actually start right after Labour Day?

 Those were the days.

Now shows just start willy-nilly and almost none of them are exciting or creative. Fortunately, I’ve managed to pick out a few of the gems from among the various piles of programming turds. These are my recommendations:

The Omar Show:  Coming straight off his success with his “Omar” magazine (each month featuring Omar himself dressed in yet another dazzling white robe), The Omar Show is a daytime chat show like no other. Omar will grow his beard longer and longer as the days go by, taking the audience along on his beard-growing journey every step of the way. Then he will cut it short and start all over again. In between, he will share his philosophies, world views and stories about his abusive childhood in the ghettos of Kukuistan, which will be later refuted by the tabloids. Omar is mesmerizing. Everyone who watches Omar will immediately want to do his bidding. Omar is a force to be reckoned with. An explosive addition to the fall line-up.

Extreme Jeannie: This is a modern re-make of the 1960s hit comedy I Dream of Jeannie. There’ll be no scantily dressed harem girl obeying orders from her “master” in Extreme Jeannie however, because that would be sexist and not politically correct. Extreme Jeannie kicks ass in her own Bottle Factory, keeping her employee entourage of bumbling, idiotic, overweight, middle-aged men in line with her superior female intelligence and clever wit. Uma Thermos stars as Jeannie, burdened with a cast of guys who used to be the bumbling, idiotic, overweight, middle-aged guys on other sitcoms where they were married to sexy young things who kicked their ass.

The Orifice: Starring Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Whoopi Goldberg, Naomi Campbell, Kanye West, Rosie O’Donnell, John Mayer, Jesse James, Michaele Salahi and Sarah Palin with cameo appearances by a whole host of other celebrity orifices. This is a new, experimental format for TV –  filmed documentary-style and entirely without sound. The artistry lies in the back and forth panning from one soundless, gaping orifice to another. The cast’s contracts stipulate that as long as the show is on the air they are not allowed to speak publicly. This one is not to be missed. Really…or it will go off the air.

The Pervert: Combining the drug-addled charm and medical setting of House with the criminality of Dexter and the high-tech science of Bones and CSI, The Pervert is a seemingly quiet, unassuming loner who nevertheless says good morning to his coworkers every day. He works as a hospital orderly by day and volunteers at a crime lab in his spare time. Unbeknownst to everyone The Pervert never sleeps. He stays awake by consuming masses of amphetamines so he can spend his nights peering into the windows of women, sneaking into their bedrooms and stealing their soiled unmentionables, lurking in parks to watch young lovers, looking up women’s dresses with his shoe-cam and surreptitiously fondling hospital patients and nurses as he sweeps by them. He then uses his crime lab connections to plant his subjects’ DNA all over evidence so random people will get arrested for random crimes. The Pervert is a darkly disturbing drama that is sure to blow all the pretenders that went before it, right out of the water. A must-see.

Abstinence in the City: Coming to the new Holy Roller channel this fall, Abstinence in the City follows the dreary lives of a bunch of white people who never have sex, never talk about sex and never go out looking for dates. They don’t dress very well and never touch alcohol or cigarettes. Sometimes they get together for bible readings and tea or tend to each other when someone comes down with flu. We wouldn’t bother recommending this show except that the unintended double entendres and the crazy stuff they say about Obama, homosexuals, poor people and non-Caucasians will leave you rolling on the floor with laughter and despair.

So You Think You Can Drive a Bus: Season Three of this OC Transpo mega-hit kicks off in Barrhaven, where bus-driver wannabes from all walks of life try out for the country’s number one job. The auditions are grueling; forcing contestants onto old, leaky, overheated buses and making them drive around the city for an entire day (3 ½ hours), occasionally picking up some of those annoying people who hang around bus shelters. Contestants have the option of being 5-10 minutes ahead of schedule or 5-10 minutes behind schedule. Those who are punctual will be eliminated. Larry O’Brien is the season opener’s guest judge. Last year’s winner, Ellen DeRalstoness, also scheduled to be a judge this season, has decided to “pursue other opportunities”.

Hysteria Lane: Cashing in on the recent popularity of Twilight, Harry Potter, Ghost Whisperer and Desperate Housewives, this zany romp sees the “Smiths” moving onto a seemingly lovely normal middle-class suburban cul-de-sac. But the “Smiths” are no normal family. He’s a bumbling, idiotic but handsome and sparkling vampire and she’s an incredibly hot, sex-crazed, but wise, wizard. This madcap family gets crazier because they have sexy, twin teenaged daughters – one is a wizpire and one is completely mortal!! AND they have a baby boy, who maybe be a wizpire or may be mortal. No one knows — yet!!! The Smiths also have a big, lovable dog that sees ghosts. And there are a lot of ghosts, because it turns out the Hysteria Lane suburb was built on an old sit-com burial ground. This one promises to be the season’s runaway hit. How could it fail?

Lots: I’m not sure about this one because the pilot was a bit confusing. It’s about a motley crew of real estate agents who meet in a new, suburban mega-development to stage the homes and get them ready for showing. But all the houses look the same. All the streets (as yes, unsigned) look the same and they can’t find their cars, so they can’t get out. To make matters worse, the subdivision was built on a former forest so the place is fraught with danger from moose, skunks, foxes, black bears, coyotes and the occasional emu from a neighbouring farm. The real estate agents soon lose their highly-polished appearance and glib patter as they struggle to survive, discover frightening information about each other and hallucinate a little bit. I don’t know how this is all going to play out or how they’re ever going to end this one, but I predict it will have viewers glued to their TV sets each and every week, even if they go on an 8-month haitus somewhere along the line.

So, what are you looking forward to watching this season?

The International Woman of Mystery

We all have a lot of peripheral people in our lives. People we see all the time, but who we don’t really know – neighbours, shopkeepers, the milkman, people we see on the bus every day or in the hallway at work, but don’t really talk to much. We might pass the time of day with these folk or talk about the weather or occasionally have a bit of a conversation with them, but that’s about it.

Most of the time we don’t even know their names. Most of the time these are fairly straight-forward people that we don’t really think about. It might even take us a while to notice if we haven’t seen them in a while. But every so often one of these peripheral people appears in our lives and something about them makes you wonder exactly what their story is.

And I mean story in the general sense, not what The Story is.

I firmly believe that every last person in the universe has at least one surprising story in them: The Story.  The Story is the story that you won’t necessarily get even if you know someone quite well. The Story is the kind of story that can really only emerge if you’re one-on-one with the person in a very relaxed environment and you both have all the time in the world to just talk, uninterrupted. (Over a long, soporific meal and a mellow bottle of wine perhaps).

The Story is always a precious gem – sometimes horrible, sometimes touching, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes uplifting or funny – but it’s always something that gets to the very core of that person. When you’ve shared The Story with a person, I think you’ve achieved an intimacy that both of you will remember. You might not even know what your The Story is until someone exumes it for you.

But anyway, that’s not what I meant when I said I sometimes wonder about some of the peripheral people in my life and what their story is. I was thinking more about those people who just don’t make sense; who you can’t comfortably slot into category.

The International Woman of Mystery of my title for instance.

I see her all the time on the bus and in my neighbourhood and sometimes out and about shopping or browsing around. She’s probably in her late 40s; well-groomed; nicely dressed; always well put together. She’s tallish and very, very slender; not unattractive.

She lives in a one-bedroom apartment in an unpretentious building. Whenever we talk, inevitably her utter loathing for Ottawa and everything about it creeps into her conversation. She pines for Montreal where she grew up. I asked her once, “Why don’t you move to Montreal?” And she gave me an enigmatic smile and said, in a faraway voice, “I wish I could. But I have to stay here a few more years.”

Being a nosy-parker, I asked why, but she just side-stepped the question as deftly as she side-steps most of the questions I’ve asked her about the job she says she’s “retired” from.

Very mysterious.

Here’s what I know about her:

  • She lives alone and has no family in Ottawa. In fact, I believe her only living relative, an aunt, lives in Montreal.
  • She is retired from a job that had her living all over Canada and in some foreign countries as well.
  • She was not with the military.
  • She is not working now, nor is she looking for work.
  • She has never been married and has no children.
  • She has lived in Ottawa about 10 years and has lived in at least 5 different apartments in that time because there was always something wrong with the apartment. The one she’s in now has neighbours upstairs that “walk really loudly”, so she’s looking to move again.
  • From what I can gather she spends her days just browsing the shops.
  • She has never spoken of friends nor has she ever spoken of having done anything with friends the evening or weekend before and I have never seen her with anyone. I deduce, threefore (perhaps wrongly) that she has no friends.
  • She’s friendly and pleasant.

So, fellow sleuths, the two burning questions seem to be:

  1. Why can’t she leave Ottawa for a few years yet? And,
  2. What sort of job could she have had that took her all over the country and/or world and from which she could retire by the time she was 40ish and still give her enough income to live on?

Help me. I can’t stand the suspense anymore.