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Dave on Demand: The television week in review


This news story was published on February 5, 2012.
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By David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Inquirer –

People, please, can we end this silly charade? You’re not fooling me.

The minute I tell one of you I write about television for the newspaper, the lying starts.

“I only watch the news” translates as “I’m a complete basket case this time of year when ‘Bachelor Pad’ and ‘Big Brother’ are on hiatus.”

“I’m a devotee of ‘CBS Sunday Morning’” means “I can recite the names of all the ‘Real Housewives’ from everywhere.”

“I stopped watching when Oprah ended her show” is false-speak for “If my DVR wasn’t recording ‘Dance Moms,’ I wouldn’t be standing here with you right now.”

“I enjoy ‘Antiques Roadshow’ occasionally” is the catchphrase of someone who is equally addicted to “Pawn Stars,” “American Pickers” and “Storage Wars.”

“It’s probably silly for me to even own a TV set. The only time I watch it is when the Winter Olympics are showing figure skating.” You really expect me to buy stuff like that? Because what I hear is: “When are they going to make ‘Bad Girls Club’ an Olympic event?”

Sometimes you’ll slip in a little indirection, a shard of truth to throw me off. It doesn’t work.

Lately, for instance, I’ve been hearing a lot of “My wife and I have found ‘Downton Abbey’ very entertaining.” You may, indeed, be following the intrigue of a materialistic family intent on maintaining appearances, but I’m pretty sure it’s the Kardashians, not the Granthams, that have you spellbound.

At least once a month, some woman will sniff at me, “I don’t watch TV.” I’ve learned over time that this declaration is true. At least, technically.

Because if she were to fully explain, she would have to admit, “I’m not permitted to. My therapist says I have developed ‘an unhealthy fixation’ on Sam Champion. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous? (Whispering.) Did you happen to notice what Sam was wearing this morning? I think he’s dreamy in pinstripes.”

Why, oh, why do you feel it’s necessary to lie about what you watch on TV? To me, of all people? It’s not like I’m going to judge you. Unless you come right out and admit you’re a fan of “How I Met Your Mother.” Then we have a problem.

—Half-price winners. As a result of an ongoing legal action, it was revealed this week that NBC pays $21.5 million per year for the rights to broadcast the Golden Globe awards.

News bulletin: Watch this space for the announcement of the inaugural Dave on Demand Awards. I don’t have a date, or a host, or even a format yet. But I make you this solemn promise, NBC: Whatever it turns out to be, it will beat your current rate of $1.28 a viewer.

—Lend me your ears. TV has taken on some strange grace notes recently.

This week on “The Simpsons,” the bar rag at Moe’s had its own tale to tell. Who would have thought this filthy cloth would speak with the plummy tones of Jeremy Irons?

A couple of weeks ago on “Glee,” Becky (Lauren Potter), the cheerleader with Down syndrome, had some extended interior monologues. Blimey if the voice didn’t belong to the regal Helen Mirren.

Unfortunately, on Sunday, Madonna will be providing her own voice.

—Sweet reprise. The best line of the week came on “Gossip Girl.” As Blair (Leighton Meester) arrived for her wedding to the Prince of Monaco, her lisping stepdad Cyrus (Wallace Shawn) enthused, “Here is the princess bride.”

Why is that so cool? Shawn was part of the cast in “The Princess Bride,” the classic romance/adventure film from 1987.

Nicely played, Vizzini.

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