Saturday, May 01, 2004

The fleecing of America

Like it? 
The other day, I was watching TV the way I always do--one hand buried to the shoulder in a bag of nachos, a stockinged foot working the remote control, the other foot steadying the jar of salsa on my lap, and the other hand plastered on top of my head in disgust.

As usual, I had my choice of reality TV shows or surreality TV shows. Frustrated, I grasped the remote between my toes and flung it against the mantle. This still left me totally unsatisfied.

"I am left totally unsatisfied!" I told my wife.

She was on the other side of the couch, seething quietly and just bearing my presence in that cute way she has.

"What do you feel like watching?" she asked.

"Something different!" I yelled.

"How about that cop show?" she suggested. "Or that one about the lawyers? Or that one that's half cops, half lawyers?"

"Violent crime is so banal. Something with a little oomph," I said. "I want a TV show about someone like me. That would be interesting."

My wife suffered a severe coughing fit at this point, the poor dear. When she recovered, she said, "A TV show about stocky, nervous Portuguese guys who like to do crossword puzzles?"

"You're right--that's more like a Spielberg movie," I said. "Say, why don't they ever show live sheep-shearing anymore?"

Later on, when I was reading the news, I got my wish. An Associated Press story on Thursday described the bizarre tale of Shrek, a New Zealand sheep who escaped his flock and survived alone and unshorn for six years. He was recently caught when some New Zealander mistook him for a colossal, filthy marshmallow.

So before a live television audience "stretching from New Zealand to Japan," and with the proceeds going to charity, Shrek the sheep received a total makeover--hair, nails, wardrobe. The hairstyling dude from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" being busy, former world champion sheep-shearer Peter Casserly leapt bravely into the breach.

"Casserly clipped 60 1/2 pounds of fine Merino wool from the sheep," the AP wrote. "The shearing ended with an unsteady Shrek wrapped in a special red and blue winter jacket fitted to protect him from the cold." Afterward, Shrek received a tiara, a bouquet and a congratulatory kiss from Bert Parks.

Maybe it's just because I need a haircut lately, but that's the kind of television I want to see. Between inane gossip shows about Hollywood celebrities and grown adults holding down small, domesticated animals and shaving them, I'll take the wool-gathering, thanks. At least sheep have a real job.

Live sheep-shearing would also be a damn sight more interesting, I bet, than watching "Fear Factor." It boggles my mind that people on that show willingly eat rancid intestines stuffed with live maggots served in a duck-vomit bearnaise sauce, but any other day they'd probably turn their nose up at a kosher hot dog.

It wouldn't take much to get a sheep-shearing TV show on the air. Some asshole gave Bill O'Reilly the green light. We also have TV shows where professionals hold other people down and suck the fat out of their buttocks. It's called "Extreme Makeovers." Not so far a leap when you think about it. And you can't knit warm, comfortable socks out of buttock fat.

We'd have to pair up with New Zealand--a nation with all the great taste of Australia, only less filling. It's the sheep capital of the world. The AP said it has "4 million people and 42 million sheep." Which means that every person owns, what? Like, a million sheep?

Those overburdened New Zealanders would probably pay an American network to take a couple hundred thousand of those pesky animals off their hands. I'm looking at you, Fox network.

According to the AP story, it took 20 minutes for master barber Casserly to give Shrek a beezer. So if we pad that out with a monologue, a special musical guest and commercials, we have ourselves an entertaining--and educational--hourlong variety show.

Any variety show worth watching has to have a host. I don't think Pamela Anderson is terribly busy lately. Also, she bears a remarkable resemblance to how I imagined Little Bo Peep when I was a boy.

Think of it: "When Hairy Sheep Go Bald!" Brought to you by Woolite. It's a working title.

Of course, we could only shear rams--no ewes. We've had enough headaches with live TV and exposed nipples.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails