Thursday, May 6, 2021




By Monte Lazarus

My name is ———– and I’m an addict. So is my wife. We’re both addicted to television food channels. We’re insatiable. It started when we simultaneously realized that there’s virtually nothing left of value on television, and we turned to our opiate…food programs.

There are about two hundred variations of implausible “detective” stories, all with interchangeable casts consisting of (1) a team leader, usually male, (2) a very attractive young female, (3) one or two “minority” members, (4) a sidekick, sometimes for comic relief. All crimes, usually homicides must be solved within an hour, and state-of-the-art (in fact non-existent) super-duper high tech stuff that defies credibility, unfailingly leads to arrest, conviction… and residuals for the cast.

Sure, there are variations: the lawyer stories are generally written by people who know nothing about law practice. The best was, by far “Boston Legal”. It was totally preposterous, but at least it had wit and some arguable points…as well as James Spader, Bill Shatner and the ever wondrous Candice Bergen.

Before “House” descended into clichés and bad casting it had its moments. Right now it’s teetering. Other medical programs faded badly. There are just so many angiograms and exotic procedures suitable for one hour television.

Reality shows? What’s “real” about them? The execrable Simon Cowell? Please. Sitcoms? More formula junk with cardboard cutouts as cast members. The truly funny stuff doesn’t seem to exist anymore, unless you are among those of us who are peculiar enough to enjoy “The Office”, and some very old “Seinfeld” and “Frasier” reruns.

Even American football (distinguished from soccer, which the rest of the world regards as real football) got boring last year with scandals rocking a number of colleges, and many pro games just plain dull. My poor spouse, a football fanatic, had nowhere to turn. Golf? Great to play. Not so great on TV. Basketball? Maybe the last two minutes of a pro game. The worst NCAA championship game ever. Baseball? Sad to say, not really made for TV.

By chance we discovered food channels, and the addiction began. It started innocently enough when we accidently tuned into a Bobby Flay “Throwdown”.

Since my wife famously does not cook she was intrigued to learn that there are those who cook for a living; those who actually enjoy cooking and; those who can communicate and flip stuff in a sauté pan at the same time. This was all startling news for my wife.

Soon we were a couple of junkies. We went from Bobby Flay to “Chopped” to “Chopped All Stars” to “Iron Chef America” (adapted from a Japanese program), to “The Next Iron Chef” to “The Iron Chef After The Next Iron Chef”, to “Kitchen Nightmares” to “Hell’s Kitchen”, “Cupcake Wars” and eventually, gasp, “Cake Boss”! There’s no end. We were betting on who would win on “Iron Chef” and descended into which chef would win by how many points. Ultimately we reached the depths. We began to criticize the judges.

Here we are, embarked on our twelve step program. To think: Only a few years ago I marveled, aboard a cruise ship, about the popularity of Bill W. He had a party for his friends every day! Little did I know then about Alcoholics Anonymous. Ah, the joy of naïveté!


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