Damn ABC and their addictive Sunday night lineup!

How am I supposed to ease into the beginning of a new week, following an exciting afternoon of football, when I can’t get away from the TV from 7-11pm?

Scoff if you like, but America’s Funniest Home Videos is funny as hell. Tom Bergeron is no Bob Saget, thank god, and who couldn’t benefit from a little mindless slapstick humor while being forced to admit the weekend is over and start preparing for a return to the old grind? Then Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, the most emotionally-manipulative tearjerker on TV, interferes with the kids’ bath and get-ready-for-bed time, forcing us into a graceless ballet in between commercials. The first 10 minutes and the final 20 are the must-see portions of the show, though, no distractions allowed, which means their usual bedtime gets extended by a half-hour.

At 9pm – kids in bed but still awake, the apartment littered with toys and other married-with-children hazards like a sink full of dishes, piles of unopened mail, shredded magazines and random clothing spead here and there – it’s time for Desperate Housewives. If we blink during the closing credits of EM:HE, we end up stuck to the couch for the first 10 minutes as ABC has perfected the “don’t change the channel” transition between shows that reels the unsuspecting viewer in like bad poets to an open mic. Housewives is without question the best guilty pleasure on TV since…well, since the A-Team if I’m being honest!

Finally, at 10pm, Boston Legal, featuring the most tantalizing duo on TV in Shatner and Spader, is usually easier to resist thanks to its relatively late hour – remember: Sunday night, married, with children – but when the opening scene has Spader in a staff meeting in a Santa outfit along with a little person, who may or not be his ex-girlfriend, dressed as an elf, how can you turn it off? Cap it off with a cross-dressing Santa, Al Sharpton and a well-played murder mystery and it’s 11pm before you know it!

Let’s not even talk about the enhanced dangers of the ABC Sunday night lineup coming at the end of a four-day weekend that included the rediscovery of a totally immersive Xbox game like, say, Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and how said rediscovery of such a game might lead to obsessive multiple-hour sessions of gameplay and a 1:30am bedtime…

No, instead, let’s move on and focus on tonight’s UPPERCASE reading at Bar 13 featuring one of my favorite poets, and one of the few that can get me out for a Monday night reading these days, Nina Parrilla. And before that, dinner with another of my favorite poets, Bassey.

Hard to believe there’s only thirty-two and a half days left in 2004.

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