8:00 a.m. (CSNCA) I've got the easy chair cranked back, a house full of lap cats, and a six-pack of root beer chillin' in the fridge. That means I'm ready for the fifth installment of Daytime Dispatches! I promised my pal Andrea that I'll dedicate the 9 o'clock block to the third hour of Today (proof that someone in Texas wants my brain to melt early). So that gives me some time for a warm-up. Let's start with an infomercial for... Supple!
8:01 a.m. We're watching Smart Medicine, where Peter Apatow explains, "I'm not a doctor. I'm an arthritis survivor!"
8:03 a.m. Peter has already dropped the hammer: "If somebody's watching right now, they have to watch for the next half hour." Oh, God. I have to watch!
8:04 a.m. Thank goodness for Dr. Monita Poudyal who marshals her superior medical training to raise the most crucial issue: "You've changed the formula. Does it still taste good?" Right away, five "patients" affirm that, yes, it does. Like a fruit smoothy. Dr. Monita assesses the evidence and offers her medical conclusion: "You know, it does sound tasty!"
8:14 a.m. "Actual patient" Sharon H puts it all in context: "As much as I love my television, I'll give up my TV before I give up my Supple."
8:17 a.m. Did you know that the drug companies are actively trying to suppress Supple? It's true. Peter explains that medical doctors are being manipulated by drug companies, which control the government. Well government agencies. Oh, and other counterfeit supplements: They come from China! And then there are the space aliens. They hate Supple too!
8:22 a.m. Supple is a miracle drug. "No matter what I do," Peter explains, "I just can't get the pain back." Hmm. I know a way to suffer some pain.
8:25 a.m. "If supple does not give you your life back, I'll give you your money back." Yeah. Will you give me my time back?
8:30 a.m. (AMC) Lifestyle Lift with Debbie Boone! Oh, that sweet. She's got news that "really can light up your life." I always thought she was singing about God. Actually she was singing about Lifestyle Lift! Get thee behind me, sagging jowls!
8:33 a.m. First World Problem: Patient had gastric bypass surgery and was "stuck with a lot of extra skin." Ewwww.
8:37 a.m. OK, this may only make sense for folks who endured the 70s. Do you actually remember that song "You Light Up My Life?" For a time it played endlessly on the radio. Endlessly. It was like being in Hell's Waiting Room where even Muzak would offer sweet, blessed relief. So now here I am, 30 years later, watching Before and After pictures of chicken necks to the soundtrack of "You Light Up My Life." Just remember: I'm doing this for you, so you don't have to.
8:40 a.m. Time for a considered medical opinion to cut through the treacle. "Dr. Bloom, what are the psychological benefits of looking younger?"
8:45 a.m. A real Lifestyle Life patient: "It's a good thing to have your husband admire you." Oh, yeah: Bring on the scalpel or lose your husband!
8:51 a.m. Now I'm thinking about the moment when Debbie Boone decided that she'd hawk her signature song "You Light Up My Life" to sell Lifestyle Lift. I'm picturing a trailer off the I-10 interstate. Maybe some saguaro cactus on the horizon. Crumbled bags of Cheetos are piling up in the sink. Ripped up lottery tickets are stacked next to an overfilled ashtray. The damned rabbit ears are broken again, so the TV's on the fritz. Somewhere amid all that misery, Debbie Boone whispers bitterly to herself, "What the hell..."
9:00 a.m. (NBC) OK, Andrea. You asked for it. Today for the first time I will actually watch the infamous "third hour" of Today. How bad can it be?
9:01 a.m. Oh, God. It's Justin Bieber. Andrea, I'll get you for this.
9:05 a.m. Phew. I dodged a bullet. Bieber's concert is over. Still, that was close. Too close.
9:09 a.m. Let's now turn to the married couple who finds passion in matching outfits. Complete with coordinated Halloween costumes. Yes, this is happening. Al Roker asks: "Have you every slipped up and not matched?" Husband: "No." Wife: "Yes."
9:10 a.m. Yay! A commercial for Progressive's Plug-In-Your-Own-Surveillance-Device-And-Save service.
9:15 a.m. Let's learn how to pack for summer vacation. Well, let's learn how women can pack for summer vacation. Guys, just toss some shorts and a couple t-shirts in a garbage bag. You'll be fine.
9:16 a.m. A pounding headache of summer must-buy products for the beach some NBC personality (I dunno. Ann Curry?) shoves a fast-talking guest along an endless table covered with stuff. A burst-pitch (shoes you can put in the washer!) and keep moving. Keep moving. I'm out of breath when it's over. ("But first these messages!")
9:22 a.m. And we're back. "Good morning, Charles. How are you?" "Fine, how are you?" "I'm fine, but how's the state of Dadhood?"
9:28 a.m. Had to pee, so I didn't learn about being a Power Dad. Sorry, Vienna. You're doomed.
9:29 a.m. McDonald's commercial with a doppelgänger for the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World." His advice to Loser Dude Who Can't Score? Buy that babe a 20-piece box of Chicken McNuggets. Yeah, that'll work.
9:30 a.m. Today flashes to a school of Haitian kids with Bieber Fever. They're jumping up and down, singing "Baby, Baby, Oh..." I don't know why. I just don't know why.
9:36 a.m. Al Roker: "Move over black, the Summer Men are in White." Stubble-beard GQ Guy is here to help us shop at Gap and Dockers.
9:40 a.m. Roker's not convinced with the White Look. "What about stains?" he asks. "You gotta own it," explains GQ Guy.
9:44 a.m. Now NBC Personality (Um, Jane Pauley?) is making a skirt steak with some dude pitching his new TV show. It's like I just closed my eyes for a second - and now we're making steak! But always, always moving along.
9:48 a.m. Now they're putting butter on some bread for a steak sandwich. NBC Personality (Um, J. Fred Muggs?): "I got chills when you said butter. But in a good way." Good to have that cleared up. The guest is pleased: "You see how beautiful that cooks?" Yeah, but Muggs has a schedule to keep: "Now what next?"
9:52 a.m. Now it's time for me to pay the price for some sin I committed in a past life. Justin Bieber is back on stage. Most of the girls in the audience seem more focused on their cell phones than on the guy right in front of them.
9:55 a.m. The song is apparently called "All around the world." See? Justin circles his arms together, like a world. Get it?
9:59 a.m. OK, I just responded to a Facebook message, glanced at an email, repined something on Pinterest, and changed the channel a couple times. Send me a text message and I'll achieve Media Bingo.
10:00 a.m. (ABC) It's time for The View!
10:03 a.m. Elizabeth Hasselbeck is now talking about her Twitter diet. Last night she ate some ice cream and her thousands of followers commenced to creating a support group.
10:04 a.m. Whoopi offers some Zen insight: "There's some food for thought!"
10:07 a.m. Now they're talking about Father's Day while emphasizing how much harder it is for mothers. Everyone except for sweet, sweet Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She's always happy to apologize for the excesses of the powers that be.
10:10 a.m. An anti-depressant ad. It's about damned time! This one is for "Abilify." I love those names. Maybe later today they'll run spots for Hardacil.
10:14 a.m. Back on The View with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Gosh, I just noticed that Barbara Walters hasn't spoken for a while. Just in time, she interjects: "I have to say in the interests of full disclosure that you, your husband, and I have the same birthday."
10:17 a.m. Catherine is talking about her new movie, when Barbara cuts in again: "You've admitted that you have bi-polar disease... Are you on medication?" What the hell?
10:21 a.m. "Next we're finding out the secret recipe to that green stuff the celebs can't get enough of!" I know the secret. Oh, yes I do. It's people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They're making our food out of people!
10:24 a.m. "Careful. Pringles are bursting with more flavor." See? See?!?
10:27 a.m. "Hotties verses Nerds. All new Wipeout!" Really, when did they replace reality with bad 80s movies?
10:32 a.m. Awesome. The dude who invented the Cougar Cleanse (yuck) is pitching his green goo - and manages to interrupt Hasselbeck. Once.
10:34 a.m. Newsflash: Kale Is The New Bacon.
10:37 a.m. OK, we've got a women wearing schoolmarm glasses in at the store. She's holding a product that looks like a sex aid. It's called New Liquid-Plumr [their spelling, not mine] Double Impact. And then the 70s porn music starts. She's back home now, answering the door. Burley Plumber One announces: "We're hear to snake the drain." Burley Plumber Two coos, "I'm here to flush the pipe." And, eeeewww, is that the ghost of Isaac Hayes doing the voiceover? "A powerful gel to finish off the rinse, baby." Go to my happy place. Go to my happy place. Go... [Seriously, you've got to see this.]
10:46 a.m. It's "Dr. Gadget" selling Things You Can Buy This Summer! The audience members are yelling and screaming like they've been visited by the Double Impact plumbers. Maybe they know something that I don't...
10:50 a.m. "Dr. Gadget" is now pitching a bed fan, and he's got Elizabeth and Whoopi sharing a bed to show it off. Elizabeth announces, "I'm getting a breeze where I didn't even know I had places!" Yep, definitely time for a visit from the Double Impact team.
10:53 a.m. Advertisement shows a group of folks at an outdoor party. They're enjoying tasty looking steaks. Hear the sizzle? Then comes the shock announcement: "Tonight, you're eating WalMart steak!" Look, folks, I've already warned you. It's people!
10:57 a.m. Cheerios Multigrain Cereal: "More grains, less you." How nice.
11:00 a.m. (KSBW) It's time for Days of our Lives!
11:01 a.m. Maggie: "It crossed my mind that I, I was being manipulated." Follow-up news: Rain is wet. Clouds are fluffy.
11:05 a.m. Maggie and Victor are trying to mend their broken hearts.
11:10 a.m. I was just thinking, they still start the show with that dreary phrase, "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." How many long afternoons of sad, lonely drinking have been launched by that phrase?
11:14 a.m. What do women want? According to today's commercials, it's hydration, things that foam, and soft toilet tissue. Who knew?
11:15 a.m. Bo's not happy about what happened while he was in the hospital: "What is there to talk about? I mean, I wake up from this medically induced coma to find out that my wife has been turned into Princess Gina…" Yeah, I need to get some nachos.
11:22 a.m. Maggie and Victor are trying to mend their broken hearts. Again.
11:30 a.m. Hey, did you know that the Summer Olympics are coming? No? Then you haven't been watching "the networks of NBC" lately. Because they'll remind you Every Five Minutes.
11:33 a.m. "S.E. Johnson, a family company," my ass! This time it's sweet-looking mom answering the door to find a burley guy standing outside with his Big Equipment: "Somebody order a wrecking ball?" Oh, I get it. She doesn't need his help; she's got Ziplock bags that somehow help her separate frozen foods without touching icky stuff. "No thanks, I'm good." Yes you are, ma'am. Yes you are.
11:42 a.m. Maggie and Victor are trying to mend their broken hearts. Again.
11:48 a.m. Ooops. She's not buying it. Maggie is walking out. Poor Victor. Poor - "Maggie please, before you go, there's something else I have to say, something else I haven't told you."
11:54 a.m. Did you know that Victor is Bo's biological father and a former mobster, and that Maggie was once buried alive by Vivian? Something tells me there's more news coming.
11:57 a.m. Victor's news: "Those eggs belonged to you." Wait, what?
11:59 a.m. Victor: "Is there any chance we can put this behind us?" And... cut to black.
12:00 p.m. (CSNBA) Next up is something called "Eat yourself..."
12:01 p.m. Sorry about that. Comcast abbreviated the title. The show's called "Eat yourself skinny." Check that: It's actually "Eat yourself skinny?" Awesome. I love that question mark.
12:03 p.m. Dayna Devon ("award winning journalist, TV host, and remarkable weight-loss success story herself") is here to tell us about Sensa, which apparently you sprinkle onto your food to lose weight.
12:06 p.m. Doing wiki search on "Dayna Devon"... Wow, she was an actual journalist back in the day. Well, broadcast journalist. Whatever.
12:10 p.m. Let's review. The Sensa "program" consists of sprinkling stuff on your food. And...?
12:11 p.m. Well we know that all other diets don't work. Check out how that food processor explodes! Look at the scary plastic surgery scalpel! And, ohh, that pre-packaged meal is so gross! Sensa looks pretty good in comparison.
12:18 p.m. "Sensa, just makes sense." Ah, there it is.
12:27 p.m. Good news! When you order Sensa, you get enrolled in an automatic mailing program that keeps sending you tiny packets of powder - and charging your credit card - month after month after month!
12:30 p.m. (CSNCD) And our next informercial is... Murad Resurgence with Joan Lunden!
12:36 p.m. Now Joan's interviewing a former soap opera actress about Resurgence, noting how good this goop is for your decolletage. In the studio audience, one women lens over to her friend. "What the heck is decolletage?"
12:43 p.m. "It's, like, lifted my eyes. Kinda like a mini-eyelift."
12:48 p.m. Dude! Everyone in the audience is going home with a free gift. The gift of Resurgence!
12:54 p.m. Claudine enthuses: "Resurgence is totally taking the confusion out of my process. When I look in the mirror I see that glow back, and it's refreshing and it's enlightening and it's uplifting…" Suddenly I wonder if this is an informercial for Scientology.
1:00 p.m. (KCBAD) It's time for justice. It's time for... The People's Court!
1:02 p.m. Mark claims that Rita promised him $1,000 if he'd testify in another court case but that she failed to pay up.
1:10 p.m. Rita says, "I never promised anything to this guy."
1:15 p.m. At last, the today's first commercial for a cooking school ("Hey you. Why are you still sitting on that couch!"). Next? I'm waiting for one of those Heald College spots.
1:19 p.m. Judge Marilyn Milian (Confident! Sassy! Empathetic!) finds for the plaintive. Why? Because he's such a lowlife, there's no way he'd show up in court without expecting payment. "He is not the kind of guy who just does his civic duty."
1:20 p.m. Ooops. The defendant is the plaintive's landlord. Former landlord now. Are you sure that $1,000 was worth it, dude?
1:30 p.m. New case. Something about shoddy car inspection. The judge calls for some paperwork. "Can you look at the date on that, your honor?" "Yeah, what do you think my plans are? I've been doing this without you all my life."
1:33 p.m. Finally. If you're reliable, detail oriented, and customer focused," Heald College has got a career for you!
1:39 p.m. New case: Plaintiff is complaining about a mean landlord. Landlord is complaining about flaky tenant.
1:44 p.m. Tenant says she stopped paying rent because she got a note saying that her security deposit wouldn't be returned. "Oh, that's just a typo," the landlord explains. Hmmmm.
1:55 p.m. Things aren't going well for the tenant, especially when the judge says that all of her "proof" could have come from a word processor.
2:00 p.m. (KTVU). Maury! "Family Secrets! Sexy details!... Lie Detector Tests!"
2:03 p.m. Maury: "He comes home smelling like what?" Diana: Bleeeeeeeeeeeeep. Time for the Sexy Decoys to see if Demetrice is a Lowdown Skanky Dirty Dawg. (Spoiler Alert: Yes. He is).
2:10 p.m. Now we know about those white spots Diana found on Demetrice's pants. Yuck...
2:12 p.m. Cool. Call Maury to share your opinion, and you'll receive "several valuable offers." Great! Why wait for the commercials when you can dial them up at my convenience!
2:14 p.m. "Does Your Mom Dress And Act Like a Town Tramp And It's Totally Destroying Your Life?" Call Maury!
2:20 p.m. New drama - Frank makes a mighty compelling case: "Just because I got caught with my zipper down on my shorts and she found a girl hiding in the back yard doesn't mean I'm cheating on her!"
2:24 p.m. Dominique (not Demetrice) is now accused of exposing himself to his Tynishia's mother. Dominique cocks his head in one hand and looks pensive.
2:26 p.m. And here comes the Sexy Decoy! "Ohhh, I can't even watch this, Mau-ree-eey!"
2:29 p.m. The lie detector reveals all of Dominique's sins. Again with that pensive look.
2:40 p.m. Heald College and Everest College go head to head! Let's compare: Heald offers practical hands-on training for a career ("Get in. Get out. Get ahead!"). Everest promises a feel-good success story in which faculty become a second family ("He gave me faith"… "This is like a second Mom!"). Which one would you prefer?
2:45 p.m. Maury's got footage of Arnold getting trapped by a Sexy Decoy - "But I ain't showin' you." Happily, he will show it to Michelle. "That is what you think, isn't it? He pulled it out."
2:53 p.m. Another Heald commercial. Now help me understand this: They're showing "real students" who've found "real careers" after attending Heald. Fair enough. But what's with the cutaways showing the cameras and lights used for the interviews? Does Heald appear more trustworthy that way? "I mean, look, these are real interviews. See? They've got cameras and everything!"
2:55 p.m. Time for the Other Side of the Coin: "Do You Like to Dress and Act Sexy But Your Children Have a Problem With It And You Want To Tell Them To Mind Their Own Business?" Call Maury!
3:00 p.m. (KSBWD) Dr. Phil investigates: Who is the real Levi Johnston?
3:05 p.m. So Levi Johnston has been "thrust into the spotlight." I can imagine, this poor guy, an Alaska hunter just trying to make his way, getting grabbed off the sidewalk by hooded thugs and thrown into an unmarked van. "You poor fool. If Dr. Phil wants you in the spotlight, Dr. Phil will have you. Oh yes, he will."
3:12 p.m. Love the local ads. The one for Ocean Honda promises "Aggressive Financing Rates." What does that mean? Does the manager slap you around in the sales room?
3:18 p.m. Levi's talking about his stint as a Playgirl model. "I didn't show the front. I didn't show the goods." Thanks. That saves me a Google Image Search.
3:26 p.m. Tank Jones, Levi's manager and bodyguard, works to softens his guy's image: "He's very intelligent. He just likes to hunt and fish."
3:28 p.m. And now Tank is talking about Tank: "Sarah Palin runs a part of Alaska. I've lived in Alaska for 20 years. Sarah Palin doesn't run Tank Jones. Sarah Palin doesn't run Tank Jones." Just to clarify: Tank Jones.
3:35 p.m. Dr. Phil's now setting up a story about a family whose fight over child custody turns violent. He wants to emphasize that physical violence is not the way to solve family problems. Get that? It's not.
3:39 p.m. "We're going to take a break and then we're going to meet the woman who was trying to pry Bill's fingers off her neck." Doesn't that phrase put a smile on your face?
3:45 p.m. I admit it: Dr. Phil just impressed me: "You don't wanna waste your time with me barking at each other; you've apparently got that to a higher artform, and you don't need to practice here."
3:54 p.m. Parents-Who-Hate-Each-Other grit teeth and promise to negotiate. Uh-huh. Their kid doesn't have a chance.
3:59 p.m. Wrapping up the final hour with...
4:00 p.m. (KOIND) Judge Judy!
4:06 p.m. I've spent five minutes trying to interpret this case - something about a golf vacation and an unpaid debt. And making fun of the guy's wife on Facebook. Calling her a girafe or something. But my brain... it's fried.
4:11 p.m. Judge Judy: "I am not on Facebook." Idiot defendant: "I'd friend you if you were." Judge Judy: "Excuse me?!?"
4:17 p.m. Who are these other people on the screen? What happened to the fighting golfers? All this daytime TV has made me mentally divergent.
4:20 p.m. Another Health spot. Only this time I can't help but notice that they've got one guy extolling the virtues of his school. Got that? One. Guy. Talking. Yet within about 20 seconds, the commercial jumps from cut to cut to cut. Every two words, a new shot. Every flash feels like the world's worst romantic relationship: Wake up. Wake up! Don't ignore me!
4:25 p.m. "He must be the best bankruptcy lawyer in town! He's in the phone book!" You know who said that? A talking dog. Just think about that for a minute. A talking dog.
4:30 p.m. (KOIND) Time for more Judge Judy!
4:34 p.m. Something about feuding gospel singers. I think. I'm only able to hear a high pitched buzzing sound now.
4:39 p.m. Apparently there's a dispute between a landlord and a tenant, at which point Judy gets philosophical: "He's always gonna be a wiseguy, and I'm going to give you the best piece of advice I ever gave to my own children. This is as good as it gets. It's downhill from here."
4:45 p.m. And here come the pictures of marijuana growing in the backyard!
4:48 p.m. All day I've seen this commercial for KFC. It's got this tough looking grandfather fighting his grandson about whether they'll get mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. Grandfather is really going in hardcore, using takedown wrestling moves. Is this supposed to be funny? It looks like these guys need to see Dr. Phil.
4:54 p.m. Judge Judy has more advice for Wiseguy's girlfriend: "What's sometimes good on the outside package, when you actually bite into it, is sometimes very, very untasty."
4:56 p.m. And Judy drops the hammer. Judgement for plaintiff - and one last piece of advice for girlfriend: "Fair warning!"
5:00 p.m. The fifth episode of Daytime Dispatches is, at last, history! I think I need to pack my ears with gauze.