A strange time. It was when both Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan could wrap themselves in the same American flag and take their picture together, with no animosity registerable. BFFs Forever! I don't know what could have happened if Yamaguchi hadn't been standing between them, though.

TV Guide compiled their 1992 Parents' Guide to Kids TV one week too early. They apparently did it right before they saw Stimpy's Invention, because in the very next issue, they shower Ren & Stimpy with praise based on this solitary episode. Unfortunately this was as good as the show got, but man, there are few cartoons funnier than Stimpy's Invention. It's too bad John K is so crackers; we'll never see it surpassed.

A January article on new cable channels suggests such future possibilities as MTV splitting into several different channels offering videos by genre (rap, rock, R&B, etc), locally-adjusted CNN channels that vary by region, and maybe a channel devoted to science-fiction, though it seems like a long shot. (Seems like a long shot NOW.)

Another idea may have to wait a while:

NEVER FORGET 2008: the year Hannah Montana and live-action kidcoms were at their peak and we almost lost Cartoon Network to impatient executives desperate for some of that success. Now we have Adventure Time, Regular Show and other inventive toons that play to a broad audience...but that was one of two possible futures then. It hung in the balance for a while.

TV Guide's top 20 shows of the day included Home Improvement, Major Dad and Murphy Brown, all of which got A's. In fact, TV Guide must have been using the same grading system IGN uses now, because the worst any show got in this issue was a C-. This included America's Funniest People.

Some of you may not know this, but Arleen Sorkin was once something other than Harley Quinn. Of course, she may have been Harley Quinn all along -- Paul Dini based the character on her, after all -- but there was a brief period of time when she had a job that involved showing America her real face. America's Funniest People holds the distinction of being the only series my parents eventually banned me from watching not because of profane content, but because it was too stupid. Considering the dumb things they liked, this is really saying a lot.

I found a tape of America's Funniest People many years later, and....I have to admit they made the right call for once. This was some seriously mind-shrinking crap, the kind foreigners envision when they think of Americans as stupid. It's on par with some of the television shown in "Idiocracy." It was that bad. I don't blame Harley Quinn, though. She worked with what she was given.

They put up with Funniest Home Videos longer, but I do remember that "Wanna kiss my BUTT?" moppet for the moral outrage she spiked in my mother. A 7-year-old got a tenth of a million dollars for saying "butt" on TV. That's what happened in Sodom!

An extremely rare occurance: a TV network airing really old reruns of a show they cancelled decades ago. I wonder why CBS was doing this.

TV movies....are there ever TV movies. The networks of today surrendered TV movies to cable ages ago, but before Lifetime could afford it, there were scores of telefims on broadcast, revolving around the perils of Lindsay Wagner or Victoria Principal. At least three came out per week and they all had the same title. "Cheesy Slogan: The Woman's Name Here Story." This template was used whether the story was true or not.

This is a rare exception to the title rule, but the name still makes me snort with a short laugh reflex: "SHE WOKE UP." When that homicidal murderer knocked her out, the plan was perfect except for one fatal flaw. He didn't count on that!

I know what's going on here. But I'm not telling.

The early years of success surrounding The Simpsons led to some bizarre greenlights the like of which we'll never see again...the kind that said, "I'm an executive in his fifties who has no idea why a grown person would watch a cartoon, but whatever, just put Saturday Morning material on prime time." CBS did that literally with "Toon Nite" in the spring of 1991. For a brief period of time, their Tuesday evenings were filled with Bugs Bunny specials and Ninja Turtle episodes. It attracted me at least, but probably not many thirtysomethings.

Later on they tried this. There was an indie comic called Fish Police that had nothing in common with this whatsoever. My theory is that Hanna-Barbera thought of a cartoon about fish cops before discovering that comic existed, then paid the guy for the name so he wouldn't sue. Nothing else makes sense to me.

In an alternate dimension, Fish Police is on its 23rd season and Internet geeks are complaining that it hit its peak around year 9.

The problem with these cartoons is obvious -- they weren't creator-driven or innovative in any way besides being "for adults." These designs just follow a typical 1980's Saturday Morning house style. No soul.

If Capitol Critters is still on YouTube, you can watch for yourself and see how boring it is.


The very very short-lived "Scorch" was "Alf" only with a dragon intead of an alien. The same blasted thing. Except Alf was adorable enough to turn into plushies and figurines and toothbrushes, whereas this guy....yeah. They should've used Opus the Penguin's rule of thumb: "It'd look rotten on a Burger King glass."

"Billy" was one of the much lesser known TGIF sitcoms, spun off from Head of the Class. We were still in the era of bombastic chipper theme songs over a minute long, but "Billy" didn't even try. Its opening sequence was a series of slightly-moving still pictures and a narration explaining that Billy lost his teaching job on Head of the Class and his temporary visa expired, so he moved to another state and temporarily married a friend to stay in the USA. It was a weird premise for a 90's family sitcom, and its humor was based entirely on the assumption that Billy's thick Scottish accent would make anything he said uproarious.

I knew it was a hole-patcher the moment I saw it; a simple prop to occupy ABC's time, until they found something better.

"We're the network and we're ordering you to base one of your plotlines this season around the full moon."
"Is this for Halloween?"
"It's for Leap Year Day."

"Me on Me, Hosted by Me."

"Ha ha, George! Everyone's gonna wanna watch my dead baby show and nobody's gonna care about YOUR program!"

Then there was this "soap opera" this coffee company attempted to run one ad at a time. They only had 30 seconds to hook people AND they had to sell Taster's Choice at the same time. This led to lines like the following exchange I swear was said:
"So, are you two into each other?"
"We share a certain passion.....for a certain coffee."

I have hated few things like I hated the Taster's Choice ads. The actors were unpleasant and smarmy and the concept didn't work and the sales pitches were so forced and every ad was confusing and THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO SAY IT'S BETTER THAN INDIANA JONES. DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL.

Maybe it was a little bit better than Crystal Skull, but that's as far as I go.

There's this face popular among young girls' Facebook photos that's known as the "Fish Face." It's where they don't smile, they puff out their cheeks, pucker their lips and leer into the camera lens before taking the shot. Popular consensus among those who aren't tweens is that the Fish Face must die. But did you know it was invented by the Wayans brothers?

....THEM. No, really, look at the photo. That's what the episode description says too.

There was this one evening when Mom was looking through the TV schedule and she said, "You know, we never gave this Married with Children show a chance. It might be nice."
Immediately I sprang out of my chair and stammered, "NO NO NO NO NO! DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! TRUST ME!!"
If my parents couldn't handle the spicier content on Funniest Home Videos, viewing Married With Children would have caused them to spontaneously combust. And I didn't want to be an orphan.

It's funny how sometimes I had to shelter them.