» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

October 11, 2004
Issue #2: What Should You Do? I don't even know anymore.

Sometimes, once in a great while, a show will come along that will reaffirm my love for bad television. In the very early 80s, that show was Small Wonder... though when that show aired, I was only 8, and didn't recognize there was anything bad about it. Sometimes creepy and always awful, it marked the misadventures of a robotic little girl and her semi-homosexual non-robotic brother. Looking back on the episodes I taped (I think I might have had a crush on V.I.K.I*), Small Wonder fills me with a certain cynical joy.

"What happened to these actors?" I ask myself while I drink my Orange Slice, pretending it's Orange Crush, "did they think that this was it, their big break in show business?"

Note: After asking, I went to IMDB.COM, the greatest website known to man, and checked the 4 principle actors starring in Small Wonder: much to my dismay and selfish delight, Small Wonder was the last thing they all did except for Dick Christie, who enjoyed the plum role of "Maitre 'd" in the film "Molly" - a film he also wrote, so he's got that going for him - the touching story of an autistic girl who undergoes an experimental operation and becomes a genius. Know that I'm going to spend tomorrow trying to rent/buy this film.

After Small Wonder, I got caught up in a show called Rescue:911. Every Wednesday, William Shatner brought gripping survival tales into my family room: Children trapped in burning houses, women held at knifepoint, beloved pets choking on Lego bricks. All these tragedies with only one window of escape dialing 9-1-1! The intrepid 911 operators who, in 1988, probably were making $4.50 an hour provided these people with help they so desperately needed.

I remember one episode: two children - boys - were sitting and watching TV when an electrical fire broke out in the house. The older of the two, 11, retold the dramatic events - except before he got to the part about the electrical fire and the need to dial 911, he felt he had to mention that he and his brother had returned home from school and wanted a snack so he got some saltines and mixed up a dipping sauce of ketchup and mustard. An electrical fire rages in the kitchen and these kids are dipping salted crackers in a large bowl of tangy orange sludge. I don't remember how those two boys survived that fire, but I do know that every time I eat a hamburger and see the reddish orange blob of ketchustard that drops from the bun, those two children pop into my mind - those two children and their dipping sauce. I've grown to hate those children, and sometimes, in my weaker moments, wish they had perished in that fire.

For a long time, in the 90s, I didn't notice a lot of bad TV. I'm not saying that there wasn't bad TV, but nothing compared to the badness of the lineup dealt by Small Wonder and Rescue:911, not even the unnecessary final two Night Court seasons or television's whipping boy: Cop Rock.

It wasn't until late last year on a visit to my girlfriend's parent's house in Columbus, Nebraska that I discovered the budding Millennium's best worst show: What Should You Do? We were going to head home, but a tornado forced us into a hotel. There was no mini-bar to raid and the TV selections were sparse at best. I flipped through the channels until my girlfriend said, "Wait, stop, go back, there was a woman and she was on fire."

Few things excite me more than something on fire; it is the hallmark of all things awesome -the Human Torch, melting army men, The Towering Inferno, and the basketball from NBA Jams. I turned the station back and noticed the network: Lifetime, television for women. Faced with my penis retreating into my body or a TV-less hour before bedtime, I risked not life but 'limb,' and sitting at the bed's edge learned what I should do in the advent of: a gas explosion (jump in a pool), an intruder in my house (remain calm, talk to him, convince him to leave), being locked in a trunk by a car thief (pop off a taillight and wave my fingers through the hole), and having my son fall out of a tree and land on his face (call 911, don't move him, wait for help). Now that's womanly television I can get behind. Tornados raged outside, but I was safe and warm in a funny smelling hotel bed, watching bad reenactments of terrible events but also learning.

You're probably wondering why I'm bothering to tell you this... because What Should You Do has become a shadow of its former self. After awesome piss-poor reenactments, a wilderness survival expert, an FBI agent or a doctor would show you step by step exactly what you should do. The FBI agent was the best. Her advice always involved seriously hurting your attacker, "If trapped in your home, find something heavy: an ashtray, a log from the fireplace, and crush the base of his neck." She and her unique brand of violence are gone now, as are the survival expert and the doctor, all replaced by Leeza Gibbons.

Yes, that Leeza Gibbons, whose best advice is always, "stay calm, don't give up" whether it's a bear attack or carbon monoxide poisoning. She's sucked the life out of my favorite bad show. So, gentle reader, if you have the time and are willing to help give me back the one hour on Saturday I spend not drinking, please fill out this form and say that you're unhappy with the direction What Should you Do has taken. I tried writing, but I'm only one man... also, I think their website has some sort of penis filter or something.

*I do not now, nor have I ever, had a crush on Tiffany Brissette - V.I.K.I - that would just be weird.

David DeMarco

See other articles by David DeMarco.



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