Columns, Opinion

DONNELLY: “Offing” On Demand

Remember when Pumkin spat on New York? The stuff of trashy TV legend. But then Destiney got mouth-fountained by Brandy C. and Brittanya bulls-eyed Heather with a saliva bomb and they all dissolved into a cloud of obscurity and stripper dust.

How about that time a quite-scorned Stephen called Kristin a slut for dancing on tables at Senor Frogs? But then LC dated a convict and Steven became an addict and Whitney said ‘ink’ at the end of gerundives.

What started off as a harmless game show surrounding a fat, naked, million-dollar-winning tax evader has evolved into a totally pervasive and relentless lobotomy session. Though I’ve tried, I can’t seem to bring myself to care about Kourtney Kardashian’s boozehoundedness. I’m almost positive her stillborn daughter won’t appreciate it, either.

But through the crossfire of HD idiocy and bucketfuls of my own cerebral bloodshed, I, for the first time in a long time, tumbled off of the mind-numbing reality TV battlefield and into the cognitive shelter of an unexpected safe haven. Here, support beams were used architecturally and not as a means to demonstrate one’s upside-down human trafficking potential. Here, mouthwash was a preventative against tartar buildup and not a last-resort spearmint nightcap. Here, roommates swapped stories before they considered HPV exchange.

I recognize that it seems hypocritical to promote the livelihood of a fictional serial killer upon lamenting the unwholesomeness of my cable’s output, but I found my salvation. And salvation, thy name was Showtime’s Dexter On Demand.

And Dexter On Demand, thou hast made me a recluse.

I’m not quite sure why the twisted conquests of a stoic, flesh-starved criminal first captivated me. Maybe I found pools of blood refreshing body fluid alternatives to those melted into the Playboy Mansion’s tapestry ‘- I don’t know. But when I first sat down on my couch 12 days ago and acquainted myself with channel one, I forgot about my mission to figure out who Rachel Zoe is or why her life is worth a multi-episode arc.

Until recently, I didn’t appreciate the blessing-in-disguise of a strictly basic cable upbringing. Charlie Brown’s Christmas special through static and Bob Saget’s falsetto narration of pi’ntilde;ata-beatings-gone-awry on ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’ were the only staples of my fake-wood-sided Hitachi. I never got the chance to hate the world with ‘Daria’ and a majority of my rebellious exploits with ‘the Rugrats’ were sleepover-exclusive. The idea that On Demand a decade ago would have allowed me to watch, on repeat, the infamous ‘Boy Meets World’ lip-lock between Corey and Lauren at the mountain resort? It was inconceivable.

But I’m enlightened, and I know it would have destroyed me, because now, as my flat tire advances toward a well-inflated Good Year, I’m struggling to remember the taste of fresh air. Dexter Morgan, his collection of Gladware-wrapped corpses and I have spent almost every waking moment together over the past few weeks. Hours in the forensics lab turn into days covering the tracks of our slaughters. Making time for our shrill but good-hearted sister Debra is always a challenge, but as shrill as she is, she means well. Plus, I need her advice, because I’m in too deep.

See, dirt under fingernails and collar adorned with stale Tostito corners, I find myself second-guessing my relationship with Miami’s top blood-spatter expert as it tires on. There are times when I’ll sneak outside our second-story Florida apartment just to clear my head. He’ll find me, try to entice me with a new microscope slide of a fresh kill’s DNA, but I’ll just brush it off and tell him I’m not in the mood. He’ll take this as cue to moan about unresolved issues with his dead father, I’ll get frustrated because I’ve heard it all before and my phone will fake-ring, alerting me to the station just so I can leave and finally get some peace and quiet.

But how do you tell a mass-murderer you’re breaking things off? He’s generally agreeable but there are certainly times when his temper gets the best of him. And maybe I’ve over-thought this. Sure, he’s left dozens of families in disrepair. And yeah, I’d prefer to take my weed whacker to the mess of my rhododendron without first finding chunks of flesh in the bolts, but he brings donuts to the office when he senses a black cloud looming and he’s really good with his girlfriend Rita’s kids. It’s a lot to consider.

Through the good and bad, the gory and clean-cut, I’ve got to keep an open dialogue, and maybe it’s time I give regularly scheduled trashy programming a second chance. A majority of the Bachelors won’t find love, and Kathy Griffin isn’t any closer to acceptance from her peers, but there’s definitely comfort in knowing.

Besides, what’s the alternative? Conversation? Reading? ‘One-Hundred Years of Solitude’ has made perfect compensation for my table’s short leg and I have no intention of undercutting its potential to last. It wouldn’t be fair.

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