Think there’s too much garbage on television? Don’t inhale too deeply—next season won’t be much different. Perry Winkel, our Hollywood insider, sent this dispatch describing pilots being cast for next fall.
Hairy Pooter and the Chamber Pot of Secrets. TBS. Hairy, Ron Greasely, and Hermione Flanger leave the banquet hall at Hawgfarz feeling bloated, and spend the next two episodes asking the airy spirits of the castle why. They don’t know much, but it turns out that the fat lady in the Sniffindor portrait—who’s getting svelter by the day—provides a crucial clue. It turns out that Lord Merdemor has convinced the house elves to slip exlaxia herb into all sweets served. The herb causes not only noisy disburthenment, but also the attrition of magical powers. Our heroic trio must gird their loins and summon all their intestinal fortitude to enter the Chamber Pot of Secrets, where the Sword of the Blue Flame helps them dispel the villain.
Funk Factor. Nickelodeon. The cameras roll as sets of siblings—nine-year-old Tom and six-year-old Jack in the premier—are given the power to decide when they bathe, brush their teeth, wash their hands, and clean up after themselves. The answer, of course, is practically never. Watch as they happily bait hooks, then dip their hands in pond water for sanitary purposes before digging into a picnic lunch of beanie weenies and saltines. Count how many dogs sleep in their beds. And see how happy they are.
I Really Am Smarter than a Fifth Grader. GSN. Bright but overconfident kids cry as they get pummeled into intellectual pudding by sixth graders who are even smarter. The show is hosted by Jeff Fosnowski, a former semi-pro hockey player caught cheating off a nerd in middle school. He can’t answer the questions either, but has a gift for making fifth graders feel stupid, self-conscious and ugly, especially those with braces or glasses.
CSI: Alabama. CBS. Television’s favorite crime stoppers discover that the south is its own country, separated from the rest of us by the strange misuses of a common language. Imagine their surprise when they discover that they enjoy being in places that lack cell phone coverage! The pilot ends with detectives apprehending a football fan trying to rob Bear Bryant’s tomb to collect DNA samples to clone. The next episode opens with a twist: the judge is a Bama fan who extols the grave robber for his forward thinking.
36 Hours. Fox. Donald Sutherland starts in this slow-moving thriller about a septuagenarian who returns to the secret service after the decimation of his 401(k). He can’t move fast enough to catch a bullet for the commander-in-chief—in fact, he has trouble moving at all—but he pieces together clues faster than Angela Lansbury on a double latte. Unfortunately, he forgets conclusions almost as quickly as he draws them. He gets the job done. It just takes a little longer.
The Spin Factory. Fox News. This is the news show that promises fair and balanced coverage by inviting guests from all shades of the political spectrum to share their takes on current events. Each guest gets eight seconds of air time before the host shouts over them to make snide comments. Those who refuse to agree with him before the end of the segment are derided as socialists and not invited back.
America’s Most Violent Home Videos. WGN. Mixed martial arts fights aren’t violent or realistic enough for you? Tune into America’s Most Violent Home Videos. Watch soccer moms pull each others’ hair out after fighting over a missed offside call. Then there’s the clip of an obese woman beating the hell out of her emaciated drunk boyfriend—first in front of her children, then as the police drive by! And don’t forget everyone’s favorite: cat fight in the cafeteria!