FLINT - I am not a snob when it comes to TV. I've been known to watch the cable channel that shows nothing but a fire in a fireplace. I have watched the infomercial featuring the guy who used to play Al on "Home Improvement" selling ladders.
I've watched so many five minute segments of the movie "Robocop" that I feel like I've watched the whole thing even though I've never seen it in its entirety. I've watched "The Weather Channel." And I don't mean to check whether it's going to rain. I mean I've watched it because I like the music!
I have even watched - God help me - "The Golf Channel."
So clearly I have no standards, which is why I was shocked and amazed to find a program the other night that is so shockingly dumb that even I was offended.
It happened like this: I walked into the family room where the lovely yet formidable Marcia was watching TV with our daughter, Annie, who is, I'm fairly sure, a clone of her mother. I call her Marcia 2.0.
"Whatcha watching?" I said.
"You don't want to know," Marcia said. Annie just rolled her eyes. She's 15. I think it's in her contract: Dad opens mouth, you roll eyes.
"C'mon, what's on?" I said.
"For your own good, just turn around and walk away," Marcia said. "Trust me."
"OK, it's the Food Network."
Nothing wrong with that, I thought. I like cooking, as long as someone else is doing it. And I really like that "Iron Chef" show where the Japanese host, who clearly needs to switch to decaf, gets all hyper-excited about the secret ingredient. ("This week broccoliiiii!")
I also like that show where the cursing British chef takes over a roach infested restaurant and is always shocked - shocked! - to find that it doesn't produce great food. It's fun when he screams at people. His blood pressure must be through the roof. I've even started using the word "bloody" because of him.
So I sat and watched with the girls, and within seconds it became clear that I was watching a show entirely devoted to cupcakes. Not cakes. Cakes I like. I even like that show about cakes, the one where they create cakes that look like giant 3D pigs.
But this show - called "Cupcake Wars" - was about the little frosted things you give kids on birthdays that have sprinkles.
"You have GOT to be kidding me?" I said. "I can't believe they can get an entire show out of cupcakes. Heck, I can't believe you're WATCHING an entire show about cupcakes."
And, again, this is coming from a guy who has actually watched C-Span.
"I told you you'd be sorry," Marcia said.
And she was right. Honestly, if Western civilization has reached a stage where our TV networks are airing programming about cupcakes, we are clearly on the edge of collapse.
Seriously, are we this bored? Can we not find something more worthy to do with our time? What's next, a show about dryer lint? A show about trimming one's toenails? ("Next on 'Toenail Wars,' our annual hangnail competition!") A show about, I don't know, pawn shops or lumberjacking or long distance trucking?
Wait. You mean there are ALREADY shows about those last three things?
I give up then. Clearly, there is nothing that TV won't make a show about and nothing that we, as Americans, won't watch. I give up on all of you.
And, OK, yes, before you ask, of course I watched the stupid cupcake show with my wife and daughter. I had to give it a fair chance, didn't I?
Personally, I can't believe the spicy double dark chocolate cupcakes won.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist for The Flint Journal, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. For more of his work, visit his blog at blog.mlive.com/flintjournal/aheller. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.