Watching The TV Guide Channel

I was stunned the first time I saw the TV Guide Channel. I don’t think I had cable at the time, but I was house-sitting for a friend. Late one night, I stumbled upon a channel which was showing nothing but a hypnotic, scrolling schedule of my choices.

I was mesmerized. There was no need to even exert the minimal effort to actually channel surf. This was the stuff of genius.

I sat there boggle-eyed, maybe for hours. None of the programming listed was as gripping and, no matter whichever choice I made, I invariably returned to this magical channel.

I had to watch because if I didn’t I might miss something I’d wanted to watch because I was watching something else.

The other night, I consulted the TV Guide Channel. And, amidst the uninspiring offerings, a title caught my eye – Top Gun.

Man, I hadn’t seen that flick since it had been in theaters and I’d left that viewing feeling like I’d missed the evolutionary train for being slack-jawed enough to help the people who made this movie make money.

(and the flick made lots of money back in ’86)

Could it have been as bad as I remembered? I hopped on over to Bravo to give it another viewing.

I managed to hang with it through the opening as the flight scenes were engaging enough.

My head was soon resting on my hand (which was covering my eyes from the steaming pile of over wrought tripe which I was witnessing).

I had lasted roughly twenty-two minutes, until Tom Cruise began serenading the Amish chick from Witness.

As I sought to find something less insulting to my intelligence – or even as equally insulting so long as it was more entertaining – nothing was to be found.

Girding my loins (which sounds like something a Republican senator might get caught doing in a men’s bathroom at an airport), I flipped back to Top Gun.

Now Amish Chick was declaring her forbidden love to a sun glassed Tom Cruise, the two of them silhouetted against the setting sun, he having just chased down her convertible on his motorcycle as the wind swept through their hair (which didn’t so much as flinch).

I resisted the urge to batter my head against the table ‘til I bled from my eyes.

I’d need those orbs to eyeball the TV Guide Channel.

A-Ha – The Sun Always Shines On TV
Here in the States, the Norwegian trio A-Ha has been relegated to one-hit wonder status which is unfortunate. Sure, everyone knows Take On Me, but that song’s follow-up, The Sun Always Shines On TV, is a far better song. It hurtles along with a gloriously yearning melody and, as I recall, the video was almost as striking as the song for which they’re better known.

Bow Wow Wow – (I’m A) TV Savage
Was there a more fetching ingenue in ’80s music than Bow Wow Wow’s Anabella Lwin? (there’s never been a fifteen-year old Burmese chick with a mohawk quite like her)

Annabella aside, Bow Wow Wow was lots of fun. Sure, many of their songs were indistinguishable from one another – Annabella yelping manically over that tribal drumming – but fun nonetheless.

Cheap Trick – Ballad Of TV Violence (I’m Not The Only Boy)
Paloma and I have acquired most of Cheap Trick’s albums on vinyl (at least the ones worth acquiring) save for their self-titled debut on which this song appears. Instead, this is a live version from their box set Sex, America, Cheap Trick.

Headlights – TV
The trio Headlights seemed to have all the hip kids abuzz some time back (I could verify this except Spin magazine elicits the same reaction from me as Top Gun).

Like Cheap Trick, Headlights come from Illinois (Rockford for the former, Champaign for the latter) and their song Cherry Tulips is nearly perfect indie pop. TV, from their 2006 debut album Kill Them With Kindness, is the only other song of Headlights which I have heard, but it leads me to believe that the hip kids might actually be on to something.

5 Responses to Watching The TV Guide Channel

  1. A. FlockOfSeagulls says:


    I stumbled across your blog in my cyberspace travels. Have thoroughly enjoyed reading a number of your posts, and no doubt will appreciate more of what you’ve posted to date. Hope you don’t mind, I’ve added a link to your blog from my own, Retro Universe. It sounds like we grew up in pretty much the same era.
    Keep up the great work!


  2. whiteray says:

    Love the a-ha! I sleepwalked through the ’80s, for the most part, so I missed a lot. (And avoided some stuff, too, so there’s that.)

  3. wolf says:

    Ah, Top Gun. Every now and then I’ll hear Berlin on the radio, or Danger Zone will come on my iPod, and I’ll get the urge to put T.G. into my NetFlix queue to see how good (or bad) it’s gotten since I watched it last.

    Thus far I’ve managed to avoid putting it into the queue, and thanks to your bravery here, I don’t have to. Thanks for taking one for the rest of us.

  4. My hmphs says:

    Dang, that’s creepy. I swear I wrote my previous comment about one-hit wonders and “The Sun Always Shines on TV” before reading this post. Wow!

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