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Now that Breastgate has awoken the sleeping giant that is the FCC, everything considered indecent is marked for death (or at least heavy, heavy fines).But while it focuses on curse words and pastied nipples, the FCC is missing the larger picture. If the commission want to help protect us from ourselves, it should really focus its wrath on the following:
1. "NYPD Blue"
"NYPD Blue" was once a trailblazer for the relaxing of network rules and regulations, with its warnings of adult language and partial nudity. But for the most part, all the show has been willing to offer is some glimpses of Dennis Franz's rear. Even worse, the long sustained shots of it. What's up with that? Perhaps it's a way of punishing us for being morally small in the first place.
Ben Sheets, a fine No. 3 starter, will pitch Opening Day. Buy your tickets for that one because it only gets worse. Letting your kids see their Nos. 2-5 guys will do way more damage to their psyche than replaying Janet's breast in super slo-mo. With all of their moves (goodbye, Richie Sexson) and other cost-cutting favorites, it's very possible that for the first time in baseball's modern era, you, an average middle class workaday Joe, might make more than a Major League Baseball team's total payroll. 3. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson
Their Oscar schtick might have proven, once and for all, that these guys (who we still think have it in them to be funny) need to be separated and re-inspired before something terrible happens. There have been 100 different cuts of the "Starsky & Hutch" trailer. All make you think you'll be walking out of the theater half an hour early. No act in Hollywood (and we're including Vin Diesel) is in danger of becoming more tired than this one.
4. J-Lo's Love Life
This is a toughie. Without J-Lo's primal need for attention, many tabloid writers would be out of jobs. Fertile punchline soil would dry up almost instantly. But in the best interest of the gossip biz, she -- and we -- need to stop. Think of all the stars who don't get the coverage they deserve. Cameron and Justin. Jessica and Nick. Paris and the Internet.
Between "Trading Spaces," "While You Were Out," "Home Again," "Home Savvy," "Action Squad," "New Yankee Workshop" (not, repeat, not a show about remodeling a certain locker room in the Bronx in platinum), "Monster House" (also not about Yankee Stadium), and their brethren, there are more shows about decorating and repairing your home than homes to repair and decorate. Take five TVs and play five of these shows. Try to tell them apart. We dare you. Choose one, FCC. Lose the others. 6. The Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament
Mercifully, not all 10 make the tourney. Unfortunately, eight do. Televise Stanford, at least until the Cardinal lose. Everything else qualifies as sensible government censorship of the airways. This is the type of March that induces actual madness. 7. Donald Trump
The Donald already has agreed to do two more installments of "The Apprentice." The only thing more irritating than these wannabe corporate sharks sucking up to Trump is Trump sucking up to himself. The show? TV's No. 1 (unless you consult the actual ratings). His apartment? The best in New York (apparently, gaudiness is the only deciding factor). His helicopter? The fastest. His toothpaste? The whitening-est. His ego? The biggest (this one he nailed). However with all that money, how can he justify that hair? Note to his stylist: You're fired!8. The 2004 Presidential Election
This is shaping up to be the most polarizing election since, well, the last one. There are, what, 11 swing voters in the entire country? Most people have made up their minds already, or won't until mid-October. Yet between now and November, our television and radio enjoyment will be cluttered endlessly with annoying sound bites, commercials we can't believe anyway and boring speeches. All of which distract us from what's important, like when the next installment of the Paris Hilton home movies will hit the Internet. 9. "Joey"
Sure, there's always a chance it'll be "Frasier." Chances are, though, we're talking "Archie's Place" or "After MASH." The FCC is supposed to protect us from things potentially upsetting. All the memories of one of TV's sharpest comedies getting permanently soiled would fall into that category. Let's just nip this one in the bud now. 10. Trucker Hats and All Other Things Involving Ashton Kutcher
Think of all the good that would come from this cat vanishing. Demi will be too busy consoling him to ruin other sequels. Past tense verbs will no longer be spelled with 'd. P.Diddy will be forced to find a more entertaining Dean to his Frank. If the FCC is worried about kids having a bad role model, here's where their priorities should lie.
11. Fabulously Gay Gays
We've met gay people before. Most couldn't fill in for a member of the "Fab Five" if one called in sick. Nor are they all as sassy as "Will and Grace"'s Jack. Some even have purposes beyond being sympathetic best friends/sounding boards for a girl whose boyfriend treats her poorly, or other miscellaneous movie subplot complications. But you wouldn't know that from pop culture. Instead of focusing on constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, can we pass one barring one-note portrayals of a social class? Or at least make them more entertaining?
Not the actual food group, but the hype they've caused. The words "low carb," "no carb," "Atkins," and "South Beach" should be banned forever from the air waves. Any diet that promotes a stick of butter over an apple has gotta be a crock. Michelob Ultra Light is bland enough to make Pabst taste imported. Pass the bread, FCC. 13. Those Creepy Rodents that Promote Quizno's
What the hell are those things? Good God, make them go away. 14. Levitra, Cialis, and other "Enhancing" Drug Commercials
First rule of car advertising: Show the car. First rule of drug advertising: Tell us what the drug does. Watching a guy throw a football through a tire doesn't provide adequate information. What are we supposed to think? He needs the ability to get it up in order to win an NFL skills competition? Besides, every guy on the planet with malfunctioning equipment may not see a doctor, but they sure as hell know they've got a problem. And anybody with an email account has been sent enough offers for free Cialis, Levitra or Viagra to be shipped to their door from some storehouse in Canada to know treatments exist. Do these commercials really help anyone? 15. Celebrity-studded and Voiced Commercials
The only thing worse than Devito, Fishburne, Duvall, and Garcia getting unneeded paychecks to hawk cable TV are the stars who don't even put their face to their shamelessness. Note to Hackman, Jackson, Jones, Bridges, Clooney, and the rest. Not actually seeing you sell out doesn't mean that you aren't.