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On TV (and in columns) it's simply good vs. bad


Bad Roger looked out the window and made a sour face.

"I don't care what anybody says, we didn't have weather like this before the Hubble Space Telescope," he said.

"You're an idiot," Good Roger said.

Good Roger was busy packing food baskets for shut-ins and others who could not get out because of the weather. He made sure to pack only healthy foods like Mueslix and rice cakes and other things that make people gag.

Good Roger is the decent, helpful side of me, the side who still does his Canadian Air Force exercises each morning and believes the world would be a better place if there was not so much violence on television.

Bad Roger is the evil, twisted side of me, the side who thinks McDonald's french fries are one of the seven basic food groups and wants television to run the uncut version of "Born Innocent" every night.

"You know why they spent $649 million to fix the Hubble Space Telescope?" Bad Roger said. "I read it's because Bill Clinton wanted to use it to peek in the locker room of the Miss USA Pageant."

"And where, pray tell, did you read that?" Good Roger said. "In some gutter tabloid at the supermarket, I gather?"

Good Roger is always saying stuff like "pray tell" and "I gather." It's one reason he's such a goon.

"There's a lot of good stuff in the supermarket press that regular newspapers won't print because they are afraid," Bad Roger said.

"Such as?" Good Roger asked.

"Such as how Michael Jackson may very well be the love child of Oprah and Richard Sher," Bad Roger said.

"You really should be locked up," Good Roger said. "And why do you keep staring out of that window?"

"I like looking at the people who go out in snowstorms carrying umbrellas," Bad Roger said. "If you get enough snow built up, the umbrella can snap shut and decapitate you."

"And that, I gather, would make your day?" Good Roger said.

"You gather right," Bad Roger said. "Especially since I am hoping to capture it on tape and send it in to 'America's Funniest Home Videos.' "

Good Roger finished packing the food boxes and then sat down with his local newspaper. Good Roger spends at least an hour every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday with his local newspaper. Other days of the week, he finds much less to read and can usually get through in about five minutes.

"This Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding thing has really upset me," Good Roger said. "On the one hand, I believe the highest standards of Olympic sportsmanship must be maintained. But on the other hand, I believe that innocent-until-proven-guilty should remain the bedrock of our society."

"It's a phony-baloney story, anyway," Bad Roger said."

"A phony story?" Good Roger said. "You mean Nancy Kerrigan was not attacked? And Tonya Harding may not be implicated?"

"I mean CBS, which lost pro-football and got stuck with the Winter Olympics, needed something to hype one of the dullest events on TV," Bad Roger said. "You know what figure skating really is? It is ballroom dancing on ice. Does anybody want to see ballroom dancing on ice?"

"I would, actually," Good Roger said.

"I would, eck-shoo-lee," Bad Roger mimicked. (And he's a stitch when he mimics.) "Why do you think the costumes in figure skating get more and more revealing for the women and tighter and tighter for the men every year?"

"Less wind resistance?" Good Roger ventured.

"Sex!" Bad Roger said. "Raw TV sex! But sex alone is not enough. So CBS arranged for the missing ingredient: Violence. Good old American violence. People bashing other people with iron pipes."

"And that will boost ratings?" Good Roger said.

"Absolutely," Bad Roger said. "Right now everybody is wondering how they can punish Tonya and still be fair. But don't you see what CBS is going to do? It will declare that the only fair thing to do is let Nancy Kerrigan chase Tonya Harding around the ice with an iron pipe. Nancy gets three tries to catch her. If Nancy catches her and whacks her on the knee, then the competition will be even. If Nancy doesn't catch her, well, then she doesn't deserve the gold anyway."

"I think I may be sick," Good Roger said.

"Do it over the Mueslix," said Bad Roger. "Nobody will notice."

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