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But What Happens During Sweeps?

By Skippy
Hey Kids! It's Skippy time! When it's time for Skippy, it's time for love. So how are we all doing as we go careening towards the holiday season? Any lingering resentments or disappointments planning on manifesting themselves as full blown suicidal depression this year? Don't let it get to you kids, and if it does, put off eating the shotgun until mid-January. First, if you can wait that long you might just forget the whole thing. Second, it is sooo cliché to do yourself during the holidays. You don't want to wind up another one of those poor bastards that couldn't make it through Christmas do you? Of course you don't, hang in there and we'll all get through this together.

See there, I am attempting to connect on a whole `nother level with you mouthbreathers. It's my way of becoming more accessible and human. I still don't much care for you, or humans in general for that matter. And I still find that at least 90% of you are too stupid to tie your own shoes, but frankly, I'm running short of cohorts at this point. I find that you take what you can get in this life, and it appears that I am stuck needing humans as friends. You'd think science would come up with something a little more reliable.

This of course leads us to the meat of this month's diatribe. You remember how a few months back I mentioned that I was entering a new chapter in my life? Remember how I was excited yet wistful for the good old days? Now I know why. It turns out my show was being cancelled and I was about to start an extended run as the goofy, yet strangely endearing, love interest on somebody else's show. Confused yet? Don't worry, I will make this clear even to you.

As my regular readers are well aware, I live my life based on the precepts of the greatest teacher of our age, television. Many times, a thorny problem in my life has been solved for me by spending countless hours in front of the flickering god. Relationships, work, moral quandaries and even financial concerns are all addressed nightly on at least one of my hundreds of channels. Television speaks to me and I take it seriously, so the latest developments in my own life have caused me no small amount of concern.

You see, I have always lived as though I was the star of my own television show. My best friend lives his life in much the same way so we have few problems interacting. My various sig oth's on the other hand, never really understood why I would constantly berate them with one liners. Obviously it's because you never pass up the opportunity for a big laugh, even if it is just the two of you and you are supposed to be on a romantic getaway. My friend you see, is aware of the audience. The sig oth's were/are not, hence the charges that I am callous or unfeeling. I'm not really, I'm just going for the laugh.

I realized recently however, that some changes have taken place in my life. I moved in with my sig oth and we live a fair distance away from my normal crew. Most of the things we do nowadays involve her friends and their love interests. This didn't really register with me until I found myself making plans for a ball game with one of these love int's. He turned out to be a great guy and we had a blast at the game, but our only real knowledge of each other going in was through our sig oth's. This was a new and unsettling experience. I was pondering the implications of all this when it hit me, I had gone from starring in my own show, to being the guest love interest on someone else's.

This was a rude awakening to say the least, but it all fit. I no longer knew anyone at parties. I no longer got to tell "remember when" stories with all my friends. I no longer got any of the interesting lines. I was a supporting character. I was the guest star brought in for the sweeps to boost ratings. I was Woodman on "thirtysomething", I was Pete on "friends", for the love of all that is holy, I had become Eddie Lebec from "Cheers".

Now if television has taught us anything, it is that you don't screw with the ensemble. You can bring in a love interest and he/she can be witty and charming and what have you, but not at the expense of the established players. You can throw the love interest the occasional bone in the form of a single "character exploration" episode, but only with the understanding that this is a one shot deal. Most of all, guest love interests don't last very long. Sometimes as much as a season, on rare occasions two seasons, but never more than that. The only place to go after that second campaign is on to the next guest shot or perhaps a cheesy spin-off which is cancelled after six episodes and winds up in terminal reruns on the USA network at 11AM. It makes one shudder to think.

This newfound knowledge of the sad and pathetic state of my existence has sent me back to the tube for answers. I finally got the dish hooked up, so that will help some. I've started an intense regimen of late eighties dramas and a few older sitcoms. It's a good mix and with a little "Junkyard Wars", professional wrestling and the NFL I'm pretty sure it will all work itself out. I'm working on a few things on spec right now. My hope is that the show I'm guesting on is nearing the end of its run and I can sell the higher-ups on my idea for a wacky sitcom set amongst Bay Area refugees living in Portland. Failing that I can always do that movie of the week about a hack internet writer drinking himself to death while trying to earn a living from banner ad revenues. Stay tuned...

signed, Skippy