Category Archives: Public Television

Ask Til It Hurts

by Steve Ricci


…and, so, the uvula stands guard, ever vigilant, ever pendulous, ever guttural; our silent sentinel in the throat…

“Wow! Wasn’t that fascinating? Hello, I’m program director Sedgewick Dimsdale, and welcome back to PBS. We hope you’ve been enjoying Uvula: The Heart of Darkness, part six of our ground-breaking 12-part documentary series, Upside Your Head, which explores those lesser-known, yet critical, components inside each of our heads. Personally, I’ve spent many sleepless nights wondering what that quivering little blob of flesh hanging at the back of my throat was. Now, thanks to the magic of public television, we ALL know.

“I hope you also know that, when you support the outstanding programs of PBS, you make it possible for us to continue bringing you such fine educational television offerings. And supporting PBS has never been easier. If you’ve been enjoying Upside Your Head and would like to make it part of your family’s science library, you can own it on 11 DVDs or 36 VHS cassettes for a six-month membership fee of only $875. As a special bonus, if you order with your DISCOVER card within the next 21 minutes, we will include this limited-edition collector’s series booklet, Blemished Cretaceous. This riveting companion publication to the popular PBS documentary series narrated by Regis Philbin attempts to answer a question that has plagued paleontologists for decades: did prehistoric reptiles suffer from chronic acne?

“And, coming up later tonight, we have another compelling installment of our award-winning news magazine, Clarification, which takes a hard-hitting look at the dangerously unsanitary world of inner-city pushcart falafel vending. But it’s not just about science and news at PBS. Here to tell you about some of our superb entertainment programming is our station manager JoEllen Klauf. Take it away, JoEllen.”

“You’re exactly right, Sedgewick; the entertainment abounds on PBS this month and it’s all free, brought right into your living room each night, at no charge, with no obligation from you, and no expectation that you’ll actually have to give us anything for all this totally free stuff we are providing at no cost to you in terms of not actually having to pay anything.

“Starting next week, we are proud to debut an exhilarating and gritty new crime drama, The Lolly Crumpet Mysteries, starring Lynn Redgrave as the inscrutable Mrs. Crumpet, an elderly British detective who scoots about the English countryside in her 1956 Nash Rambler, hunting deranged serial killers with the help of her clairvoyant dachshund, Cornelia.”

“I don’t want to interrupt, JoEllen, but I thought our viewers might like to know that the Lolly Crumpet Mysteries recently received a United Kingdom Bronze Telly Award nomination for best landscaping in a limited-run mini-series.”

“That’s exactly right, Sedgewick. Just another indication of the quality programming available here on PBS. And, speaking of quality programming, following Mrs. Crumpet is another fine episode of our popular live concert series, Unsung Maestros, featuring a never-before-seen musical salute to the Treaty of Ghent by Umbombo Mbwatu, legendary master of the Ugandan tongue flute. But the musical pièce de résistance this month is our exclusive premier of Ken Burns’s latest nine-part epic documentary, Kazoo: An American Instrument. In honor of this historic film event, we are offering our members an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime offer: free with your two-year renewal fee of only $3,500, you will receive this 14-kt gold-plated kazoo personally signed by Mr. Burns and complete with a certificate of authenticity. Please allow 12 to 18 weeks for mailing.

“But wait, there’s more!

“New and renewing members will also receive a complimentary subscription to our monthly programming guide, What Else is On? which tells you pretty much everything you can already find in any newspaper’s weekly TV supplement but with slightly larger type. I don’t know, Sedgewick, how can you beat that?”

“Boy, I don’t think you can JoEllen. Okay, our time is nearly up and I know how anxious you are to find out more about your head parts, so we are going to return you now to part seven of Upside Your Head, The Frenulum: Hold Your Tongue. But before we do, let me remind you once again how important your support is to maintaining the kind of quality and value you’ve come to expect from PBS.

“Pledge today. Learn tomorrow. Okay, now back to our show…”

… Presentation of Upside Your Head is made possible through the generous support of viewers willing to endure the 25 minutes of obsequious groveling needed to pay for each hour of PBS programming.

© 2009 Steve Ricci

Steve Ricci is a writer, editor, and photographer with no discernible middle name.

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Filed under Current events, Entertainment, Humor, Posts by Steve Ricci, Public Television, Television