Channel Seventy-Four

A typical Thursday night at Polytropos HQ. At 9:45, I got back from yoga, and entered the apartment to find Suanna sitting on the futon with the laptop, checking email. I made myself a bowl of soup, sat down next to her, and turned on the TV so I could aimlessly channel surf while I scarfed down my late supper.

“This is one downside to “losing cable”:,” I mentioned offhandedly. “There’s not hardly any channels to surf through any more.”

And it’s true. Everybody has their guilty TV pleasure: that one type of show that can easily gobble up fifteen minutes of your time as you sit there, transfixed. My own particular weakness in this regard is infomercials — especially ones with snazzy hosts and “live” studio audiences. For others, it’s Animal Planet, soap operas in Spanish, or the infinite variations on home improvement reality TV on the Learning Channel. In any case, without cable, the chances of finding something sufficiently transfixing were suddenly quite slim.

I cycled up the channels, skipping past the sitcoms, pausing momentarily on the catastrophe du jour of _ER_, and soon found the numbers making leapfrog jumps from channel 26 to 34 to sixtysomething: the odd flotsam and jetsam that you get when you’re signed up for “bare-bones” cable. CSPAN was in there, of course, and some sort of local government meeting, and a NASA learning channel. Then we hit Channel 74.

Two people in skin-tight spandex were energetically wrestling on a colorful mat. But something didn’t seem quite right — they weren’t big and beefy like pro wrestlers. Then I caught a glimpse of something that it took at few seconds to process, simply because I didn’t expect to see it on broadcast television in the middle of prime time. One of the wrestlers was a buxom woman, you see, and she was completely topless. I think I was saying something to that effect to Suanna — “Huh. She’s not wearing a shirt.” — when the woman succeeded in pinning the man to the floor and, with a triumphant flourish, whisked off his spandex shorts, revealing, with nary a shadow or obscured camera angle, his unmentionables.

This is when I changed the channel.

“What channel _was_ that?” Suanna asked.

“Oh, I’m not telling _you_ ,” I joked. “You’ll get up in the middle of the night to watch that stuff while I’m sleeping.”

I just went to check up on ol’ Channel 74 again — purely for blog research purposes, you understand — and I saw . . . more wrestling. But with clothed, bulky guys this time — rednecks, in a ring fully stocked with assorted wooden furniture, the easier to bash each other’s heads with, I suppose. Not, however, any nekkidness. I guess it’s a wrestling channel.

How utterly bizarre.

UPDATE: Down in the comments, Greg clarifies what is (probably) going on here.