24/7 TV

Ken Hoffman's all-day TV diet during coronavirus

Will this be the last season of Curb Your Enthusiasm? Our columnist hopes so. Photo by John P. Johnson/HBO

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

My career, this long hard climb from the bottom to the middle, has come full circle. My first job in Houston was TV-radio columnist for the now-gone Houston Post. All day long, I watched TV. All night, too. I was dedicated.

Now, with the coronavirus outbreak, I'm stuck at home and back to watching TV all day and night. I am bored.

My second day on the job as TV columnist at the Post, I made a mistake and referred to KPRC, the NBC affiliate here, as KPNX, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, my newspaper stop before Houston. Simple mistake, but still embarrassing. One of the sports anchors at KPRC sent me an insulting welcome note, saying I'll never last in Houston making dumb mistakes like that. Just for the record, I'm still here. He's long gone.

The TV diet

For the past month, I've been hitting TV extra hard. My viewing habits have changed a lot since then, though. "Must-See Thursday" has become "I'll Watch Thursday On DVR When I Get Around To It."

I'm getting up pretty early, since the social distancing order came down. Early on, I started my day with our local stations' 4, 5, 6-hour morning newscasts. I never realized how many car crashes there are in Houston. The hosts are much happier, and less groggier, than I am. They're so wired and giddy, it might be time for them to pee in a Dixie cup.

I used to be a news junkie — CNN was my go-to channel. I can't watch the news anymore. All I hear is coronavirus bad news. All I see is my life's saving circle the drain. Even the five minutes of sports on the 10 o'clock news is awful because there's nothing to report.

They say that you can have 150 stations on your cable package, and you'll watch only five regularly. Mine used to be news-news-sports-sports-HBO. Now my fab five are Netflix-food-comedy-Amazon-HBO. And I'm getting ready to drop HBO because a certain show has said goodbye.

I watch the press conferences starring Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. Don't you get the feeling that they have no use for each other? I happen to think they're both doing a competent job. It's just a personality and ego clash between them.

Curb to the curb?

Most depressing of all: Curb Your Enthusiasm, my favorite show ever, aired its 10th and final episode of the season on HBO last Sunday night. From the way Larry David tied up all the loose strings, I'm scared Curb is never coming back. Modern Family, another favorite, is winding down its last season, but this has been a lame farewell season. It's gone from wild comedy to sappy comedy. Sappy isn't funny. While Curb had a huge season, Modern Family should have stopped the show two years ago.

I'm down to watching The Office reruns and old Twilight Zone episodes on Netflix and WWE wrestling on USA and Fox. I'm listening to sports talk radio because I like hearing the hosts scramble for something, anything to talk about. I'm tuning in podcasts like Jim Cornette's Drive-thru, the Jim Cornette Experience and Something About the Beatles. I like Josh Innes' podcast. I get into bed around midnight, hit Youtube and the next time I check what time it is, it's 5 am.

I'm addicted to those videos where people sucker police into confrontations, and then throw the First Amendment at the officers. They goad the officers by taking video of federal buildings and security-sensitive property from the sidewalk, where the Supreme Court says it's okay. Most of the time, the police back off, but occasionally the agitator gets cuffed, stuffed and hauled off in the back of a cop car. There are hundreds of these videos and I never get tired of them.

Sold on shopping channels
I love the home shopping channels, but only if they're demonstrating products like vacuum cleaners and blenders, or selling food like Corky's BBQ or frozen croissants from France. The guy from Corky's has an annoying habit of brushing sauce all over his hands. I can't watch if they're hawking clothes or cosmetics on home shopping. Big fan of In the Kitchen with David on QVC. When David Venable digs into a plate of macaroni and cheese, porn stars could learn from his facial expressions.

I watch old reruns of Pawn Stars. A couple of things: they need to clean their nasty fingernails, all of the guys. I've seen car mechanics with cleaner hands. And the Old Man is not crusty but lovable. He's just a mean old man. Kids, don't hit your ball into his yard — you'll never get it back. I don't have to DVR Impractical Jokers, because it's on 24-hours on TruTV and Channel 57 and Channel 2.

Continue on CultureMap for Ken's thoughts on the non-sporting life.

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The Texans should swing for the fences. Composite image by Jack Brame.

With each passing day, the Deshaun drama thickens. It's progressed to Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeting, basically humbling himself to Deshaun.

A city that a few short weeks ago offered up mega star power across the board, has now seen James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and George Springer all depart for a variety of reasons. The impact of Deshaun leaving would be irreversible guaranteeing the Texans resting comfortably in the bottom of the AFC South for the next decade, wallowing in futility.

The saga will only intensify in two weeks should Patrick Mahomes collect another Lombard Trophy. As 2017 draft class contemporaries, Deshaun is comparing his career to #15. Another ring would place Mahomes up 2-0 in that discussion with Watson.

Perhaps the Texans should take a play from the Oilers playbook and inquire on Dabo Swinney. In the pursuit of securing the services of Warren Moon, the Oilers made a power play and secured the services of Moon's former CFL coach, Hugh Campbell. I've attended several luncheons and engagements in which Deshaun served as the keynote speaker. In many of those venues, a short video presentation would include personal greetings and feel good overtures directed to Deshaun from Dabo. The end result was Deshaun lighting up like a Christmas tree. There's a viable relationship in place there.

At the end of the day, Deshaun is a competitor. Losing DeAndre Hopkins was a major loss, but not to the degree that you might think. Deshaun still went out and threw for over 4,000 yards this season, and with a sub-par supporting cast, even pulling guys off of the practice squad in late December contests to fill out the receiving corps. The issue for Watson is trust, and culture. Hence, the recent headlines surrounding the Jets as a future home make very little sense. The Jets in 4 of their last 5 seasons have had double-digit losing seasons. Until the recent resurgence of the Browns, the Jets far and away have held the title of the "laughingstock" of the NFL.

The biggest challenge for the Texans is who could persuade Deshaun to stay? Could team President Jamey Rootes calm down the noise? It certainly won't come from Texans Ring of Honor recipient Andre Johnson. If I were Cal McNair, I would place a call to 105 Sikes Hall in Clemson, SC and ask for Dabo's office. That's as good of a place to start as any other.

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