Remote Control Battle: A Guy's Perspective: In these tough economic times, it simply isn't feasible to spend money on dates every night of the week, especially if, like me, you decided that an English degree was a good idea. Unfortunately, it's still necessary to keep the significant other entertained, lest she wander off and start sleeping with someone who settled on the engineering major.
With that in mind, here are your best bets when date night at home is your only option, and how to get your girl to sit down and watch with you.
Sunday - Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
This show has a number of things going for it. First of all, it has the word "makeover" in the title, which means that girls will agree to watch it because they like makeovers. Fortunately, it also has "home edition" in the title, which means guys can enjoy it because it's not about fixing some girl's broken sense of self-worth, but about fixing a deserving family's inadequate home. Still sentimental, which wins you some points, and you get to see stuff get built.
The main drawback here is Ty Pennington, the overly enthusiastic host, who will make you want to stick something sharp in your ear about thirty seconds into the show. There is usually at least one hot female member of the design team, though, so it balances out nicely. The rest of the designers are pretty benign - nice people, talented, but nothing to write home about. This lets the show focus on the family being helped.
Image © Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc.
With all the meaningless reality shows out there, this is one that stays true to what reality television should be: Deserving people being rewarded for their perseverance and struggle. Sure it's a little extravagant at times, but isn't a little ridiculous luxury part of the American dream?
Monday - CSI: Miami
This is "Law and Order
" for the brains over brawn crowd, those who like seeing problems solved by thinking instead of intimidation. That's what you would tell your girlfriend to get her to watch, without mentioning that there's still plenty of action and guns.
makes this series, playing Supervisor Horatio Caine with the perfect balance of dry sarcasm and street-cop toughness. The supporting cast is solid, and the storylines vary enough to stay interesting while maintaining the continuity needed to make you connect with the characters. The show also takes place in Miami, which means the bikini shots alone make it worth your while.
CSI: Miami does take on a soap opera feel from time to time, but consider this a brief and necessary evil. After all, there is a female demographic to appease - part of it is probably sitting next to you. Anyways, the soap opera moments don't last long, and before you know it, you'll be back to scantily clad women and things getting shot. Enjoy.
Tuesday - So You Think You Can Dance
You're probably wondering how a dance show made it on this list. That's understandable, and the answer is twofold. First of all, Tuesday night television is incredibly crappy, and second, dancing often involves women in tight clothing and people embarrassing themselves.
It's going to be easy to get your girl on board for this one. There's dancing involved, not to mention an "American Idol" type talent-show vibe. If she's still not convinced, mention that the tight clothing thing goes for the guy dancers too. Be warned, parts of this show are going to be very unpleasant, but go grab a TV Guide and look for yourself: You have no better alternative.
Be prepared for some boring moments. Also, be prepared to field questions like "Why can't you dance like that?" Most importantly, be on guard for any sign that you will be made to go dancing as a result of watching this show. This is by far the most dangerous program on this list, so tread lightly. As long as you're careful, you can enjoy flexible women and embarrassing situations, your girl can enjoy artsy crap and effeminate guys, and you can both share a nice evening together.
Image © Fox Broadcasting Co.
Let me be perfectly clear: This is not a good choice, this is the best available choice, so just take it and run.
Wednesday - Law and Order: SVU
There are only two words needed to explain why you have to watch this show: Mariska Hargitay
The toughest, hottest female cop on television leads a great cast in what is perhaps the best Law and Order spinoff to date, at this point surpassing even the original in quality and style. Though the subject matter is always disturbing, the actors respond to it with a sadness and rage that surpasses that of the viewer, and leaves you feeling secure in the knowledge that even though there are sadistic criminals out in the world, there are equally dedicated people who would give their lives to prevent those crimes.
Image © Janet Mayer / PR Photos
This is a hard show for women to watch, understandable as most of the gruesome crimes that are portrayed happen to women. There is a strong theme of female empowerment here too, though, mostly due to Hargitay's portrayal of Detective Olivia Benson. She is both beautiful and tough, the kind of woman who would stun you in lingerie, but who wouldn't think twice to shoot a rapist in the head. She blows apart the notion that to be feminine is to be submissive, and in a show with a disproportionate amount of female victims, that's the most important thing that she can do.
Thursday - Flash Forward
This is a show with a great premise that, up to this point, hasn't been thought out very well. It's about a global blackout in which every person on the planet loses consciousness for 137 seconds. During this blackout, people see visions of themselves six months in the future. The show deals with the aftermath and reaction to the blackout, focusing on an FBI office tasked with investigating the mysterious event.
On the surface, what's not to like? Psychic visions, government investigations, and a myriad of philosophical questions make this one of the most original shows to come out in recent memory. Unfortunately, the danger of a truly original idea is that even the people who come up with it don't quite understand it. This is the case with Flash Forward - the visions don't seem to follow any rules, and this leads to plenty of commercial breaks wondering what the hell just happened. Normally, confusion of this kind would be a death sentence, but the interesting premise of the show has been enough to keep it afloat so far.
The other thing Flash Forward has going for it is that it truly has something for everyone. Guys can enjoy an FBI spy drama complete with shadowy villains, unexplainable events, and psychological warfare, while the girls can focus their attention on how visions of the future can wreak havoc on seemingly stable lives and relationships. Win-win.
Story by Jose Flores
Starpulse contributing writer