I Like to Watch

Know-it-alls, murderous brothers, franks 'n' beans and your absurd finale predictions -- the most aimless, rambling ILTW ever!


Heather Havrilesky
June 2, 2004 12:00AM (UTC)

Whispering little nothings

Dear ILTW,

As a genuine psychologically minded psychiatrist, I am the doctor and you are a little nothing. Astonishingly, nonetheless, you are right to promote the notion of dream interpretation through emotional tone (vs. symbology). Alas, it is really impossible to make up a character's dream with much authenticity if you pile so much into it. Tony's bullets did turn to shit, 3 times a lady = 3 ladies = Mama/Melfi/Carmela (who in making the "deal for land" is inching toward an echo of Bad Mama). There's that food/breast theme, too. Melfi is -- intentionally -- a stiff because she isn't really deep. The amazing thing is, even mediocre psychotherapy is a revelation to Tony. Lastly, Adriana had to die for her gig on "Joey"!

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Predictions:

"The Sopranos": Via Sack, Carmela or Meadow get whacked. Tony implodes.

"24": After Nina went screwy, the show became frantic & silly. Hawk hype.

"The West Wing": The blonde isn't Condi, she's Colin in drag ... Anti-hawk. Leo has a brain tumor that is changing his personality, increasing his paranoia like Lee Atwater.

"ER": Poor Noah Wyle was given George Clooney's shoes and cannot fill them at all. No Eros. His plot line is not only "forced & exotic" but utterly false & dead. His weepy breakdown was faintly moving. Even drug abuse couldn't give him heft. No phallus.

So, there you have it. Your thoughts are amusing -- but listen to me, the ultimate know-it-all. The horror of our times is suggesting reality TV is a chance to see people in "real" life. What could be more dehumanizing than phony challenges, instant true love, artificial danger, plastic surgery? It's time for off-Broadway theater.

Sara Hartley, M.D.

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Dear Sara,

Isn't TV supposed to be dehumanizing? And what is this strange thing you call "theater"?

Anyway, your letter caught me completely off-guard, because my therapist opens up our sessions together with the exact same words. I mean it. Each time I walk into her office and sit down, the first thing she says to me, even before "How are you?" or "Can I get you some tea?" is "As a genuine psychologically minded psychiatrist, I am the doctor and you are a little nothing."

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Still, I'm not making much progress on accepting that I'm a little nothing. In fact, I spend most sessions trying to prove to her that, as her paying client, I am, in fact, the boss of her. Not only that, but her advice and guidance and dime-store analyses are generally just projections of her own issues with her adopted mother, whom she saw as genetically inferior. (I did a little research on her personal life, just so I'd have a few silver bullets that would never turn to shit.) I also like to point out those times when I don't feel that she's empathically attuned to me. "I can tell you're not empathizing right now," I say. "You know that's your job, don't you? Instead, you're struggling with your own knee-jerk feelings of superiority, which mask the deep sense of worthlessness burning within you." She tut-tuts this, of course, but I've noticed that she no longer schedules appointments right after mine, and once I heard her making an emergency call to her own therapist when she thought I had already left the waiting room.

Needless to say, I was thrilled! Making my therapist feel worthless and small turns out to be the best therapy of all!

Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah. I think you're right about Leo and Noah. Nice predicting, Dr. Know-It-All! Still, what prize could one possibly offer a woman with an advanced degree who has it all and knows it all?

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I can't think of one, no matter how hard I try. So ... no prize for you.

All the best!

A genuine critically minded critic

Brothers in arms

Hello, ILTW.

How will "24" end this season? Well, first, President Palmer and his brother, Wayne, will kill each other in a physical confrontation over a speech the president has written. He wants to call a press conference to confess his role in the coverup of Alan Milliken's murder, and to come clean about Sherry and Julia's murder/suicide. He also wants to admit that he looked at his dad's Playboy magazines when he was a teenager.

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Wayne, feeling this is a bad idea, tells his brother exactly that, and the following exchange ensues:

PP: It is not a bad idea.

WP: Yes, it is.

PP: (nostrils flaring) No, it isn't.

WP: (sensitively placing his hand on PP's shoulder) David, I'm you're brother, and I'm telling you ... that is one bad idea. It sucks.

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PP: (eyes narrowing) No, it doesn't. You suck.

WP: I suck? No, you suck.

PP: (nostrils flaring and eyes narrowing): No, you suck.

WP: (sensitively placing his hands around PP's throat) Oh, I suck, do I? (gripping PP's throat harder) I don't think so! I think you suck.

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PP: (nostrils narrowing and eyes flaring) Well, I think you suck. (grabbing WP's throat) You!

They fall to the floor and ultimately crush each other's windpipes.

More important, though, we'll finally have a resolution to the question that's had me on the edge of my seat all season: Will Kim and Chase keep dating?

Can't wait until Season 4!

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Regards,

Louis Proietti

Dear Louis,

Well, you didn't predict the exact plot of the "24" finale ... But you did succinctly summarize every single scene between Wayne and President Palmer during the entire third season! Congratulations! A consolation prize of 10 cases of our finest Salon-branded Frank 'n' Beans is headed straight to the home or office address listed with your Salon Premium account!

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Wait! It seems you're not a Salon Premium member! Too bad.

That means you don't win a thing. Except, of course, the satisfaction of knowing that Chase and Kim will live happily ever after, even though Chase will soon be fashioned with a mechanical claw in place of an arm. He'll choose the claw because it strikes him as hella punk (yo), but he'll live to regret it when he's 54 and running for a spot on the city council in Springfield, Ohio.

Anyway, I think it's safe to say that, with all the morals floating around in "24," the clearest of all is "Date Kim, lose a limb!"

Eyes narrowing and nostrils flaring,

ILTW

Spineless, skinless Jack

ILTW:

OK, you wanted predictions for the upcoming season finales, here goes:

"American Idol": Diana will seemingly kill any chance she has of winning when she forgoes singing and eats a live kitten onstage. Randy will ask for a bite, Paula will puke on-camera and Simon will claim it's the best thing she's done all season. In a twist, she will win anyway, with phone phreakers having locked any votes for Fantasia out of the phone system. In the end it won't make any difference since, before the votes are tallied and the winner is announced, PETA activists will have strapped her to a Hummer H2 and burned her in front of the theater.

"24": Jack will save the planet by simply willing whatever the threat is this season out of existence. He'll then tie all the loose ends together by shedding his human skin and boarding his ship bound for Regulon 6.

"The Sopranos": Tony will solve his problem by killing Tony while Tony watches. His acting career over, Tony will be a contestant on the upcoming season of Big Brother U.K.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Richard Watson

Dear Richard,

Nicely done! Diana didn't eat a live kitten onstage, but she did swallow back her tears as Fantasia put her in a death grip, and that's pretty much the same thing, isn't it?

Jack didn't simply will away the virus, but he did seem to be crawling out of his skin during the last scene, and I think that guy on the intercom was the commander of Regulon 6.

I'd address your prediction about "The Sopranos," but it hasn't aired yet. Still, I think we can safely assume that Tony will kill Tony in front of Tony, and even if he doesn't, he'll definitely want to. So ... same difference.

Congratulations! You win First Prize in the ILTW Finale Prediction Contest! Your 50 family packs of Salon-branded Salisbury steak dinners are on their way to the home or office address on file with your Salon Premium account as we speak!

Oh, hey! Look at that. You're not even a Salon Premium member. Oh well. I guess that means those Salisbury steaks will stay in the Salon walk-in freezer until the Salon Cruise this fall! Too bad.

Best wishes anyway!

ILTW

Next week: Fewer crappy letters, more crappy summer programming!


Heather Havrilesky

Heather Havrilesky is a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine, The Awl and Bookforum, and is the author of the memoir "Disaster Preparedness." You can also follow her on Twitter at @hhavrilesky.

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