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I LOVE TELEVISION

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And now, an important word about interrogation. There's been a lot of hullabaloo lately regarding the Fox show 24 (9 p.m. Monday) and its repeated use of torture as a means of extracting information. Even the Army — who likes nothing better than to interrogate prisoners by cruelly dragging forks across a chalkboard — has asked the show to tone it down, claiming "torture" sets a bad example for young military recruits.

First of all: BULL POOP! Ninety percent of these recruits spent much of their time torturing ants and setting their sisters' Barbie dolls on fire before signing up to "protect our country."

And secondly? Like it or don't, TORTURE WORKS. True aficionados of 24 already know that CTU Agent Jack Bauer always asks nicely for critical information before snipping off fingers with a hedge clipper. And sometimes he doesn't use clippers at all! Often times, to get them yapping, it only requires pumping the suspect up with weird psychotropic chemicals or maybe shooting them in the knee. However! In order to protect our country from the Islamic fundamentalist actors who seem to be constantly riding Jack and America's jock, he is sometimes forced to undertake harsher measures — such as genital electrocution. (And it really works. When they hook those electrodes up to my juicy bits, I sing like a bird!)

But I will agree that Jack neglects to exhaust every possible option before calling for the anal dentist drill. How about psychological measures, for example? I bet if you showed a terrorist actor any of the following TV shows, he'd happily fork over his grandma's PIN.

American Idol — Results Show (Fox, 9 p.m. Wednesday). This show is why TiVo was invented: Listening to mediocre singers caterwauling week after week while Simon tries to come up with different ways of saying "ghastly" is painful enough — but then to watch an episode of repeat performances just to get the results? Call the Geneva Convention police, because THIS is torture!

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 9 p.m. Thursday). This unbearable show got inexplicably and laughably worse recently when the show's main character, Meredith, drowned after a ferry disaster — and the docs shoved all their suffering patients aside to revive her! The result? She's as drippy as ever, and we can only assume the hundreds of injured people aboard that ferry eventually died of neglect. WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY.

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (Fox, 9 p.m. Thursday). This game show where adults answer fifth-grade textbook questions is torturous on so many levels! Torture 1: Host Jeff "You Might Be a Redneck" Foxworthy who has the frakking AUDACITY to think he's intellectually superior to ANYONE. Torture 2: And he won't shut up! With all the stalling and jibber-jabber, he averages asking less than 10 QUESTIONS in an hourlong episode! Torture 3: Smart-mouth fifth-grade punks who think they're hot snot because they know how many sides there are on a trapezoid. Well, here's a lesson, you diaper-wearing dipsticks: The sides of a trapezoid is equal to the number of times in your life you'll get LAID. (And NO, I don't know the answer, but I figure it can't be too many.)

Looking for a genital electrocution machine on eBay.

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

steve@portlandmercury.com

THIS WEEK ON THE BOOB TOOB

THURSDAY, MARCH 8

9:30 p.m. NBC 30 ROCK

In a rare fit of altruism, Jack gives his deadbeat brother a job (played by Nathan Lane)!

10:30 p.m. COM THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM

Sarah is overcome with rage, panic and grief when the batteries die in her TV remote. I KNOW THE FEELING.

FRIDAY, MARCH 9

8 p.m. NBC 1 VS. 100

It's one contestant versus a mob of smarty pants, including roller-derby girls and … lightning-strike survivors?!?

9 p.m. BBCA CLATTERFORD

Debut! A new sitcom about a small-town women's club, featuring some of the funniest women of British comedy.

SATURDAY, MARCH 10

9 p.m. BBCA ROBIN HOOD

Another new and sharp Brit show featuring the prince of thieves (not Kevin Costner).

11:30 p.m. NBC SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

Host Drew Barrymore joins the action, along with the inexplicably popular and annoying Lily Allen.

SUNDAY, MARCH 11

9:30 p.m. FOX THE WINNER

Glen (the hilarious Rob Corddry) decides to "reinvent himself" as an attractive person.

10 p.m. SCIFI BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

As the trial for that stinking traitor Gaius approaches, the Galactica gang has an interstellar freakout.

MONDAY, MARCH 12

9 p.m. FOX 24

Whoopee! Rick "Silver Spoons" Schroder joins CTU! That means if the terrorists don't cut it out, he's calling in Edward Stratton III!

10 p.m. FX THE RICHES

Debut! In this buzzy new show, Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver play con artists who take over a dead guy's mansion in the suburbs.

mansion in the suburbs.

TUESDAY, MARCH 13

10 p.m. SPIKE BULLRUN

Debut! It's a cross-country car race featuring normal people, instead of Burt Reynolds and Jackie Chan. Why do they think this is gonna work?

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14

10 p.m. ABC LOST

In a startling turn of events, Claire comes up with a rescue plan, and Charlie acts like a jerk.

10:30 p.m. COM HALFWAY HOME

Debut! A new improvisational comedy starring Oscar "The Office" Nunez and others as parolees in a halfway house.


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