Derek Gentile: No time for the DNA test that is TV



I had the flu for a couple of days. No biggie. Lots of fluids, lots of rest, lots of aspirin.

But it laid me out for a few days, and I ended up watching a lot of television.

Ordinarily, I would read. But last Friday, I coughed so hard, my reading glasses literally flew off my face and one of the lenses popped out. I couldn’t find it. It was a little like that "Twilight Zone" episode where bookworm Burgess Meredith lost his glasses after an atomic holocaust.

So I watched TV.

The interesting thing about daytime television is that it is such a contrast with nighttime TV. I never really noticed it.

I only get basic service, so I don’t have access to all the sports and movie channels. If I did, it might have been a more varied viewing experience. But I don’t get sick too often, so I don’t subscribe.

Prime time television has such smart shows like "24," "Big Bang Theory," "Downton Abbey" and a lot more. During the day, it’s a vast wasteland. You mostly have to watch various women talk about health and beauty, along with Dr. Oz.

For instance, how many shows does Steve Harvey have? He has some kind of advice show in which he talks to people about their relationship problems. Then he has "Family Feud." Which is sort of the same thing, except he can give away money in the second show.

And the questions now are odder.

"We asked 100 men: Name one thing you’d do if you caught you wife with another man."

What? What? Richard Dawson never had to ask those kinds of questions.

Also, I don’t want to come off as too prurient, but something must be said about these shows by which single moms have to determine the paternity of their children by forcing several men to undergo DNA testing.

I understand completely that the producers and the hosts of these shows encourage people to act out by yelling at each other and attempting to assault each other. That is not human behavior as we know it, and in fact, it’s trumped up for the show. That’s show biz.

But let’s think about what’s going on, here. These gentlemen appear to have no interest in taking responsibility for the child they may or may not have fathered. Again, I get it. If they appeared to actually care, the ratings would probably drop. But I really find it difficult to believe that so many of these fellows don’t care about these children.

Those other goofy reality shows that involve men and women trying to sort out who they love and want to marry are like pro wrestling events. None of it is authentic. Again, it really can’t be. After maybe two episodes, there is a sameness to all of it that simply bores me.

I don’t want to sound too critical, so let me say the National Geographic channel was one of my few refuges earlier this week, as well as PBS. Public television does a lot of really good shows. I never watch the "oldies music" shows much, but the shows they bring in from England are uniformly good. I never thought I’d enjoy "Downton Abbey" as much as I do, or "The Midwife."

And I have to admit, I never thought commercial tuna fishing could have so much drama until I started watching "Wicked Tuna." By the way, if you thought math is a useless skill in the adult world, watch these fisherman figure out instantly how much money they’ll make multiplying the size of the fish (435 pounds) times the price per pound ($17). It’s better than "Sesame Street."

To reach Derek Gentile:,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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