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Television Without Pity: 752 Things We Love to Hate (and Hate to Love) about TV    by Tara Ariano & Sarah D. Bunting order for
Television Without Pity
by Tara Ariano
Order:  USA  Can
Quirk, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Television Without Pity is a pithy, irreverent, yet oddly insightful look at what we all love, hate or shrugged off in TV land. It's a wonderful find - especially if you've had a bad day and need a good laugh. And while I don't always share the same opinions as authors Ariano and Bunting, their breezy style and the sheer scope of their knowledge about TV is mind-boggling. Their book also brought back fond (and sometimes not so fond) memories of a host of televisions shows that I'd all but forgotten about.

These two very opinionated ladies don't hold back their snarky comments - from dissing Desperate Housewives to poo-pooing I Dream of Jeannie. Dr. Phil does not come away unscathed either - 'Dr. Phil McGraw - man, myth, builder of a psychobabble catch-phrase empire'. Of current hit Grey's Anatomy, the pair observe, 'as feminists, we should be disgusted that the female interns are such a bunch of spineless, stereotypical 'girls', but as women, we enjoy watching them sex up all that beefcake.' Bill Cosby's vast collection of sweaters get this critique - 'bright, clashing colors and chaos-theory patterns and textures contributed to an overall impression of vomit in knit form ... still favored by dads around the world'. Of Sex and the City they say snidely, 'If you loved this show, we won't hold it against you. Honest. But we hated it, and we watched it every week only because we hated it'. CSI Miami's lead character (played by David Caruso) also gets a snub: 'Horatio Caine is in actuality one of the most odious cops TV has ever produced. The man is a snitty bitch with nothing but contempt for everyone he deals with - not just the perps, but his colleagues as well'.

Take a few days or weeks to read through all 752 alphabetized entries in Television Without Pity. You'll need at least that much time to digest and appreciate (or not) Ariano and Bunting's caustic opinions about shows, characters, actors, clichés, plot devices, memorable moments and catch phrases that can only be found on everybody's favorite small screen. And if, after turning the last page, you're hankering for more, then you'll be happy to learn that the ladies have a website as well - visit them at

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