April 30, 2004

The Weather Channel If you’re

The Weather Channel

If you’re anything like us, dear reader, you are chronically on the brink of tardiness. In the mornings, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” quickly consume a bowl of Grape Nuts, hop into the shower, grab our clothes, and hustle out the door.

There’s only one irritant that is stopping this quotidian ritual from Henry-Ford-like efficiency. And that, dear reader, is the Weather Channel.

We can’t speak for anyone else (with the potential exception of the mute), but we find the Weather Channel—and television weather forecasts in general—exasperating. After five decades of weather broadcasting on the tube, you’d think that the powers-that-be would have streamlined things—taken out the chaff, as it were. But no: Watching the Weather Channel when you’re in a hurry is like composing a dissertation on a Commodore Vic-20. And the Vic-20, at least, has a pretty good version of “Pong.”

Every time we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” tune in to the Weather Channel, we have just missed the local forecast. As a result, we must first endure a series of commercials pitched at the stay-at-home mom: Ads for feminine hygiene products, anal itching cream, divorce lawyers, &c. Inevitably, before returning to its regular programming, the Weather Channel touts its impressive prime-time smash-hit “Storm Stories.”

Now, we don’t want to cast any aspersions, but we can’t fathom the chucklehead so moronic who would actually watch such a program. In fact, we’ve only seen the same preview umpteen times, and we can already tell you what happens in every episode: An unexpected tempest strikes some trailer-park; hail larger than Ralph Nader’s ego descends from the sky; a tornado rips apart the community; and the slack-jawed yokels narrowly escape. And everything is caught on a hand-held camcorder, which offers the viewer as much vertiginous footage as a marathon of “Cops” episodes. In short, “Storm Stories” presents everything the discriminating viewer requires for an evening’s entertainment: Tormented townies; blistering winds; and copious amounts of nausea-cam.

But let us return to the regular programming of the Weather Channel. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” humbly submit that almost everyone watching for the local forecast wants to glean only two things: The temperature and whether it’s going to rain. That’s it. Everything else is just filler.

Somehow, the Weather Channel ineluctably manages to forestall this crucial information until the very end of its broadcast. As a result, its viewers are offered a constant stream of unnecessary blather: The weather in Tahiti; the latest updates on potential hurricanes; “This Day in High-Pressure History”; &c.

Even when you are lucky enough to reach the portion of the Weather Channel’s programming most key to the local layman—the stylishly titled “Local on the 8’s”—you are still forced to endure a congeries of worthless data. Oh, high-tide today occurred at 6:13am, you say? Why, that’s just fascinating! Too bad we aren’t fishermen, or that helpful tidbit would have come in handy. Oh, the record high temperature on this date took place in 1913? Well, we’ll ‘phone up Calvin Coolidge and let him know.

And don’t think, dear reader, that we would reserve comment on the noxious “snooze-ak” the Weather Channel plays during its forecasts. This stuff is so bad even Yanni would be offended. As if it isn’t annoying enough that you are forced to endure all that blather about “moon phases,” you are compelled to listen to a lazy instrumental version of “Everybody Plays the Fool” that was rejected by the local department store.

The meteorologists—excuse us: Weather girls—who present the day’s forecast prove to be no less vexing. They appear to be under the delusion that the general public cares deeply about “Low-Pressure Systems” and the “Jet Stream”—whatever the heck that is. Just tell us how hot it’s going to be!

When watching the local sports reporter, one doesn’t have to tolerate an in-depth explanation of the rules of baseball. The fellow, dripping with caked on make-up, simply tells you the scores. So why must we go through endless expatiations on the intricacies of Mother Nature? Just let us know if we need to bring our umbrellas: We can create our own “High-Pressure Systems.” That, after all, is what work is for.

Posted at April 30, 2004 12:14 AM | TrackBack