Sometime in early 2003, I gave up television. It wasn't some conscious decision to try to become a more productive person or anything of the sort. I just found that the remote had become just an extra unused object on my computer desk that got in the way of my mouse, like job applications and intervention letters.
But eventually, you find that without it you miss out on a lot of social interactions, especially at work. Over seven years, I had a lot of moments that went like this:
"Did you see Family Guy last night?"
"No, I don't have TV. Do you play World of Warcraft?"
"No, I have sex."
So I decided to buy cable again, and let me tell you that after seven years without seeing a single episode of anything except by accident, I found myself feeling like a time traveler in a world where everything had gone just a bit insane.
It turns out that in the last seven years...
5We Turned Child Molestation Into a Spectator Sport
If you were to get into your DeLorean, drive back to 2003 and tell me that within a couple of years there would be a version of Punk'd where instead of playing pranks on celebrities with a hidden camera, they would trick child molesters into trying to molest a child, I would have laughed in your face and then stolen your car. You would have never caught me, either, because I would have gone one hundred years into the past and shot my own grandfather just to see what would happen.
Now it's not like I was living with the Amish and raising barns when To Catch a Predator was airing (2004-2007). I knew vaguely what it was and there were internet memes about it.
Is it too late to start the "Child Molestation Batman" meme?
But when I finally sat down to watch an episode and saw a completely naked child predator cover his pixelated erection while Chris Hansen said, "Surprise! You've been caught on the NBC MolestoCam!" I realized we had discovered something no dystopian novel about the future ever thought was possible.
I'm not judging -- I proceeded to watch every single episode in one night. My favorite part? In almost every case, the decoy (who'd contact the pervs in chat rooms) requested that the predator bring over something specific, I guess to prove that he was there to carry through with the encounter they discussed and the guy couldn't say, "No, I was just coming over to warn her about the dangers of chatting with older men online." But the requests kept getting more and more specific, from something simple like a package of M&M's, to an apple fucking pie. Sure enough, the guy showed up with one.
It got to the point that I was positive the staff was taking bets see who could get him to bring over the most ridiculous thing. "Can you bring over an old car muffler filled with centipedes? Or maybe a photo album with pictures of you molesting other children? That would turn me on sooooo much."
"Also, could you pick up some dry-cleaning for me? It's under the name 'Hansen'."
They haven't made any new episodes since 2007 but there have been hints about it coming back. If so, I'll goddamned be there this time. Hopefully they'll up the stakes, maybe having multiple predators all show up at the same house at the same time, or have a dude attempt to molest a child during half time of the Super Bowl.
But even if they do, I won't find that as disturbing as...