SO MUCH television, so little time:
* I watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" at least once a year, but I'm going to hell anyway, having laughed myself silly over "A Very Sunny Christmas," the new holiday special from the madmen - and madwomen - of FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."
Available only on DVD, for reasons that will become obvious long before the appearance of a naked Danny DeVito, "Sunny" introduces a South Philly tradition I'm guessing people in South Philly have never heard of - at least I hope not - and pretty much guarantees you'll never look at "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the same way again.
And if you're wondering about the kid who plays young Mac in both the special and some deleted scenes and bears an eerie resemblance to "Sunny" star Rob McElhenney, that's 9-year-old Preston Bailey, whom "Dexter" fans know as Dexter Morgan's stepson, Cody.
* Speaking of "Dexter," the Showtime hit about a sympathetic serial killer scored the premium cable channel's highest ratings ever for a single telecast this week, with more than 2.1 million viewers from 9-10 p.m.
Sunday's Season 4 finale could just break records again.
* How does anyone on Wisteria Lane get homeowners insurance?
That's just one of the things I was wondering as I watched the Christmas episode of ABC's "Desperate Housewives," in which a small plane - piloted by Homer Simpson, or at least the guy who plays him, Dan Castellaneta - struck the not-so-quiet cul-de-sac that's previously been touched by a tornado and more murder and mayhem than you'd expect from an entire upscale suburb, much less one short street.
But six seasons in, at least I finally know why all those women are so desperate: Did you see what the residents of that street are expected to do for Christmas?
Forget that string of lights and the nodding reindeer. There was a Wisteria Lane women's choir, a special house for Santa Claus (now sadly crushed) and a giant candy cane. Not to mention the usual catfight.
And they engage in this kind of excess on practically every occasion, large or small.
On my block, we push lawn furniture into the street once a year, throw up a couple of police barriers, order pizza and call it a party.
And so far we're plane- and tornado-free.
* If you've been missing ABC News' once-resident crank, the contrary and entertaining John Stossel of "20/20," you can look for him starting tonight on Fox Business Network, where his new show, "Stossel," premieres at 8 p.m.
The show, according to FBN, will focus on "libertarian and economic issues."
Among his first topics: Ayn Rand's 1957 novel "Atlas Shrugged."
(And suddenly, CBS News' own resident crank, "60 Minutes' " Andy Rooney, seems downright current.)
* The range of things that could be considered "spoilers" seems to grow wider every day.
It used to be enough if I didn't write or talk about something on television that was meant to be a surprise until after it had aired.
(Not that this stopped the networks from revealing those same plot points in their promos.)
With time-shifting, spoilage became possible days, even weeks, later as people's DVRs got backed up with episodes they'd need a lost weekend - or several sick days - to get to.
Only this week, I heard from someone who'd just gotten around to seeing the premiere of "Hank," a show that ABC, in its mercy, has already canceled (though in fairness, he wasn't complaining about spoilers, just "Hank" itself).
The latest expansion in the definition comes from a blogger I follow on Twitter, who suggested the other day that tweeting the names of songs to be featured on Fox's "Glee" constitutes spoiling.
I hadn't done it myself - Fox sends the information out in a press release every week, but I don't pay much attention - yet given that it's context, not song choice, that makes "Glee" sing, I couldn't see how knowing the songs ahead of time would spoil a viewer's experience.
And yet I'm sensitive to the problem, having just received an e-mail from Showtime about Sunday's "Dexter" - yep, that's three mentions in one column - that I'm already wishing I hadn't read, since I've been looking forward to being surprised by every twist and turn of the finale.
Anyone else have a call on this one? Or just a workable definition of spoiling for critics on deadline? *
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