Monday, August 09, 1999

TV addicts, try tuning to reality




BY JOHN KIESEWETTER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PASADENA, Calif. — ABC has The View, but I liked mine better. The best part of going to the Television Critics Association's annual summer press tour is not watching all the new fall season shows, but looking at The Real World during the flight out.

        Nothing on TV can compare with The View from a Boeing 767, cruising the spacious skies, above amber waves of grain, purple mountains and the fruited plains.

        America! America!

        Yet most of the passengers on Delta Flight 1019 chose to watch an in-flight Seinfeld rerun on the plane's small TV screens as we passed over the Grand Canyon.

        They were too engrossed for the millionth time with Jerry's angst over a bad haircut, and George's job — yadda, yadda, yadda — to notice the awesome natural splendor carved by the Colorado River starting millions of years ago, when Dawson's was a crick.

        Oh, say can you see?

        We were almost 8 miles high, and I could see for miles and miles.

        Yet several hundred people were ignoring this incredible wide-screen picture. In Living Color. And in high-definition, too. You could see every crevice of the deep canyons, and the rugged California mountains, like standing over a sandbox. @subhed:Try real life @rbody:These may be the same people who carp and complain every year about too many summer reruns. If they want to see something original, they should get off their Big Comfy Couch and explore some part of this 3rd Rock from the Sun we call home.

        Instead of watching Providence, why don't they visit it? How come they seldom skip a Beverly Hills 90210 rerun to explore a different ZIP code?

        South Park? Why not Mammoth Cave National Park? Or Estes Park? How about 60 Minutes in Winton Woods park? You only have One Life to Live.

        I Love Lucy too, but I'm truly Mad About the U.S.A. So it was frustrating that few passengers were in 7th Heaven with me. Most ignored The View to watch the in-flight movie, Ed TV, about a nation addicted to watching a man's life broadcast on TV. Just Shoot Me!

        Out my window, I saw the ultimate reality show: Green Acres, The Big Valley, the Little House on the Prairie, and the Wild Wild West. It Was Like, You Know, better than Real TV.

        So forget about the summer reruns of Frasier, Felicity, Ally McBeal, Cosby, Drew Carey, Dharma & Greg and your other TV Friends.

        Put your TV tray in the upright and locked position. Find a Highway to Heaven. Get your kicks on Route 66, or Route 52 or 127.

        There's Another World to see, and I don't mean the canceled soap opera.

        John Kiesewetter has been reporting from the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif.