Loops and Lags and TV Gags

When I moved to Mexico, I made a point of having access to American TV. I wanted to be able to watch college and professional football. I wanted coverage of my hometown’s local news. As a cinephile and follower of all things in the World of Entertainment, I had to attend the major award shows from afar. I couldn’t live without reruns of classic sitcoms, like Seinfeld, Frasier, and Everybody Loves Raymond. Watching major tennis tournaments was a priority, as was March Madness. And I had to feed my one reality TV guilty pleasure, my annual summer addiction to Big Brother.

While I am grateful for the service I get, occasionally internet providers do make watching TV a challenge. Lags, loops, and lengthy delays can occur unannounced and usually at the most inopportune moments. This can lead to an awkward juxtaposition of unrelated words.


Watching the news when the anchor reports, “Facing each other in November’s general election will be the top two mayoral candidates…” and the picture freezes. A minute passes. Maybe more. “…Big Bird and Miss Piggy.” Programming returns in the middle of a “Sesame Street on Ice” promotion.

Being glued to a college football game when the sportscaster describes a player in the huddle as a “3.8 student majoring in…” when the transmission jumps to him saying “…cheerleaders.”

Or a play-by-play baseball announcer describing a homerun being hit “as hard as…” only to be interrupted by a several-minute delay that ends in the middle of a commercial for an erectile dysfunction product and the words “…a four-hour erection.”

An Academy Award presenter saying, “And the Oscar goes to…” but coverage jumps to a scene from a Best Picture nominee and we hear an angry woman screaming, “…that bitch who did everything she could to steal my husband!”

A meteorologist forecasting “partly sunny skies with a 20% chance of…” and having his sentence completed with “…Kardashians.” Personally, I’d prefer a 0% chance of Kardashians.

A sleep-aid commercial promising “a pleasant night of uninterrupted…” jumping to another commercial and “…diarrhea.”

Hearing a sportscaster report “We have an update. Final score The Boston Celtics 107…” followed by a ten-second gap and “…Toy Story 2.”

Browsing on the Home Shopping Network or QVC and seeing a “darling dress featuring…” a momentary lag “…ankle straps, 3-inch heels, and odor-eating inserts.”

At the end of the president’s State of the Union Address, a news anchor says, “All the members of both the Senate and House were in attendance, as well as the Supreme Court and, of course, the President. It was a moment that proves…” and coverage jumps to a commercial for Judge Judy. “…dumb lasts forever,” the TV icon snaps at a beautiful bimbo.

Watching Jeopardy! with your spouse, roommate, or friend and the Final Jeopardy! answer appears. As the iconic theme plays, you blurt out, “Who is Danny DeVito?” and the other person erupts with “Who is Socrates?” You look at each other with faces that scream, “Why would you think that?” As the theme ends and the answer is about to be revealed, the answer that would reveal which one of you is a moron, the picture freezes and the audio goes silent. When they return, the program’s credits are rolling and a voice-over says, “Tune in tomorrow when our champion competes against…” and there is another brief delay “…two New York City sex workers at 11.”

Hearing Jeff Probst say at the end of an episode of Survivor, “The tribe has…” which is followed by a gap and “…psoriasis.” A medical product with an unpronounceable name made up of a jumble of random letters appears on the screen.

Viewing a cooking program hosted by Wolfgang Puck. As he puts his anticipated-to-be-heavenly creation in the oven, he says, “I promise you this: When you remove this from the oven, the angelic aroma and then the godsent flavor will send you to…” oh, no. Another damn lag! “… Sunrise Skies Funeral Home.” 

Sitting down to watch a favorite on American Movie Classics (AMC) and the host, introducing the film and giving a brief explanation for those viewers who have never seen it, says “This is…” and the internet goes out for approximately two hours. When the program returns, appearing on the screen is “The End.”

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Tom Nussbaum
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