Dear Showcase Television

Word Count – 1200

Hey. How’s it going, Showcase? Yeah, its been a while, I know.

I hope you don’t think this is weird or anything, me writing to you out of the blue and all. I mean, christ, its probably been, what? Seven? Maybe eight years? However long ago it was, it was probably right around the same time I just started getting high speed internet in my home.

Now, listen, I know we did not have a very amicable split. I just want you to know, it was all me, not you. Things just kind of happen, you know? You grow up, you find that the things you’ve been used to for so long no longer excite you. You want to try new things, see what else is out there. Turns out the “what else” that is out there is people having real sex with actual penetration, free and ready to view 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t mean to upset you, but there really is no competition for that.

But let us not dwell on that, shall we? Let’s think back to some of the better times. Why, I can remember a time when you and I were practically smitten with one and other. I can remember waiting for the school bell to ring on fridays, knowing later that night you and I would share another magical evening together. It was a time of discovery, a time of experimentation. Those truly were ‘Fridays Without Borders’.

You were the home to those little known television series’ that promised at least one carefully staged sex scene, and a minimum of two pairs of exposed breasts every episode. For a young boy with nothing more than an active imagination and basic cable, it was heaven. The best of the lot, in my memory, was Red Shoe Diaries. Every week, David Duchovny would unveil a new tale of unrequited love and forbidden sexual desire before my young nubile eyes. He taught me more about sex than my own father. This was so long ago, it was before I was able to distinguish between actors on screen and the characters they played. There was a time when I figured that when Mulder was not finding out if the truth was out there, he was answering letters that began with “Dear Red Shoes, I just fucked a french zookeeper in a janitors closet.”

But then, at midnight, when those shows ended, you and I shared our most cherished times. Every week, you would open up the vaults, and share with I and the rest of the country your vast collection of top quality soft core european pornography. I don’t think I ever formally thanked you for those gems, but no thank you would truly suffice for the generosity you showed. I watched you every friday night of my entire teenage life, and not once do I recall seeing the same film twice. I can just picture the basement of your headquarters being endless catacombs full of dusty old VHS tapes, with an old grey haired gatekeeper proclaiming “BEHOLD! The vast annals of european muff! Stare in bewilderment at the failed community theatre actors from across the British isles. Gaze at body hair in places you never presumed it could grow!”

You taught me so much about myself, Showcase. You showed me that the physical expression of love is a beautiful, natural act. Well, most of the time. Sometimes the physical expression of love happens when a man who looks like a romanian Santa Claus foists himself on top of a woman with more facial hair than he has. Regardless, those were teaching years, and through masturbation trail and error, I learned more about myself sexually than I ever would have watching conventional pornography. Some weeks, the sights and sounds pleased me from dusk till dawn. Other times, it was a film where the penis/vagina ratio was waaaaay too lopsided for me to maintain composure. But I did not despair, because I knew my own desires were starting to solidify and become more refined. I became open minded, and proud of my natural urges. I never questioned my sexuality. You questioned it for me, night after night, when I was praying that the next people to have sex on screen would not have been alive when Lincoln was shot.

At a point in my life when I needed a friend, you were there. You may not believe it, but… I love you. I know it is not normal for a man to say he loves a television station, but I think when you go through an entire box of kleenex and two rolls of toilet paper every weekend with one, the label is only appropriate.

But I’m worried about you, Showcase. I checked in on you a little while ago, just to see what you’ve been up to. What I saw in the place of what used to be is a slew of reality shows about the porn industry. I understand your motives, you are trying to compete with the big, bad troublemakers on the internet who are stealing your thunder, and riding the reality tv bandwagon at the same time. Frankly Showcase, you’re better than these shows. Your appeal is your innocence, your knack for not showing us everything all at once. Some of us like to use our imagination, to pretend that the genitals we are not seeing might be our own. The thing that those reality shows do is ruin the mystique of pornography. If you watch enough of them, over time it just becomes depressing. Its like an ongoing documentary about type casted character actors, only instead of “whatchew talkin’ bout, willis?”, its gaping anal cum shots.

The other reason I worry is I don’t think you truly understand the vital role you continue to play in this world. For christ sake, children are watching this, man! You gotta make sure these kids become perverts slooooowly. You can’t reveal everything all at once and ruin whimsy for the people who are just starting to enjoy it. You’ve turned into the guy who rushes the stage at magic shows, pulls open the magician’s jacket and shows the kids where he hides the doves. If you and the rest of the basic cable smut peddlers carry on like this, pretty soon we are going to have a whole generation of kids who will become bored with sex before they even start having it. Without the intrigue and fantasy that late night soft core porn in your pre-pubescence provides, they will all become nothing but joyless, oversexed douchebags. Having “ironic orgies”, buying cockrings at American Apparel, and claiming they liked double penetration “before it was cool”. There is a name for these kind of people, Showcase, and they are called Hipster-sexuals.

But do not misunderstand me, I don’t want to come off as ungrateful. Truly, I thank you for all the great times we have shared together. I thank you for being there for me, when the scrambled Pay-Per-View channels were too jumbled to distinguish between where one body part ended and the other began. And lastly, I thank you for acknowledging the fact that anyone at home watching television on a friday night is only doing so because every other plan they had to have sex that night failed miserably.

– J.D. Renaud

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