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Confessions of a Lowbrow

by Rose Madeline Mula

The secret's out: I am hopelessly uncouth.unsophisticated.uncultured. unrefined, despite the fact that I graduated from a major university magna cum laude.

Primary evidence of my lack of taste is my addiction to television sitcoms. As is the case with most vile habits, I acquired this shameful craving in my youth. I blush to admit it, but I couldn't get through one week without my Dick Van Dyke fix. And soon that wasn't enough. I had to have more. Before long, I was gripped by an obsessive passion for Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, Murphy Brown, the entire Mash cast, and—God help me—Archie Bunker.

When these shows ended, I suffered tormenting withdrawal symptoms; but somewhere deep inside, I realized that it was for the best. I could finally get that monkey off my back. But no. Soon I got sucked back into all the spinoffs—Rhoda, Phyllis, The Jeffersons, Golden Girls—followed by the spinoffs of the spinoffs, to say nothing of all the reruns of the original series, reruns of the spinoffs, and-that's right-reruns of the spinoffs of the spinoffs.

Then came Cheers, Seinfeld, Mad About much temptation, so little will power. I gave up trying to fight. Consequently, even today I keep the TV Guide next to my calendar to insure that I don't make any social plans that conflict with my dates with Frazier, Will & Grace, and Becker.

In my defense, I'm still trying to kick the habit. I don't watch sitcoms exclusively. I'm a long-time fan of Jeopardy (who says I'm not intellectual!); and I've recently developed a mania for The West Wing, whose cast is almost as entertaining as their real counterparts in Washington.

But I still have a long way to go to match the standards of all my friends who watch only CNN or PBS. (Not to brag, but I also watch PBS occasionally-the British sitcoms, of course.)

And my indiscriminate taste isn't limited to TV. I love the theater, for example; but give me a comedy (Neil Simon is my god!) or a good old musical any time. Unfortunately, they don't make 'em like they used to.South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Mame, Hello Dolly.I even loved Kiss Me Kate and West Side Story, despite the fact that they were based on Shakespearean plays; so maybe I'm not completely hopeless.

Or maybe I am. I apparently sank to new depths during a recent trip to the Big Apple. No, I didn't join the ladies of the evening on Times Square. Worse. I engaged in hick-from-the-sticks touristy activities. In fact, one morning I actually went to Rockefeller Center to watch the Today show. One of my friends was appalled when she heard about it. Rolling her eyes and shaking her head, she tssssked, "You did that?!" What she doesn't know is that if I had had access to any crafts materials in my hotel, I would have made and worn a crazy hat to catch the attention of the cameraman. Is there no limit to my depravity?

Furthermore, I do not subscribe to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or US News & World Report. However, neither do I read The Enquirer or other tabloids. But, then, nobody does—right? We all merely glance at the headlines as we pass through the checkout aisle at the super market. It's amazing that those papers can afford to keep publishing.

Since I've come this far, I may as well also admit that I couldn't tell the difference between a $500-per-bottle fine wine and the stuff in jugs with a screw top. Also, I don't shop at Saks, Bloomingdales, Ann Taylor, or even Macy's. No, my retailer of choice is an establishment called Frugal Fannie's.

I could continue this confession and reveal still darker secrets, but I have to go—it's time for Everybody Loves Raymond.


Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.


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