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So apparently, the reason you may like 30 Rock and The Office and not like Two And A Half Men is that you are a snob. So says Tim Goodman at the San Francisco Chronicle, who pronounces non-fans of laugh-tracky, shticky sitcoms to be snobs of the first order. In fact, he informs you that your reason for skipping CBS Monday nights is that you think you are “too cool for the room.”

What’s most baffling to me about the piece is that it lumps How I Met Your Mother in with Two And A Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. Apparently, this is because they’re all on Monday nights. While they’re technically a group in this sense, the inclusion of How I Met Your Mother actually argues against Goodman’s entire thesis, which is that these shows are all “underappreciated” because snobs who miss Arrested Development refuse to acknowledge the appeal of traditional laugh-tracked sitcoms.

What’s wrong with this argument is that almost everyone I know who is in this group — who loves The Office and 30 Rock and misses Arrested Development — loves How I Met Your Mother. Despite the laugh track, despite the fact that it’s on CBS, despite the fact that it’s on Monday nights, despite the fact that it has setup-punchline moments more often than The Office, people like it anyway, for exactly the reason Goodman discusses: it’s funny. How I Met Your Mother underachieves in terms of ratings, but so does 30 Rock. There’s huge audience overlap there.

I don’t dislike Two And A Half Men because it has a laugh track, though I generally disfavor laugh tracks. I dislike it because I think it’s stupid. Not silly; there’s nothing wrong with silly. 30 Rock is intensely silly. But when I watch a set of punch lines from Two And A Half Men all in a row, as in this CBS promo, it makes me want to set my own hair on fire. None of it makes me laugh, it all sounds like variations on jokes I’ve heard four hundred times, and I simply don’t find any of it even a little bit amusing. I do, however, find How I Met Your Mother amusing, and when it was on, I found The King Of Queens amusing, although it would have been better without the laugh track.

I watch Judge Judy. I watch Trading Spaces. I watch America’s Next Top Model and World’s Wildest Police Videos. You know what I watch on Monday nights when I’m not watching CBS comedies? Dancing With The Stars. I mean, get serious. There’s not a room on earth I’m too cool for, and certainly not one defined by the fact that it contains unsophisticated humor. I watched The Big Bang Theory, and the reason I never watched it again wasn’t that it wasn’t hip enough. The reason I never watched it again was that it was agonizingly unfunny with the exception of perhaps two brief moments in a half-hour show, which simply is not adequate. Goodman seems absolutely convinced that no honest person could claim to have not laughed at Two And A Half Men, no matter how much he or she may have “stifled” it. Seriously, I promise you: that show does not make me laugh. It does not tempt me to laugh. I do not experience cognitive dissonance.

As for Rules Of Engagement, the premiere of which is the ostensible reason for the piece’s appearance at this particular moment, I haven’t really watched it. But that’s not because I’m too cool for it. It’s because it contains David Spade. I have seen David Spade do his thing in a number of different venues, and it’s always basically the same deal, and I thought it was funny for about three months back when he was on SNL, but I haven’t found it funny since. Am I not allowed to think David Spade isn’t funny? Does thinking David Spade isn’t funny make me a snob?

Oddly, Goodman’s praise is enormously faint for these shows. He suggests that The Big Bang Theory should be watched because it makes so many jokes that one occasionally works, and that you should appreciate the fact that the leads are working so hard. You know what I don’t enjoy in comedy? Sitting there thinking, “That guy is working really hard to make that joke work.” Two And A Half Men gets the rousing defense that it “hits the periodic punch line.”

You know what? There’s a lot on television. If you like Two And A Half Men, good on you. If you like The Big Bang Theory, that’s great. But I find an accusation of snobbery being leveled at people simply for choosing to skip something about which even a defender can only say it “hits the periodic punchline” to be a little unfair. The very people Goodman is talking about are the ones who forwarded the Robin Sparkles video to all their friends and who still watch “Slap Bet.” This is the kind of piece about TV that always frustrates me, because there’s so much to say about shows that are interesting, and this seems like the only thing anybody could think of to say about Rules Of Engagement: “Premiering tonight, and not quite as entirely devoid of merit as you may have heard, and if you don’t agree with me, you’re a snob!”

I am a lot of things about TV, but I’m no snob, and I don’t have to make amends with the on-air comedy stylings of Charlie Sheen to prove it.

I’m not in favor of more plastic doodads; I’m really not. I understand about waste.

But they’ve had the Starbucks splash sticks at my sister’s Starbucks in Virginia for a year or more, and I’ve always been extremely envious of them. Contrary to what I’ve seen said in a few other places, the splash stick is not only good if you drive around with your coffee, though admittedly, that’s one of the most compelling uses. If you’re bringing back several drinks, which people do all the time, you wind up carrying them in a tray, and they do tend to slop around. It seems to me that they could have done this with a shorter thing — I’m not sure why the stick needs to go down into the coffee like that. But my sister has saved them, typically, so she has one in the car when she needs it. She often carries one in her purse.

I realize it’s incredibly petty, and the fact that I used to splash coffee around when carrying coffees back to several people at once doesn’t justify making more plastic and destroying the earth, but I cannot help it — when I heard they were bringing these somewhere besides Virginia, I was unduly happy.

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