January 25, 2011 by Sarojini Seupersad
I’ve been known to watch a lot of dumb television. I’m OK with this. I volunteer, I’m a good person and I eat my vegetables, so if I feel like watching Lidia Bastianich make gnocchi from scratch, I feel I’m entitled to do so. The problem here is that I don’t think there’s a bottom to this – a level I won’t sink to. If there’s a dead body, A 30-Minute Meal or twenty women vying for the “love” of a bachelor, then I’m probably watching it with a notepad and a bowl of popcorn. The problem started about a year ago, when I turned off my cable and was totally reliant on network television for my television needs. I know what you’re thinking. But you have the Internet! Why would you watch bad tv when you can watch good tv on the Internet? Well, it turns out, I like to watch tv on a large screen from my couch and not from a small laptop. And never-you-mind: I manage to get some tv watching done while I’m on the Internet as well.
In my new state of cablelessness, I started watching shows I was previously never interested in. With only basic network channels, I was forced to watch reruns of Criminal Minds, Dr. Oz and Mr. Keep The Faith himself, Tavis Smiley (who gave him a show? I am rooting for the guy, but Jesus, that show is boring.). I don’t mind this so much because well, I obviously don’t have very high standards when it comes to television and I’ve actually begun to like most of this junk (I will now watch a Criminal Minds marathon like nobody’s business). For the most part, I think I’ll be OK. I’ve been coping with the loss and I really don’t miss cable all that much. But I do miss someone.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta. If you didn’t already know (where are you, in the center of the earth, playing scrabble with El Diablo while he earns his triple word score for CONFLAGRATION?) he’s the medical correspondent for CNN, home of the Silver Fox himself, Anderson Cooper. President Obama, in 2009, offered Sanjay the position of Surgeon General, but he had to turn it down for personal reasons (his wife was preggers). He’s a big deal, is what I’m saying.
I miss Sanjay for several reasons, none of which make any real sense or have any concrete basis in anything. I miss his eternal calm. He doesn’t go ape shit every time someone gets shot or there is a Swine Flu scare. He’s the only person in the room who’s asking, Why are you guys acting crazy? Calm down, it’ll be OK. In an age when everyone loses their minds every single time a minor or major event takes place, he seems to take it in stride and get a hold of the situation. I miss him because, unlike Dr. Oz who likes to (over) simplify medical information for easy distribution among the masses, Dr. Sanjay relates information in a thoughtful way, not as if he’s talking to his deaf 98-year-old grandmother. He educates people on world health issues like Medicare enrollment and pharmaceuticals, the environment, the cholera epidemic and of course, Soledad O’Brien’s knee replacement surgery. Ok, so maybe not all of it is high-brow, but at least it feels like real health news, and not a props display.
So, Dr. Gupta, you don’t make me feel like you’re talking down to me and you keep your shit together when stuff happens. I appreciate that. And I miss you. Get off of CNN already. They’re bringing you down.