My TiVo thinks I’m Japanese.

I shelled out big bucks to get a TiVo with the biggest hard drive possible. I had high hopes for finally getting CONTROL of this TV habit of mine, instead of the TV controlling me.

So I was pretty thrilled when I set the thing up. That night on NBC I was watching Will and Grace and there was this scene where the red-headed chick was bouncing around in this tight top, so I hit the “Thumbs up” button on the remote control. Then I went to bed.

The next day when I got home from work I saw that my TiVo had taken upon itself to record about 36 hours worth of gay television programming. I didn’t even realize there was that much gay TV. I stared at the menu in disbelief and called up my friend Crenshaw.

“My TiVo thinks I’m gay!” I said. “It just recorded like a day’s worth of, shall we say, ‘alternative lifestyle’ television. Right now it’s showing me a program about decorating.”

“Well, decorating isn’t necessarily gay.”

“Dude, they’re decorating each other.

Crenshaw audibly winced over the phone. “Then just push the Thumbs down button a bunch of times.”

“No no no!” I said. “I don’t want my TiVo to think I’m some kind of homophobic jerk. I have an open mind. I’m cool with gay people. I just don’t want it thinking that I swing that way. What will it tell the other TiVos? What if my mom comes over and flips on the TV?”

Crenshaw grunted. “I’ll be right over,” he said.

Twenty minutes later he was standing in my living room, waving the remote control around like a weapon. “You really can’t mince around with these TiVos, Todd. If you wanted to turn on a machine and have it tell you you were gay all the time, you would just play Counter-Strike online.” He sniffed. “No sir, you have to show these TiVos who’s boss. For instance, through careful TiVo preference engineering, I’ve managed to program mine to show me nothing but 70s blaxploitation flicks and spandex women doing aerobics.”

“So what’s the plan?”

“Well, we need to seriously machofy your viewing preferences. Ah! Look at this. A documentary on Samurai warriors. Men with armor and swords killing each other, that’s pretty solid. Three thumbs up. Oh, and look! Iron Chef! That show’s pretty badass, I’ll give it a thumb. We gotta be careful, though, if we go too far you’ll get nothing but cooking shows. Ah-ho! Kung Fu Theatre! Definitely manly, thumb thumb thumb.” He handed me back my remote. “The Doctor has spoken.”

I was out with my brother’s family all weekend so it was a couple of days before I got back to my TV. My playlist had been completely replaced … with Japanese programming. I called up Crenshaw.

“Now it thinks I’m Japanese!” I spat into the phone. “I can’t even understand what people are saying. Look at the program it’s showing me now, for instance. It looks like a Japanese guy. I can’t tell what he’s saying. Some kind of business deal. Uh oh, he’s pulling out handcuffs. He’s talking to another Japanese man … and … Wah! Now they’re cuddling! You hooked me up with gay Japanese adult movies! It’s gay Japorno!”

“Calm down, calm down. The way I see it, we’re a third of the way there: Your TiVo has already identified that you like adult movies,” Crenshaw explained. “Hurry up and thumb up the Clint Eastwood marathon on channel seven.”

I flipped over to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and gave it three thumbs up. “Now what?” I asked.

“Now just chill and wait until it gives you a new recommendation.”

I tabbed through my TiVo menus. “Ah, here we go, it found something! I’m changing the channel now. Oh … oh … sweet Judas, on my television screen right now there’s a Japanese man in a cowboy hat riding on top of another Japanese man. What have you done!?

“Aw, relax man. TiVo recommends that show to everybody.


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I think my TiVo hates me. I threatened to take it back, and now it’s showing me all these TV shows about suicide. What’s it trying to say?


Score: 9.19; Total Votes: 3775 as of 2009-12-09.


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