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August 29, 2015

The Five: Best Shows to Watch (secretly) at 2 a.m.

by Lacy Hall, posted Nov 4th 2005 12:57PM

thighmasterWe've all been there -- it's 2 a.m., for some reason you're still awake, you got a belly full of Taco Bell, you might be a little bit drunk, and you're definitely bored. Okay, so I've been there; I don't know about the rest of you. The best thing to do in this scenario would be to find a boring book and start reading it. It's hard to stay awake while reading even good books, much less bad books, and your old 7th grade Earth Science book is the perfect cure for insomnia. But, oh no. You're not gonna do that. You're gonna turn on the TV. And at that evil hour, only quality programming is in order. Here are my favorite 2 a.m. indulgences -- what are yours?  

5) Unwrapped- I love Marc Summers and I love this show. As my roommate always points out, "Marc Summers has never made anything but great television!" But for some reason, I can only watch this show in the middle of the night. During the day, it just feels like an extended version of a Mister Rogers segment. (You know the ones where he would show footage of crayons being made in a factory?) But at 2 a.m., I am riveted by the scientific complexity and composition of a Little Debbie Zebra Cake.

4) Anything Involving Lists on VH1- Everybody always complains about how MTV never plays videos anymore, but nobody ever complains about VH1 doing the same thing (or NOT doing the same thing). In the middle of the night, MTV actually does play videos. VH1 does not. They show the same "List Shows" over and over again: 100 Most Shocking Moments on TV, Best Celebrity Hook-ups and Break-ups, Top Celebrity Spoiled Pets. I just freaking love it. It's good quality television at its best. Plus, if something is being "counted down" I have an overwhelming desire to endure the entire list. I don't want to give up at #32. Being up at 2:30 a.m. doesn't make me feel like a failure, but not making it to #1 does.

3) Cops- Enough said.

2) Infomercials- This is actually me lying right here. I don't watch infomercials anymore, but at one point, I did. I did a lot. A LOT! So much so, that infomercials still retain an honorary spot on the list. (Sorta like how Michael Jackson's Thriller is the top selling album of all time, but really? Who has it anymore?) I don't watch infomercials like I used to because, quite frankly, they aren't as good. Remember the Ronco food dehydrator? The Flowbee RoboCut? The Thighmaster? The Ronco spray-on hair crap? The golden age of infomercials was in the mid-90s. Sorta like how the Golden Age of Cinema was in 1939? Well, I sorta think infomercials climaxed in 1993.

1) Real Sex- Don't lie. Don't lie. Dooon't lie. You know you watch it in the middle of the night. And when else would you? You aren't gonna TiVo it and save it for a Tuesday mid-day viewing. Now, THAT would be creepy. I think HBO created Real Sex (and its 8,543 sequels) to keep bored insomniacs entertained at 2 a.m. Because if you're in front of the TV at 2 a.m., chances are...you aren't getting laid. So what's better than actually getting to have sex? Watching other people have sex. And what's even better than watching other people have sex? Watching fat, middle-aged white people dressed in bear costumes have sex at a Sex Bear Costume Fetish Party. Relax, it's not porn -- it's a sex documentary.  

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Remeber, Cartoon Network repeats its 11PM-2AM [adult swim] block from 2-5AM and the local NBC station runs month-old reruns of Leno and Conan after Mr. Karma (and Saturday nights they recycle some very vintage SNL after Evening at the Apollo), allowing me to narrow down my choices at 11:30 knowing I'll catch up with them later. And then, since I'm in the Pacific Time Zone, at 3AM, the News networks start their Morning Shows, which are more surreally entertaining when you haven't been to sleep yet (Except Imus on MSNBC, who's plenty surreal any time of day). Of course, recently, I've been feeling nostalgic for "Night Flight", the long-gone USA weekend overnight mix of mostly short-format oddities. Does anybody else remember it, or is this a false memory implanted in me by the aliens?

November 04 2005 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

A lot of people still play Thriller. I know I do :-p

November 04 2005 at 2:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Akbar Fazil

back in the day, it would have to be anything that USA had on "Up All Night" (with Rhonda Shearer, never when that hack Gilber Gottfried did it) Nothing says quality programming like skinimax quality movies cut up to be on broadcast tv!

November 04 2005 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not too long ago I woke up at 3am and decided to watch television, and for some reason as I was flipping, I stopped on "Little House on the Prairie"...and watched the whole thing. It was the episode where the older daughter's eyesight started to go bad and her grades were going down. And Pa was like "That's ok sweetie, we still love you, now stand over there while I hit you with a sack of Ma's delicious griddle cakes until you wisen up." ...or something like that, I don't know it was 3am and I was half-asleep.

November 04 2005 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Damn, somebody beat me to the GGW infomercials. I got nothin' else.

November 04 2005 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My favorite Late night programs would be either Blind Date or Cheaters. I like to imagine that the couples who start out on Blind Date end up on Cheaters, then they go to cops when one attempts to kill the other, then either the Peoples Court or Divorce Court.

November 04 2005 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr. Funbags

I enjoy the Girls Gone Wild infomercials - I know I can download the uncensored videos easily, but I dunno - something about well placed censor boxes that read 2HOT4TV kinda hold a special place in my heart.

November 04 2005 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Toby OB

For me it would be all the classic WB shows on the American Life Network (so long as I filter out any hidden messages from whoever runs their propaganda machine!). I Spy, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Cheyenne, Harry O, Combat!, Kung Fu.... it's like visiting the Museum of TV and Television (LOL) without leaving my apartment!

November 04 2005 at 1:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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