It's prime time for copycatting

The Times Leader

“You decorate … for fall,” the visitor observed, his words revealing a hint of mystification.

Well, sure doesn’t everybody? I thought, surveying the simplistic swaps that signaled the season had changed – a pumpkin here, a scarecrow there, perhaps the few deep-hued toss pillows over yonder, setting off some window treatments far more suitable for the melancholy days.

But, OK, I’d only just begun. Fall television, after all, has only just returned, meaning I’ve miles to go before I sleep, in domestic peace anyway.

I should probably explain. The critics have done their prognosticating as well as their “post-gnosticating,” if you will, weighing in on such weighty topics as whether it’ll be “Dirty Sexy Money” or “Big Shots” in the 10 p.m. homestretch, “Pushing Daisies” or “Reaper” in a death match. Soon enough, the people will speak, and my house very well might look different depending on what they decide.

See, if you ask me (a confessed, marginally remorseful prime-time fan), most of the new shows border on downright bad, but there’s darn good reason to stay tuned – to the new and old. That would be the essentially free interior-design consulting services, courtesy of some must-have sets. It works like this:

After one episode, I was all but at a loss as to the “whimsical” appeal of “Pushing Daisies,” but did you catch that funky kitchen? In a year where retro is apparently on its way back – it came and went and figures to come again – who cares about a silly plot when there’s just so much coolness to scan in a candy-colored heart of a home? Who knew a simple silver and red stepstool could make such a statement?

“Daisies” ogling was only for kicks, though. I couldn’t swipe too many ideas for my own more-rustic-than-retro kitchen. Time to move on, to Thursday nights, maybe to “Ugly Betty.” My inner TV critic believes the whole Wilhelmina/Claire/Faye business has careened way too out of control, but I tell you Latin culture never looked so delectable, so imitable. Devotees of the spare, understated school of design surely recoil at the little eye treats abundant in the Suarez castle, but have vibrant-colored walls all covered in kitsch ever looked so appealing? I think not.

And just when I conclude that’s the way to go to really liven my place up, I return to my senses in the 9 o’clock time slot. That’s when old standby “Grey’s Anatomy” messes with my head, or rather my home.

This year, I’m less than impressed with the struggling storylines, but I’m glad to see Meredith’s big old house/doc dormitory is as copycat-worthy as ever. Not that I believe a surgeon like Izzy actually would have time to churn out all the cookies and muffins she does, let alone covet another woman’s Mixmaster as she did two Thursdays ago, but I still like when they make her bake. This way, I can pine for the tall, old-world cabinetry from which spring all her stylish implements. Oh, and I like to watch the housemates come and go through the farmhouse-style screen door off the kitchen, the one I vow to acquire someday. I’ll then follow the pretty doctors into the living room, where the walls wear the yellow I wish I chose and where all emotional upheaval plays out under perfectly cast lamplight. Try as I might, I can’t duplicate the effect yet.

Do you see what is happening to me, friends? Little wonder I can’t keep up with the plot lines anymore.

Maybe next year, come spring, I’ll actually take part in that National Television Turnoff thing. Left alone, my house might take some umbrage at first. But later, I’m sure, it would thank me for the peace.