CDA Channel 19: "Perils for Pedestrians"

I just love Coeur d'Alene's local access cable channel 19, aka CDA-TV. It’s home to some of the most delightfully banal television available here and likely anywhere in the world. I don’t want to put down the fine folks who do programming on such a limited staff and budget; I honestly enjoy some of the things they show. The city council and planning and zoning meetings are always fun, full of those low-brow entertaining moments that could only occur on local cable access. I like the awkward moments when the camera lingers on the person who is NOT doing the speaking. I like the impossible mumbling of some council and board members who may be great at their jobs, but were certainly never meant to be public speakers.

Then there’s the fashion antics of our mayor Sandi Bloem, from her wild whipspray of salt and pepper hair, to her vintage Liz Claiborne (RIP) jacket collection, the gaudier the better. I truly thought she was a one of a kind until I tuned in to watch her host “CDA Now” and she really met her match in NIC president Pricilla Bell, who showed up with what looked like a peregrine falcon’s nest on her head and wearing a cast-off from Queen Elizabeth’s 1992 yard sale.

But the program that really wins the banality grand prize is “Perils for Pedestrians with John Z. Wetmore”. This isn’t even a local production – it must be something CDA-TV got free or really cheap just to fill in random gaps in the programming schedule. But if you’re into laughably mind-numbing TV like me, this show is a no-miss. “Perils for Pedestrians” is a very low-budget whirlwind trip through the wonderful and exciting world of sidewalk improvements in Louisville, Kentucky. Somehow, they managed to stretch this idea out over multiple episodes, each hosted by our intrepid and totally geeky host John Z. Wetmore. Wetmore goes from Louisville sidewalk to Louisville sidewalk interviewing various people who have a lot to say about Louisville sidewalks. That’s it in a nutshell, and the show is about as captivating as it sounds. Sometimes you wonder if the interviewees are in on the joke. They sometimes seem a little put off by John Z’s vulture-like stance, squinty-eyed with feigned interest, always holding the microphone at the same intrusive angle. If they try to inject some personality by making a joke, John Z. just glares blankly at them. You get the feeling this is just another gig for him and in reality he couldn't give a shit whether or not kids get plowed to death on dangerous Louisville sidewalks. The camera never moves, staying fixed in the same spot for the entire interview. I watched a woman carry on about how since they’d put in a new sidewalk in her neighborhood her whole life had changed, and she was nearly moved to tears just talking about it. Wetmore and another poor sot stood in pouring rain for 15 minutes discussing the deadly scourge of mud puddles on unimproved walkways. I’m not quite sure what the producers expect the viewer to take away from the show. “Gee, I’m all warm and fuzzy inside with sidewalk improvement love”.

“Perils for Pedestrians” runs several times a night, usually around 1am, 3:30am, and 5am on CDA Cable Channel 19.

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For those who would like to judge for themselves, "Perils For Pedestrians" can also be seen 24/7 on Google Video.

Patrick, dear, I can't imagine anything more frightfully weary-making than watching CDA Channel 19.

How utterly amusing. I'm sure there have to be opportunities in spades for Schadenfreude and Weltschmerz.
Google Video is shutting down. If you want to watch "Perils For Pedestrians" 24/7 now, you will have to go to Blip TV at http://pedestrians.blip.tv
"Perils For Pedestrians" is moving again. You can find a bunch of new episodes on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/pedadvocate
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