Best TV Station

KPLR-TV (Channel 11)

If aliens want a quick primer on the last few decades of American pop culture before they stage their inevitable coup d'etat, they'd be wise to tune their interplanetary television sets to KPLR (Channel 11). Our future overlords can witness the hoosierific, chair-throwing antics of The Jerry Springer Show (weekdays, 1 a.m.) and then check out The Doctors (weekdays, 10 a.m.) to see how us humans can get all stitched back up again. Channel 11 also serves as a CliffsNotes version of how our culture has evolved over the past five or so decades: The No. 1 show in the mid-'60s portrayed the quaint lives of the folks in small-town Mayberry (The Andy Griffith Show, weekday mornings at 6 and 6:30 a.m.), while the No. 1 show of the late '90s focused on the whiny, big-city dwelling, pants-shedding sextet of Friends (weekday afternoons at 1:30 and 5 p.m.). Maybe the programming's set up this way on purpose, to beam into the universe some larger truth about life, culture and our ever-changing notions of morality. And maybe, with all their intergalactic know-how, our would-be alien usurpers have figured out how to tune in to KPLR to ponder this and even supply an answer to the eternal question: Is The Three Stooges (midnight and 12:30 a.m., Sunday) funny? We get the feeling their large unblinking eyes and narrow mouths set in a perfect line would finally supply the answer we've been waiting for: No.

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