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Behind the Plate

My late-night entertainment

I like to stay up late. I like sleeping in late. I like late-night TV.

You probably think I mean the "Tonight Show" or "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," but I'm talking really late, night TV after all those shows; even after that show with Carson Daily that nobody watches.

That's right, infomercials.

If I were a stand-up comedian, I think I'd could make my career based on making fun of infomercials. They're hilarious.

I'll admit, I've been tempted by these things so many times I can't even count.

The products look good. The Turbo Cooker, the Express 101, the Ronco Electric Food Dehydrater, all creating fantastic foods, or meals in under 20 minutes; would somebody please hand me the phone?

Thankfully, I'm not that impulsive. I can't really afford to be. If I could afford to do that, my house would probably be full of useless appliances.

But one look at what these products can do, and how excited the people buying them are, makes me want to grab my credit card, pick up the phone and stay on hold as long as it takes to make my life a little bit easier.

I was your typical poor college student just six months ago. Since I was poor, I put one of those infomercial products on my Christmas list.

It was one of those gadgets that's supposed to make cooking a snap.

I'm a guy, and as a guy I hate to do any real cooking, so anything that makes it easier to get a hot meal without paying an arm and a leg, or having it come out of the microwave is OK by me.

I never got my requested Christmas gift. I guess I hadn't been a good boy. But, at the same time, I can't say that I was disappointed.

Why? Those things never work. I've actually used the Turbo Cooker. I used it to try to make a pasta dish.

Did it work? Do you even need to ask that question?

The pasta wasn't fully cooked, and the sauce recipe was - disappointing to say the least.

At least I wasn't the sucker who bought it. My loving mother shelled out the bucks for it. She bought my brother one also. My mom can be a sucker... sometimes.

But my experiences leave me wondering how those people can act so incredibly amazed with what those products really do, which is nothing, short of making a mess and wasting food.

I guess most actors in infomercials justify their participation as an attempt to start their, albeit pathetic, careers in TV.

Seriously though, who was the last actor you heard of that got his start in an infomercial? I'm sure there are some, but frankly I don't really care.

I'm not going to stop watching these things anytime soon. I bet I've seen more than 100 infomercials with Ron Popiel, from start to finish.

He's one guy I'll never get tired of. I just hope he lives a long, and profitable life.

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