You know, maybe there is something to being a Republican. Sure, they happily make life hellish for everyone on earth who isn't already a member of the GOP—but what's awesome about being a Republican is that they have a little switch inside their heads that they can flick on and off whenever they're faced with their own disgusting morality. Let's take the most obvious example: Sarah Palin. When presented with wild exaggerations about her "experience" and her voice, which sounds like a cat begging to be let out of a blender, Republicans simply FLICK their "off" (or "rational thought") switch, and suddenly Palin is that totally hot chick from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Or let's take John McCain. Umm... THE MAN HAS TRANSLUCENT SKIN. And his teeth look like they've spent the last 30 years soaking in urine. And yet? FLICK! Off goes the switch, and all Republicans see is a muscular centaur with Ronald Reagan's head, drilling for oil and shooting animals in the face.

Anyway, that's what I need: a flicky switch that can change bad things to good. It would come in especially handy this week, since there are so many new and returning television shows of dubious value. Such as...

Smallville (CW, Thurs Sept 18, 8 pm). Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) is gone. Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) is gone. Also gone are much of the cast's "teen years," which automatically means they're 20 percent less hot. So why should I watch this show anymore? FLICK! Because (a) sexy Green Arrow (Justin Hartley) will be a series regular, (b) as will the nerdtastic Legion of Superheroes, and (c) Clark will finally start working at the Daily Planet—which means his penis will be that much closer to Lois Lane's vagina. SOLD AMERICAN!

Dancing with the Stars (ABC, Mon Sept 22, 8 pm). This is just another aging show like American Idol that's so mired in sameness, it's impossible to maintain giving a crap. FLICK! On the other hand... this year's cast of desperate celebrities includes gay *NSYNC member Lance Bass (who will be porking every male dancer in sight), Olympic beach-volleyball star Misty May-Treanor (who apparently has no problem with getting nude in front of the entire world), and veteran actress Cloris Leachman (who is roughly 143 years old and whose body parts will begin snapping off like dried twigs by episode three). USA! USA! USA!

Knight Rider (NBC, Wed Sept 24, 8 pm). If this show was just an hour of drunken, shirtless David Hasselhoff unsuccessfully trying to eat a hamburger, then I might be interested in watching. FLICK! But wait! According to the producers, the new Knight Rider car is significantly faster! FLICK! And it has nanotechnology! (Though they're not exactly sure what that means.) FLICK! They also have a "batcave" of sorts, called the "Satellite Surveillance Chamber." Awesome, right? FLICK! Did they mention that the main character has a new haircut? FLICK! FLICK! FLICK! Goddamnit! Why isn't this stupid Republican switch working? FLICK! Drill, baby, DRILL! (Oh, whew! There it goes.)

This Week on Television.

FLICK! steve@portlandmercury.com