I was eating lunch at La Tête de Chat on Little Santa Monica Blvd just outside of Beverly Hills when I first learned about the new Helium cable network. I was just about to dig into my usual filet de cheval when I eavesdropped on two high-powered entertainment law attorneys discussing Helium’s pending debut.  I was both intrigued and excited by what I overheard. Helium seemed like a real opportunity for innovative television programming.

Logo for the new Helium Cable Network

Logo for the new Helium Cable Network

Helium began broadcasting last night, and I was right there from the beginning to watch this new and exciting form of television entertainment.  I wanted to be among the first to watch classic television programs reengineered electronically so that all of the characters say their lines in high, squeaky voices.

And it worked.  I cannot tell you how much funnier Gomer Pyle and The Golden Girls are when everyone talks like they just inhaled helium.

Much funnier after inhaling helium.

Much funnier after inhaling helium.

But the concept just didn’t work when it came to more serious shows like Mannix,  Marcus Welby, M.D. and Bonanza. It felt weird and even irritating to hear Dan Blocker say “Little Joe got himself shot, Pa” in a high, squeaky voice.


No added benefit from helium.

No added benefit from helium.

Although I give Helium an “A” for effort, I am forced by pragmatic necessity to give them a “D” for dismal programming.



  1. As with the last post, I wish I had something as bewilderingly funny to say here as the contents of the post. But I don’t. So here is a blank space for your reader to invent something of their own which is as funny as a cable network where everyone is on helium.

    Hey that’s a good one.


  2. Doc – I’m not sure if your cable television packages include the Oxygen Cable Network, but if you do then you know the inspiration for the joke.


  3. Oh yeah, and another thing – I’m not entirely sure this is the proper forum, but I am a bit trepidatious about JB’s new “national” format. The cadence of his former format was very charming – almost like a bunch of people yelling at each other in a neighborhood pub. I fear this new thing threatens to be a bit impersonal.


  4. It’s not a friendly UI that’s for sure. What I think will happen is that he’ll basically get ‘lost’ amidst all the voices on what they’re calling the National Times – which is a national site where they’ve cribbed together all the opinion-editorial content from all their state based papers and websites – he’s well down the page of people they seem to want to promote (on the third tier of opinionites as one of ‘The Bloggers’ rather than up the top with the journos) So he’ll probably get a bit ignored. But because the blog’s still heavily linked from Brisbane Times which still exists as stand-alone, the majority of the comment will still come from Brisbanites and the Burger crew who will still carry on with the same rubbish as always.

    The pity will be if he’s obliged to run more conservative, national-based content rather than Brisbane stories – though he doesn’t do that much anyway – and the most recent one was a Brisbane story.


  5. I knew Rove is gay! I just knew it! It explains everything!


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