Downshift
Channel surfing with Rufus

By Bill Hudgins, columnist

With most TV series in reruns now – made even harder to sit through thanks to the endlessly yammering political ads – my friend and ace gearjammer Rufus Sideswipe has once again begun dreaming of TV show ideas that would let him park his old Cornbinder on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

“Except for a few shows, like ‘Ice Road Truckers’ and ‘Log Truckers,’ there’s not much on TV that the average over-the-road driver and family can relate to,” observed Rufus, waving a much-thumbed copy of his TV guide.

“But it’s hard to sell something new, so I just figure to put some chrome and a new coat of paint on some shows that have already made it big, and see if those dogs will hunt,” Rufus added.

So, if Rufus has his way, this will be your fall entertainment lineup:

“How I Met Your Bumper” – This combo sit-com and reality show features a bunch of drivers sitting around a café counter, telling stories about close encounters they have had. The reality part comes from the fact that they have dash-cam footage to accompany their tales of brake-stomping lane jumpers, makeup-troweling commuters and, too often, clueless rookies who don’t know where the corners on their rigs are yet.

“The Deadliest Patch” – Everything you ever wanted to know about tires and tire repair. Appearing on a PBS station with major support from the Retread Tire Association.

“Blue-smoke Bloods” – A three-generation trucking family share joys and tough times as they struggle not to get plucked in the rough, tough, sometimes dangerous world of 21st-century chicken hauling.

“Two Broker Girls” –  Two young women – one naïve but good-hearted, the other worldly wise – try to make it big as honest, square-dealing brokers in an agency full of sharks.

“South Parking Lot” – Animated series focusing on four young men in a small town who work for the area’s largest employer, a bustling truck stop. The constant flow of people inspires amazing and sometimes disturbing events that the boys have to confront and solve.   Meanwhile, they often quarrel with each other, and one of them is prone to hideous accidents.

“34” – Gritty, real-time, edge-of-seat excitement that follows an exhausted trucker trying to reset his hours so he can head back out again to support his family. Will the kids wake him as they try to live their lives in the shadow of his slumber? Does he really have sleep apnea or is it the cat’s tail draping across his face? Can his wife fix the faucet herself (“Sure I can,” she thinks. “I installed it.”)?

“Lost … Again?” – Following vague directions and suggestions from their dispatchers, a convoy of trucks wanders seemingly aimlessly around a city, sometimes into dense, threatening neighborhoods, trying to solve the mystery of where they’re supposed to deliver.

“Park and Recreate” – Documentary-style show on how truckers spend their non-driving hours on the road, ranging from Land Line’s own Jeff Barker’s bicycling to Rufus’ never-ending quest to solve the Cracker Barrel peg board puzzle.

“The Windshield View” – Four female truckers from very different backgrounds and experiences compare notes, secrets and sometimes harsh truths about the largely overlooked world of long-haul women drivers. Moderated by Paris Hilton.

“Keeping up with the Carcrashians” – Life’s never dull for Tow the Line Towing and Recovery owner Hank “Yanker” Cable. From minor fender benders that escalate into brawls to hair-raising rescues of perilously perched 18-wheelers, Hank’s “Big Jerk” wrecker has hooked them all.

I don’t know about you, but I am putting some fresh batteries in my remote. Until next time, be safe, make money, and get home often. LL

March/April
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