The internet can be useful for things other than passive aggressive aggression. For example, there’s a site that helps you figure out which TV show is reaching a given planet based on the current date and the planet’s distance from the MSNBCNNFOX towers. As I write this, the Tau Cetites are enjoying the very first Power Rangers episode. On a related note, I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize on behalf of all earthlings to citizens of the two potentially habitable planets there. 

Thinking about ET watching DirecTV from earth is an interesting idea, although somewhat of a fantasy. Since most TV viewers actually live on earth, signals aren’t optimized for deep space transmission. They’re broadcast spherically and if there’s any aiming done, it’s in the direction of the horizon. The problem is that any signals that do escape Earth become billions and billions of times weaker on the way to our interstellar neighbors. So, by the time Keeping Up with the Kardashians makes it to Proxima Centauri (4.244 light-years past that Taco Bell down the road), it’s coming across as unintelligible background noise devoid of meaning. You know, just like here on earth. 

If there is alien life somewhere in the expanse, perhaps we can assume they have superior satellite dish technology that can pick up our nightly TV anyway. I’d even bet they can unscramble the premium channels and avoid paying the $9.99 monthly access. It’s good to be alien. 

So, what would they learn? That question got me thinking. If some intelligent life form is out there, and they watched a few hours of prime-time television, they might reach some interesting conclusions about life here on earth.

  • Most humans have diseases that can only be treated using drugs with ridiculous names.
  • The most perfect human specimens work at Wal-Mart stores.
  • When a human is ready to marry, a dozen members of the opposite sex join them at an all-expense-paid luxury resort where their prospective spouses grovel for affection while spreading rumors that their peers are whores.
  • The earth’s climate has been absolutely stable and unchanging for the past billion or so years. Until 2019.
  • 46% of the human species is gay.
  • To own a car, one must correctly guess “Before and After” phrases even though some letters are missing.
  • Everyone has their own personal Personal Injury Attorney.
  • Sharks kill 67% of all humans annually.
  • Lunch ladies spike the Turkey Tetrazzini with PCP. It’s the only explanation for human behavior.
  • It’s illegal to talk loudly during golf.
  • Pundits with the least amount of relevant experience claim to have all the great ideas.
  • Everyone is murdered at least once daily.
  • Mickey Mouse Club membership is a shortcut to future sex and drug scandals.
  • Wars are fought between cities by groups of grossly overpaid and egomaniac mercenaries dressed in colorful uniforms. Losing cities have to buy the beer.
  • The residents of Hollywood spend their days giving awards to each other when they’re not recovering from plastic surgery.
  • Humans who are particularly annoying and like to dress in skimpy clothes are banished to tropical islands where they are forced to eat bugs and tarnish each other’s reputations.
  • The most successful earthlings drink beer continuously while wearing exotic fragrances.
  • Those who should probably be in charge of earth’s government compete nightly over trivia. Those with trivial brains compete daily for microphone time in front of the Capitol.

Did I miss anything?