By Burbank Bureau Chief
NBC News
updated 2/13/2004 11:29:20 AM ET 2004-02-13T16:29:20

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have had it to here with Janet Jackson, the Super Bowl, the drivel that passes for television programming and the huffing and puffing that’s going on in DC about it all.

I swear, I think the woman should get a medal for waking them up. 

You would have to be a zombie not to know Valentine’s Day is coming. I happen to spend a fair amount of time in my car commuting to and from work. Red is the power color of the moment. It spills out of shop windows and doors as I drive by. Billboard displays suggest a spa weekend. The ads have been relentless.

My two current favorites are the dorky See’s candy guy, who sounds like such a loser I don’t know how he can even sell chocolates, let alone save anyone who’s managed to forget the 14th.

Then there’s the Star Registry. Basically in the name of love, you buy the name of a star. I am not sure why I think this is a scam -- it could be this voice that purrs out, ”You are my shining star." The woman of his dreams then squeals “oh honey, you’ve named a star after me!!" All this gush for a mere x number of dollars and you get a star chart with your star circled and I presume something tacky to frame.

I don’t know when we sold the sky and all the brilliance in it. I must have missed that one. But someone is getting rich on it.

Breaking the bank
Then there’s all the advice you can handle from the L.A. social scene pros, coming at you on local television and radio. Take her to the Bel Air hotel, one voice croons, it’s so romantic.

What’s romantic about the Bel Air, and I’ll be the first to tell you it’s a wonderful spot, is that for most people, you’d have to hock the family home just to get in the door. This is not a quiet meal-for-two spot; this is a national debt spot. Nice work if you can get it, but then there’s the rest of us.

All the guys I know are grateful to just make it through Valentine’s Day with a sickly sweet card they grabbed at the last moment and a supermarket bouquet of bruised, over-plucked red roses.

You can never start training the men in your life early enough, to not buy red roses. Roses, yes, red never.

'The Littlest Groom'
I guess I'm just a little jaded with the romantic scene here in L.A. I couldn’t pick J-Lo out in a police line up. Yet day in and day out, we are subjected to the vagaries of her love life.

Everything is bigger and better and more gorgeous. It’s also a complete waste of time.

Amazingly enough people buy into this. And they watch the worst in television romance. Or what passes for romance, I guess. Bachelorette, Average Joe, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancee, and I am reliably told, a dating show for midgets, called (I kid you not) The Littlest Groom.

These shows are populated by wannabes who never have a single moment on their own. Trust me I know. I’m in the business. It is impossible to have a romantic moment with 17 cameras on you, capturing your every move, every touch, and every kiss. It’s all faking it. No wonder the weddings that inevitably follow these series end before they’ve ever begun.

More TV-firsts on the horizon
So this takes me back to the lawmakers in Washington who are so worked up about Janet’s costume malfunction.

It’s more than her costume that’s malfunctioning. It’s only February. There’s a whole year of television firsts to look forward to.

The weather continues to be absolutely flawless. Catalina can be sighted on the horizon.

And even though I think Valentine’s Day is as soulless as a lot of other holidays we have, and I resent the vapid portrayal of affection that I see around me, I  suspect I will get roses. Definitely not red.

Heather Allan is the NBC News Burbank Bureau Chief


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