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Sellevision Cover




Chapter One

"You exposed your penis on national television, Max. What am I supposed to do?"

"I didn't expose it, Howard, it just sort of peeked out."

"It `peeked out' during the Toys for Tots segment in front of twenty million viewers, many of whom were, not surprisingly, children. It's twenty-four hours later and we're still receiving faxes. The phone lines were so jammed last night that no one could get through to place orders. Plus I've got every mother in the country threatening child-abuse lawsuits."

Howard Toast, the executive producer of the Sellevision Retail Broadcasting Network, glared at the show host who was sitting in a black leather chair on the opposite side of his large glass desk. Behind Max and facing Howard, a bank of television monitors silently played live broadcasts of Sellevision, QVC, and the Home Shopping Network as well as broadcasts from the other three "B-class" networks.

Howard leaned forward and said quietly, "Jesus fucking Christ, Maxwell. This isn't the Playboy channel, it's Sellevision."

Max ran his fingers through his hair, a nervous habit. "Look, I was wearing a bathrobe, it was Slumber Sunday Sundown. We were all wearing bathrobes."

Howard's normally placid, waspy features contorted with frustration. A vein on his temple pulsed. "Max, the other hosts weren't naked under their bathrobes. It's just — well, there's no excuse — seven-year-old children and their mothers just shouldnot know that you're uncircumcised." He took four Advil from the bottle on his desk and washed them down with cold coffee. "I mean, this could be worse than that Cuban raft-boy thing."

Max wiped his hands on his slacks. "Look, I'm sorry, it was an accident. I already told you, Miguel knocked my latte over onto my lap in the dressing room while he was doing my makeup. What was I supposed to do, wear soaking wet boxers? C'mon, man, I had less than four minutes before I had to go on air, I had no choice."

Howard straightened the stapler on his desk. "You should have borrowed Miguel's underwear," he said angrily.

"Miguel is Hispanic. He doesn't wear underwear. Besides, that's a disgusting thought, even if he did."

"Not as disgusting as showing your dick to families all across America while they're sitting down to eat dinner."

Max rolled his eyes. "Jesus, Howard, you make it sound like I did it on purpose. Like I'm some kind of exhibitionist or something."

Howard leaned back in his chair, sighed, and looked up at the ceiling. There was a silence between them, and Max glanced over at the executive golf-putting toy in the corner ofthe office. Howard leaned forward and placed both hands on the desk, palms up, like he had nothing left to offer. "Max, I'm very sorry this had to happen, but if I put you back on air, I'll lose my job, the station will be boycotted — as it is, you're just lucky your penis didn't make the cover of USA Today."

Max leaned in, blinking. "So what are you telling me? You're saying, what, that I'm fired? Is that what you're telling me?"

Howard nodded his head solemnly. "Yes, Max, I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go. There's no way we can let you back on the air after this, just no way."

Max's hands flew up. "I can't believe you're firing me over this."

"I'm sorry, Max, I really am. I've got a few friends over at QVC and the Home Shopping Network, I could give them a call, see if they're looking for anybody. But you might have to start off doing the overnight. And if worse comes to worst, there's always" — he shifted his gaze toward one of the television monitors that was currently displaying an electric egg scrambler — "the E-Z Shop Channel."

"I can't fucking believe this," Max said, slumping in his chair, letting his mouth fall open.

"Max, America's premier retail broadcasting network simply cannot be associated with a controversy of this...magnitude."

"Oh, well, gee, I guess I should take that as a compliment," Max said sarcastically.

"It's not funny, Maxwell. It's sad, is what it is. It's very sad that you were so careless. You're a good host. But you crossed a line and, well, there are consequences."

Max left the office, mortified as security personnel accompanied him while he collected the possessions in his office, and then escorted him out of the building like a sex offender.

Copyright © 2000 by Augusten Burroughs

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

colleencanehill, November 8, 2007 (view all comments by colleencanehill)
This is by far one of my favorite books!! Just a great ride from beginning to end. And the second time around is even better. You'll never watch QVC the same way again, I can tell you that!
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(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Dennis Kleinsmith, August 30, 2007 (view all comments by Dennis Kleinsmith)
People know the name Augusten Burroughs because of his memoir books, particularly "Running With Scissors" but this novel is sorely overlooked and underrated. Anyone who's caught even a few minutes of a home shopping television program is going to start laughing by the third page and only put it down to catch their breath. The reason isn't because of any fine crafting or unique takes but because it's all so familiar and realistic! Burrough's writes what we all wonder-it comes down to the adage; "it's funny 'cause it's true."
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Product Details

Burroughs, Augusten
Picador USA
New York
Gay men
Humorous fiction
Television personalities
General Fiction
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Humor : General
Black humor
Edition Number:
1st Picador ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
June 2003
Grade Level:
7.67 x 5.85 x 0.635 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Satire
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction

Sellevision Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 240 pages Picador USA - English 9780312422288 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This gleeful satire of America's 24-hour, shop-till-you-drop culture lacks the depth and razor-sharp wit of Burrough's more established works (Running with Scissors, Magical Thinking, etc.), but the audio's colorful characters, brought skillfully to life by Miles, ensure that it's an entertaining ride. Initially, the choice of a female narrator surprises — since the story opens with Sellevision host Max Andrews getting booted from his position after accidentally exposing his penis during a 'Toys for Tots' shopping segment. But as the audio meanders through the lives of hosts Peggy Jean Smythe, Trish Mission, Leigh Bushmore and Bebe Friedman, it becomes clear that Miles is well suited to the task. She adopts an appropriately prissy tone for the devout Peggy Jean while at the same time playing up the sleaziness of Peggy's husband, who's on a mission to seduce the nubile teen next door. Miles also does a fine job capturing Bebe's New York twang, mile-a-minute chatter and spontaneous laughter. Although Burroughs's characters often seem as disposable as the RemoteControLotion and Moisture-Whik Panties sold on Sellevision, this audio, like a good soap opera, still manages to hook listeners. A Picador paperback (Reviews, July 31, 2000). (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "An absolute howl, about on-camera personalities who sell things on those home-shopper channels. This one has its characters fall apart very publicly: One is axed after he accidentally exposes himself on air. Another is the target of a surprising stalker. And so on."
"Review" by , "This kaleidoscope of gleefully salacious intrigue aims to titillate and amuse in a purposefully over-the-top way....Burroughs throws in some witty zingers but, overall, the energy of this satire of commercial madness almost peters out before the last FuturePop Popcorn Popper or Moisture-Whik Control Panties are sold."
"Review" by , "First-time novelist Burroughs writes fluidly and shows a flair for fun, campy material....As a bubbly soap opera, Sellevision is good company for the beach or the plane. Its literary value may be low, but the material sparkles, just like the Diamonelle earrings on the shopping channels."
"Synopsis" by ,
Darkly funny and gleefully mean-spirited, Sellevision explores greed, obsession and third tier celebrity, in the world of a fictional home shopping network.

Welcome to the troubled world of Sellevision, America's premier retail broadcasting network. When Max Andrews, the much-loved and handsome (lonely and gay) host of "Slumber Sunday Sundown" accidentally exposes himself in front of twenty million kids and their parents during a "Toys for Tots" segment, Sellevision faces its first big scandal. As Max fails to find a job in television, another host, the popular and perky Peggy Jean Smythe is receiving sinister emails about her appearance from a stalker. Popping pills and drinking heavily, she fails to notice that her husband is spending a lot of time with the very young babysitter who lives next door. Then there's Leigh, whose affair with Sellevision boss Howard Toast is going nowhere, until she exposes him on air; and Bebe, Sellevision's star host, who finds Mr. Right through the Internet--if she can just stop her shopping addiction from taking over.

"Synopsis" by , Darkly funny and gleefully mean-spirited, "Sellevision" explores greed, obsession and third tier celebrity, in the world of a fictional home shopping network.
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