Sith Academy: Darth Maul vs. the Fox Network
By the Intrepid Housemate Melissa TM
[Read Melissa's author bio]

Maul scowled at the PlayStation screen. What kind of game was this? "Syth" was supposedly the hottest new release on the game market, but as far as Maul could tell it contained no enemies to slaughter. There weren't even any weapons! "Syth" seemed to be made up of puzzles -- something Maul had little patience for. "Stop honking at me and open the damned door!" he screamed, pounding the PlayStation controller.

"Hooooonnnnk... click-click fwip!" said the game.

"Enough of this!" Maul seized his light staff and prepared to vent his fury upon the game cartridge.

"Wait a moment, Maul!" his master commanded.

Damn, how did Sidious always manage to get into his apartment without Maul noticing? "This game mocks me with its honking! I must have my revenge!"

"I already bought you a new PlayStation last month after you trashed it, and I billed that to my senate re-election campaign fund as a market research expense. I am not buying you another one." Sidious cocked his head at his apprentice, who was barely controlling his urge to slash the game to pieces. "Still, it seems a shame to waste such pent-up anger! Why don't you go vent your hatred on some of the local citizens instead? It might drive a few more of them over to the Dark Side."

"As you wish, my master," growled Maul as he stalked out of his apartment, grabbing his least-cat-hair-covered robe from the back of the chair he'd thrown it over. Sidious watched him leave with a satisfied smirk.

"Hooooonnnnk... click-click fwip!" said the game again.

Sidious looked at the game screen. "Ah, what do we have here?" He picked up the controller and pushed one button.

"Click-click ping!" the game announced. On the screen, a great stone door swung wide open.


Obi-Wan settled onto the couch in front of his television with a sigh, happy to have finally finished washing the dishes, cleaning Mr. Fluffy's cage, and ironing Qui-Gon's good Jedi robes for his appearance before the Council tomorrow. "Just in time!" he exclaimed. "Ally McBeal's coming on!"

The padawan picked up the remote and flipped it to the Fox 1 channel.

"Tonight's episode of Ally McBeal will not be seen!" announced the television. "Instead, we're bringing you another exciting episode of The World's Wildest Police Videos!"

"Nooooooo!" cried Obi-Wan. "I want to watch Ally McBeal!" He pouted forlornly for a moment, then found himself paying closer attention to the television screen. "Gosh... that looks like my neighbor. But it can't be!"

The wild police video du jour showed a black-robed man on a speeder bike soaring through the skies of Coruscant, followed by a fleet of law enforcement shuttles giving chase. The man wove skillfully through the crowded traffic, knocking small hovercraft out of his way and weaving around the larger vehicles. One cop cruiser failed to negotiate a corner and bounced off the side of the Galactic Senate building, leaving a trail of smoke behind it as it spiraled to the ground.

"Yes!" chortled the man, black robes billowing behind him. "Feel your rage and frustration, officers of the law! Let the Dark Side fill your minds! Now use your hate to strike me down -- if you can!" Laughing maniacally, the escaping villain brandished a weapon that looked suspiciously like a light saber ("But only Jedi use light sabers, so it can't possibly be," Obi-Wan thought to himself) and sliced completely through an SUV that was in his way.

"Get him!" Obi-Wan shouted, hoping excitedly that this yahoo who had gotten his program pre-empted would get the fate he deserved. Then, with a guilty start, the padawan realized that such feelings of revenge were steps on the path to the Dark Side. "Oh, dear, I'd better change the channel. Maybe they're showing Ally McBeal on Fox 2."

Obi-Wan switched the channel and was assaulted with a blur of images and sound. The television practically bounced off of its stand in its excitement. "We now return to tonight's Fox special, When Weirdos Attack! We've got exclusive footage of a vicious attack on a convenience store -- can you identify the attacker?"

"I shouldn't watch this... really I shouldn't," protested Obi-Wan, even as his eyes were drawn to the carnage on the screen. It was a black-robed figure, but the picture was a grainy security-cam image and it was hard to identify anything in detail. The robed man was screaming about the quality of the coffee, the store's outrageous price on a gallon of milk, and the expiration date on his Twinkies. Chaos ensued as shelf after shelf of overpriced junk food slid to the floor and began to pile up around the hapless store employee. Finally, the cash register exploded in flames as the crazed man waved his arms, laughing.

Obi-Wan thought that the person on the screen reminded him of someone, but he couldn't quite place the face. "Darn it! I should have taped this and re-watched it. Maybe I could have helped the police catch that guy and GIVE HIM WHAT HE DESERVES!"

Obi-Wan gasped as he once again felt the Dark Side rising within him. What was it about these shows that made him feel this way? "Oooh, I'd better change the channel again. Let's see if they've got Ally McBeal on Fox 3."

With great trepidation, Obi-Wan switched to his cable system's third Fox network.

"And now back to The World's Funniest, with your host, James Brown!" the television set chirped.

"Whew! This looks safe!" Obi-Wan settled in to watch, although in the back of his mind he knew that no show could make up for missing an episode of Ally McBeal.

"Next up, we've got a hilarious home video, sent to us by D. M. of Coruscant," the genial host announced. "Apparently his neighbors were up to something pretty interesting! Let's watch!"

The videotape appeared to have been shot around the corner of a building; the two subjects seemed unaware of the surveillance. Obi-Wan peered closely at the screen. That tall figure, with the long hair and the Glinda the Good Witch dress... the shorter figure, wielding a pogo stick and a melon... "That's Qui-Gon! And me! Last month after Yoda's CD release party! Oh no!" Obi-Wan sank into the sofa cushions, mortified to see the private little game he'd played with his master broadcast to the universe. "Surely they won't show the part with the feather duster... ooh, no," he moaned, covering his face. The studio audience hollered with glee.

Obi-Wan felt a cold rage rising. "I will find whomever it was that sent in that video. I will find him and make him pay. OH YES, I WILL MAKE HIM PAY!" As the Dark Side flowed within him, he felt an irresistible urge to cackle maniacally. "Bwahahahahahahahaha!"

The padawan turned to find his light saber, only to see his beloved hamster, Mr. Fluffy, cowering in the corner of his cage. Guilt washed over him. "Oh, my poor fluffy hammy, did I scare you?" He picked up the shivering rodent and began to cuddle him. "I didn't mean to get to angry. A good Jedi doesn't get angry. It's just something about these TV shows, they make me want to embrace the Dark Side!"

At last, a commercial break ended Obi-Wan's torment. The familiar face of Senator Palpatine appeared on the screen.

"Are you tired of the violence in our society?" he said in a kindly voice. "Do you wish that people would treat each other with courtesy and respect?"

"Yes!" shouted the distressed padawan.

"If I am re-elected, I assure you that I will make it a top priority to bring a new way of life to the Republic. One which will ensure that you, the average law-abiding citizen, need never worry about disorder." The senator turned on his most ingratiating smile. "That's why you should vote for Palpatine. A vote for Palpatine is a vote for order."

Obi-Wan nodded. That Senator Palpatine, he definitely had the people's concerns close to his heart.

If only he could do something to keep Ally McBeal from being preempted!



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