THAT'S IT! I'VE HAD IT! I CAN NO longer pretend! FOR SIX LONG YEARS I've been writing I Love Television™ and for SIX LONG YEARS I've pretended to love the medium of television with a horny fervor usually reserved for a jackrabbit on crack. However! Though I do love television, there is something else I love even more--and that, my friends, is MONKEYS. "Hold on, Wm.™ Steven Hump-me," I hear you mewl. "We already know of your undying love for the simian race; in fact, there is little else of which you speak--excepting the symmetrical perfection of your highly acclaimed, honey-baked hoo-hah." True, but folks... you don't understand! I mean I REALLY, REALLY, RE-EE-E-E-E-EALLY love monkeys! Truth be told, I never even wanted to do a stupid TV column, I wanted to do an I Love Monkeys™ column, but the insidious selfishness of the tyrannical powers that be (who I have nothing but the utmost respect for) squished my dream like a little turd between their toes!

Ironic as it may sound, my love for the monkey came about from television. When I was but a wee rusty-butt tyke, I watched Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp, a show starring clothed monkeys with gum in their mouths, which was then overdubbed with human voices to give the impression that they were speaking. Even when I was little, I realized this to be the most brilliant idea for a show ever to grace the earth. The plot is as follows: Lancelot Link is America's top spy, and along with his female assistant, Mata Hairy (Hoo-Hooo! That's clever!), the duo battled monkey megalomaniacs attempting to take over the world. Then, in between segments, the chimps would dress up like hippies and sing a bubble-gum pop song. (This is also clever, because hippies have a lot of hair and stink--just like monkeys!)

After Lancelot Link met with an unfair and untimely cancellation, television was a virtual monkey wasteland for years, until 1983 when an orangutan named Clyde (who was also in Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose) starred in Mr. Smith , a TV parody of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Though the show had the unbeatable combination of a talking monkey in a suit going to Washington to consult on the nuclear arms race--the show was still a failure. More than a decade passed, and monkeys on television were mostly confined to ridiculous "nature" shows in which they shamelessly strutted around sans clothing, sans rollerskates, and sans uttering a single word! And though reruns of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp can be seen in reruns on TV Land (Saturdays, 7:00 a.m.), thanks to those jackasses over at TCI, only about five people in Seattle can see it. Unfortunately, happy talking chimps in little red jumpers have been treated by the networks with the same respect as one would give Jar Jar Binks.

That is, until NOW! The fine people over at TBS have rectified this glaring error with their newest production, The Chimp Channel. This half-hour weekly series, set inside an all-ape cable TV network, is packed to the ceiling with hilarious chimps doing parodies of famous movies and TV shows, and hitting each other over the head with anvils--just the way nature intended. Thinly-veiled monkey portrayals of Pamela Anderson Lee, Larry King, and Rupert Murdoch are mixed in with dead-on knock-offs of The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, E.R., and Touched by an Angel ¯ and they're all better than the real thing because... well, because c'mon! They're monkeys!

Though I could nit-pick and say the show could be improved by the chimps throwing their own poop, there's still low-brow humor a-plenty, and it's far and away the best show ever made in the monkey-wearing-trousers genre. The Chimp Channel airs every Thursday (starting June 10) on TBS at 7:05 p.m., so take it from someone who loves monkeys more than his own stupid TV column: Don't be a chump, and get with the chimps.