Some say the world is divided into Right and Wrong. Winners and Losers. Paper and Plastic.

I disagree. For me, all existence consists of that which is stupid, and that which is not.Well, maybe not all existence. But television, for sure. Stupid or Not Stupid - all TV fare falls into one or the other category.

Granted, this may not be the most nuanced way of sizing up programs. Nor the most tactful. Stupid sounds a lot like a put-down. And its alternative, Not Stupid, hardly comes across as a ringing endorsement.

No offense intended against anyone in the TV industry. It's just that this Stupid/Not Stupid dichotomy is a useful tool for viewers. It helps spell out for your head what your gut already knows. Especially when the show you're watching happens to be Stupid.

When you watch Mary Hart on "Entertainment Tonight," don't you wonder who wrote that claptrap she recites so chirpily - and if she listens to herself while she recites it?

When you stumble onto "The Naked Truth," don't you marvel at the demands placed on David Duchovny's acting skill every time his wife, "Naked" star Tea Leoni, asks him, "Didya like the show this week, honey?"

When you while away the time with Barbara Walters interviewing some celebrity, don't you long to hear the nonfiction version?

Musings like these are a telltale sign. A cry for help. Fair warning you dispense to yourself that what you're watching is Stupid.

Consider "Millennium," masquerading as profound. "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee," so transparently phony. "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," a big-time exercise in smallness that is not only patently Stupid but, by every indication, happy to remain so.

This is not to say that a series can never change its standing. For one memorable hour last April, "Ellen" overcame its Stupid stigma with the season-ending "Puppy Episode." But its tenure as Not Stupid was short-lived. Relapsing this season, "Ellen" is Stupid again.

As you may have noticed, a program's status as Stupid or Not Stupid isn't based on its network or stars, its awards or Nielsen ratings.

Nor does its being hailed as "smart" count for anything. In fact, "smart" too often is a TV euphemism for "adult," which in turn is another way of saying "Let's be rude and call it sophisticated." In short, "smart" can be just another word for Stupid. (Does "Cybill" ring a bell?)

On the other hand, what might seem sort of dumb can be - well, Not Stupid. "Xena: Warrior Princess" is sufficiently outrageous yet campy to earn exemption from Stupid status. Instead, it is quarantined in that special corner of Not Stupid reserved for guilty pleasures.

No such luck for the brutish "Walker, Texas Ranger." It's just Stupid.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" is Not Stupid. So is "60 Minutes." So is "South Park." And so is the useful, if dangerously earnest, Weather Channel.

By contrast, "Dateline NBC," with its high-minded pretense and tabloid-TV trappings, is Stupid. So are "Melrose Place," "Cops" and "Saturday Night Live."

But that's just me. Stupid or Not Stupid is in the eyes (and gut) of the beholder, and it's worth the effort to keep track of where you stand.

Stupid or Not Stupid: Your assessment gives you insight not only into a program, but also into what its creators see as their programming mission. And not only what these producers think of their work, but also what they think of their audience.

After wasting time watching something Stupid, you may wonder, "Who do these overpaid schlockmeisters think they are?" But you might just as well ask, "Who do they think WE are?"

Stupid or Not Stupid - which of those labels do they think applies to you? Are they right?