Monday, September 29, 2008

Those Crazy Brits and Their Silly Headlines

From yesterday's Guardian:
Gay TV host is liberal queen of US news
No, they're not talking about Anderson Cooper -- he isn't a pundit, silly. And the "liberal" rules out FOX's Shep Smith, which leaves us with the brilliant Rachel Maddow, whose new MSNBC show has garnered impressive ratings for the network since premiering earlier this month. It also has the distinction of being the only show on TV that my teenage sister and middle-aged father watch together, which I think could form the basis of an inspiring ad campaign.

You could start off with a family sitting in awkward silence at the dinner table. When they do speak, their comments are terse and accusatory. The teens are surly, the dad seems exasperated, the mother defeated. But later that night, as Maddow's show is about to start -- she can stand in front of a standard-issue network promo backdrop and smile benevolently with her arms crossed as this happens -- the parents put down their copies of Nixonland or What's the Matter with Kansas? and the teens silence their cell phones and lower their laptop screens for the first time all day.

They watch the show as a family, wearing similar expressions of slack-jawed disbelief as a torrent of clips showing John McCain referring to himself as a maverick plays (or maybe it should be a clip of Sarah Palin talking about Alaska's participation in the Russian civil war and how they bravely rode into St. Petersburg on dinosaurback to fight on the side of Union because slavery was taking jobs away from Americans -- I'm sure CBS has something like that on the cutting room floor). Then Maddow would offer some kind of wry commentary and the family would relax and find themselves united in laughter. At which point one of those deep-voiced announcers who tries to make everything sound heartwarming would say: "Rachel Maddow, bringing families together in living rooms across America." Accompanied, perhaps, by a small picture of Rachel at the bottom of the screen and a quickie voice-over: "I'm Rachel Maddow, and I approved this ad."

Can you tell I've had too much time on my hands today?

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors