Friday, February 16, 2007

Don't Get Me Started

This new show should be interesting, but maybe not in the way intended by its creators. The pitch: finally, a Daily Show for the rest of us, where us = red state Fox News viewers.

Of course, the show has a high chance of failure for precisely the same reason Air America has stayed largely grounded: Comedy Central's gang beat FNC's to the punch. It's also the same reason Democrats haven't been as good at repurposing language as Reeps - they scrubbed up and redefined everything before we caught on. Then we look like kid sibblings aping for the cameras, trying to be cool like Joe Older Brother Quarterback. Repitition is funny within a comedic framework. Repitition outside that framework is merely impression - or worse, pure plagerism. Never quite as funny.

In cable channel ratings land, however, the show could be a "hit" - pulling in the numbers required to make it competitive with the Daily Show and Colbert Report. Creatively, however, I'll be reserving judgment for several episodes (that is: if I break my strict No-FNC code to begin with).

If "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" seeks to provide yet another outlet for (intentional) political comedy, it could be great. If, as I suspect, it sees itself as an anti-dote to Stewart and Colbert, it will flop. No, actually, again, I have to hedge that statment because, in context, this is a cable program on a cable channel with a devoted following. That means that, while The Daily Show skewers power, regardless of its color or state of origin, conventional, conservative wisdom frequently pegs it as a left-wing funfest of presidential battery and Democratic lovemaking. Daily Show fans know that characterization to be grossly generalized. But FNC viewers might be avoiding Stewart and Co. anyway - knowing only what non-satirical FNC personalities ascribe to the programs. Therefore, they will happily gulp down the antidote, blithely unaware that the poison never entered their bodies to begin with.

Have I checked ratings to back up that guess? No. But anecdotally, I know some intra-FNC people don't watch The Daily Show even as they are aware - or think they are - of the content and angle.

The final analysis: if it's legitimately funny, more power to it, it should, and probably will, succeed. If, however, it is the lone voice against an imagined enemy on Comedy Central, it should, yet probably won't, fail. Got that?

An aside: Perhaps supporting my contention that the reality of The Daily Show and Colbert Report won't have any influence on the content or success of FNC's new show, is this passage from the article:

"Liberals are endlessly entertained by jokes about how George W. Bush is stupid and ignorant," Rice said. "Despite the fact that he has a master's degree from Harvard University. He's been a governor, a president. He's had a massively successful life. But those jokes about him being dumb, they just never fail."
I trust a majority of my readers to know that an advanced degree from Harvard - while held by some absolutely brilliant people - should never alone be proof of intelligence. That simply isn't the way life, or the admissions process for presidential legacies, works.

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