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We Interrupt This Broadcast For….Poo-Flinging Monkeys September 19, 2006

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, TV.
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We live on an exciting world. Far off cultures, mysterious untouched regions, majestic natural phenomenon and cheese fries. All in all, a place that should inspire each and every one of us.

But the nightly news, bringing us this vibrant living planet and packaging it into two minute sound bites and theme music obviously plucked from John Williams’ trash can, is boring. Night after night, it’s the same stories. Twenty minutes of war, debate, molasses slow government policy, and whatever news story they deem “breaking.” Sometimes, we are thrown a bone of excitement to gnaw on just so we don’t try to commit suicide by repeatedly viewing Gigli without Dramamine. Maybe it’s a celebrity baby or something funny a wild animal did while somebody was videotaping it. But the stories are all the same and usually delivered by a man in a suit purchased at Men’s Warehouse (Come on, doesn’t it look good?…I mean, they freakin’ guaranteed it.) reading from a teleprompter and trying not to wake us from our slumber. The same photos on every network, the same talking heads tossing in their two cents. And yes, no cheese fries. Believe me, I’ve been waiting.

Two networks have tried to jazz up our news recently. Each, however, has taken two paths that, while promising, still leave us with little in the way of a news cast on par with our world’s stimulating persona (Well, everywhere except Lichtenstein…BORING!).

Picture the state of world newscasts as a high school homeroom class (WARNING: You are about to experience a metaphor. Those without a sense of irony or the ability to see things in a different light or slant, please leave. Here’s a Ziggy cartoon. I’ll call you when I’m finished.) You have the media represented by the teacher, whose daily job is to inform us of auditions for Grease, pep rally specifics, changes in tax codes, worldwide genocide of indigenous cultures, Future Farmers of America cupcake sale, etc. And while that may be enough to get the news out, most people in the class aren’t paying attention because the teacher is, well, boring. And I’m talking episodes of NYPD Blue without Dennis Franz’s ass boring. And the two networks jazzing up our view of the news are seated at opposite ends of the classroom.

In the back of the room is Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. He relays the news he hears to us like a snarky class clown, mumbling pithy re-interpretations under his breath. He makes the room laugh out loud, often unbeknownst to the teacher who continues blathering on about swim team tryouts. In the front of the room is CBS’ Katie Couric, smiling and perky like the brown-nosing cheerleader. She peppers her interpretation to a far wider audience and with a glint of sexiness in her eye. She smiles and gleefully relays the news, no matter how dour it may seem. Goooooooo American Foreign Policy!

(Hey, metaphor haters. Come on back. Just leave the Ziggy cartoon next to your copy of ‘All I Ever Needed to know I learned in Kindergarten.)

But what about the rest of us in the center of the room? We just want to hear what the teacher’s saying but really can’t understand over our own snores and the incessant cheering and pom-poming of Katie in the front row. We want our news with excitement, verve and life and death situations. We want the news to represent the world we live in. We want the delivery to pick us up from our humdrum lives and place us in the center of the action, much like Geraldo, but without the moustache and strange helmet that passes for his hair nowadays.

Many countries have tried nudity to spice up their news. But we here in America live in a world where a second of Janet Jackson’s breast can cause rioting, mass suicide and the general breakdown of all social precepts. Sound effects? The slide whistle would fit great into most network terror coverage and that “Wha-wha” sound that accompanies failure in Warner Bros. Cartoons would be perfect for every meaningful social change related bill that fails in Congress. Problem there is that the slide whistle market has been cornered by hack birthday clowns and the ‘Wha-wha” sound is deemed illegal by the Patriot Act. (Seriously, it’s somewhere between wiretapping and massive torture.) And don’t even think of suggesting any sort of set modifications, like chained lions and roving deadly laser beams. When I want my gratuitous over the top deathmatches and peril, I watch Fear Factor or Gilmore Girls (Lorelei’s wit should be a deadly weapon..MEOUCH!

So where does that leave us? Two words come to mind: Guest Co-Anchors.

Leave the newsmen right where they are, but pair them with a celebrity. It works for the MTV awards, which has made a career of strange bedfellows as presenters. Imagine the people who will flock to and appreciate “NBC Evening News with Brian Williams and Samuel L. Jackson. And prepare yourself for the train wreck that could be Tim Gunn trying to report on the recent developments in the Middle East all while trying out his new slogan, “Peace…Make It Happen.”

Sure, it may seem gimmicky, but think of how busy your local bar is on Guest Bartending nights. Sure, we’re there to support our friends, but isn’t the true humor in watching them fail miserably at a career so easy that Tom Cruise can look smooth while doing it. They still have to make the drinks you ask for, so they follow some sort of rules. And don’t we all get drunk at the end of the night regardless of how the drinks are poured. And the Guest co-Anchor could do the same. Have them read from the tele-prompter and still report as objectively as possible. Sure, they may butcher the words or always seem two steps away from breaking into a personal rant, but we’ll still get the news. And nothing is more exciting than knowing that at any minute, you can have the chance to watch Britney Spears utter the words “Government is Awesome, y’all.”

And when we run out of celebrities (slated to happen in 2014, around the release of Amazing Race: The Movie), bring in normal folks to guest. I think the news would taste so much sweeter from the mouth of my 65 year old shirtless neighbor who still complains about the Eisenhower administration. And if you can’t find people, then why not monkeys? I mean, how can you not watch a newscast when throughout a daily recap of the White House press briefing there is the possibility of poo being launched in the air. Gross and crude, yes, but poignant? Oh, I think so, Mr. News Executive guy.

But start with celebrity guest anchors before reaching out to the Primate loving Poo Demographic. If we can get Oprah to read the news every once in a while, all of America might get a car. And I think there is no better way to reward James Earl Jones for his hard work in the “booming voice of cartoon patriarchs” industry than by having him thunder out the words, “In Suri Cruise news today…” Almost makes you shudder in anticipation, doesn’t it?

So you can have your snarky sarcasm on Comedy central or your newscast so sweet, my dentist requires I chew Trident while watching it. Me, I’ll be waiting for Greta Van Sustren and Martha Stewart. “Stiffer gun control laws being passed, it’s a good thing.” Or the cast of MTV’s Pimp My Ride showing how they changed French foreign policy with some rims, a new set of woofers and diplomacy, biatch. And if Lil Jon can end a report with “Taliban troops retreating…Ya heard?” then consider the newscast officially unboring.

And then you’ll find me, championing newscasts and not berating them.

Pass the cheese fries.

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