As some of you might know, I’m currently sailing in the North Atlantic and through the quirks of the satelite system that provides me with slow but effective internet access, I am able to watch one television channel – Fox News. Yes, it’s as if this seismic boat is in some way one of the Dante’s outer circles – comfortable(ish) quarters, decent and plentiful food, but Fox News. Fox “News”. Fux Knows.
Anyway, after nearly two months out here, I’ve actually started to watch the rubbish and I’ve become a bit of a fan of what might be the worst show to ever grace television – The Half Hour News Hour, the Fox News riff on The Daily Show. Okay, that’s a bit harsh in the age of “reality” TV, but I hyperbolize for effect.
The intention is obviously to do for the right-wing what the Daily Show does for the left, except now that The Daily Show makes headlines, they have to do so in the glare of the media. This is only the beginning of the problems for the show.
Where The Daily Show produces smart humour delivered by comics and written by comics on the issues of the day, The Half Hour is formatted more like the old Saturday Night Live Weekend Updates – two anchors taking turns on various story leads. The big difference, and it’s part of the charm, I must admit, is that it’s almost unwatchably unfunny. Oh, it’s lame in a large way.
Perhaps it’s sadism, but watching these two actors deliver such lame commentary and hearing the scattered laughter of the studio audience (which the editors opt to show periodically just so you know it isn’t a laugh track), is hysterical to me. Watching people this uncomfortable makes me howl. And interspersed with all of this are fake ads (again a la SNL), a regular lame bit by Dennis Miller (what, more SNL?), and the odd little set bit or animated sequence. The other night, the first time I watched in fact, the animated bit was a thing called “The Closet Conservative” about a conservative guy (subtly named “Guy White”) who works in an office full of liberals and feels that in order to fit in he has to hide his political views. Yes, the poor white man doesn’t feel his views are adequately represented by those around him – good thing he still owns and controls everything!
I think it’s time for me to get off this boat now.