TV Crush

'Red Eye'/Long Night

4/30/2007 5:10 AM

Ever since last November, conservatives have worried about the record number of young voters who turned out to support the Democrats, a surge attributed to the influence of The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert’s cheeky Better Know a District segments.

Maybe conservatives are hoping that Fox News’ late airing Red Eye – a roundtable-style show where twentyish, Dartmouth-esque  pundits skewer celebs and current events - will capture hearts and minds.

In your late, late night dreams.

It’s not that I uniformly despise Fox News. Even the pufferific Bill O’Reilly has been known to make sense on occasion. (Okay, I know he has. I just can’t think of anything at the moment.)

And while much has been made of CNN’s Anderson Cooper, anyone who overlooked Fox News’ Katrina coverage by Shep Smith and his colleagues missed some impressive and daring reporting.

Unfortunately, these are the exceptions that prove the rule. And Red Eye is no exception. Host Greg Gutfeld leads off a recent Red Eye with a discussion of bullying and the Virginia Tech massacre. Sitting at the table is conservative Toronto Sun columnist Rachel Marsden, an Ann Coulter wannabe who pled guilty to harassing a Vancouver radio personality but was hired by Red Eye because the audience liked her legs.

To her left is Bill Schulz, an unpretentious freelance writer with thick wavy hair and a vintage style: apple-green cardigan, paisley tie and a white button-down shirt collar open just so at the neck. The bookish and independent Schulz is the most appealing of the bunch.

“I went to Emerson and that was populated by nothing but freaks,” says Schulz on air, “and you don’t bully each other when you’re all freaks. And then I started thinking about the cafeteria and it was awesome. And I got hungry. And then I took a nap!”

Gutfeld giggles nervously. “Hmmm,” he says, rendered speechless.

Marsden eventually cuts in and speculates about the gunman’s motives. “Maybe he just found out what his degree was really worth and lost it.”

We’re just rotfl.Yes, we are.

As for the media exploitation of the topic, Schulz sums it up best. “Bullying is Fox’s bread and butter.”

Gutfeld re-directs discussion to the next subject - the 2006 surge in the number of super-rich.Marsden struggles to come up with an appropriately nasty neo-con observation but fizzles. “Millions of people on welfare depend on these folks,” she fumes.

“More interesting stories coming up,” hoots Gutfeld, “McCain displeases our ears … we’re going to Simon his Cowell when we get back! The Donald misses the spotlight and does something dumb to get back in it. And by dumb I don’t mean a lemur. Lemur’s are very smart actually. And finally!!Didn’t think Ricki Lake could get any grosser!!??What’s that you say?You don’t think about Ricki Lake at all? Well, soon you won’t be able to get her slimy, writhing, naked body out of your brain hole, no matter how hard you try! Hahahhahahaha!”

Oy! This is excruciating. “They’re forcing prisoners to watch this at Gitmo!” declares my husband, “I bet they used the footage on Noriega, like Guns n’ Roses.”

The show has no writers — obviously. I maxed out at the nine-minute mark, relieved when the show broke for the swivel sweeper (with quad brush technology!) commercial.

It’s not that the right/neo-cons/conservatives/whatever can’t get it on.“MC” Rove’s hip-hopping performance at the Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner is proof positive.

Even though Rove looked a little like the Groove Armada bunny, he still earned some street cred with his self-deprecating humor. Red Eye should book him.

September