Editors Note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Anchorwoman Down!

Well, that didn’t last long. Less than 24 hours after its inaugural episodes, the suits at Fox pulled the plug on Anchorwoman - citing amazingly low ratings for such a ballyhooed debut. Last night I sat down to watch it via the magic of DVR and found myself less repulsed than first expected. Sure, it was a highly contrived human cartoon, but even Mrs. Lenslinger recognized a few characters from my newsgathering past: the greasy General Manager with the bimbo fetish, the hapless News Director who’s sold his soul to the company store, the shrewish young reporter on the verge of an all-out claw-out, the lifer photog schlub who thinks he’s shot it all … Hey wait a minute, that’s ME!

Honestly, it’s probably best that Anchorwoman died on arrival. For had it continued, I suspect the supporting cast (of supposed true-life players) would no doubt have continued to hog Lauren Jones’ spotlight. After all, real-life parodies are far more intriguing than silicone-enhanced swimsuit models - once you get past the ‘clevelidge’, of course. No, the chintzy environs and wacky inhabitants of a bottom-feeder market didn’t exactly elevate the form. I mean - c’mon - that was one ugly affiliate. Back at my own shop, we all had a fine time pointing and giggling at some universal truths we recognized in the show, but do we really want viewers to form their opinions from a station that boasts ’Stormy the Weather Dog’? don’t we already rank low enough in public opinion polls?

Truth is, sit-coms, one-hour dramas and contrived reality shows have never correctly pegged the TV newsroom milieu. Mary Tyler Moore came close I guess, but it was a more a tale of female empowerment and girlish charm than a realistic indictment of local broadcasting (Ted Baxter, notwithstanding). In the early nineties, Murphy Brown gave it a go, but between the broad slapstick and the main character’s mugging, I never could bring myself to tune in for more than three minutes at the time. I’m sure other shows have tackled the subject but I’ve mercifully found a way to live without them. It’s a drag though, for as Anchorwoman briefly proved, your garden variety TV station features enough farce and fanatics to to fuel a lifetime of chortling episodes. Maybe they’ll have better luck with Back to You

I doubt it, though.

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