When the Funny Runs Out

I am addicted to the Couric-Palin interviews. It’s an itch that I am ashamed to scratch, but I do anyway, and more than once daily. And the worst part is that I know I am not watching for the right reasons. I do not repeatedly press play at cbsnews.com out of journalistic inquiry or because of a yearning for better understanding of Palin’s take on the issues. I tune in to the Couric-Palin interviews for the same reason I tune into MTV on Monday nights: it’s entertaining. Palin has become the newest member of the Jessica Simpson, Tori Spelling, and Heidi-and-Spencer club of you-love-to-hate-but-really-love-to-watch-because-they-are-just-so-horrible characters, except Palin is even more hilarious. Although I do not give the vice-presidential hopeful all the credit for the comedy here: the editing of these interviews is executed with impeccable comedic timing. And compliments are also due to the costume and make-up departments that are so talented at keeping us in suspense: what color boxy, high-neck jacket will she be wearing today? Will she wear her hair all he way up or half-way up? I love all of this, until the reality of this reality program sinks in. In past reality episodes, Dan Quayle tried to put an ‘e’ at the end of potato and George W. Bush referred to Africa as a nation that suffers from incredible disease, but their comedy ran out as soon as we came to realize no one was voting them off the island. Palin’s current cameo appearances could similarly turn her into a series regular and at that point, even Tina Fey may find it difficult to get us laughing at reality.

–Jamie Wong