BY Dave White
January 04 2010 1:20 PM ET
7. Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann — I like Olbermann’s politics. I’m glad he’s on the air saying the things he’s saying. But he’s got this ... I don’t even know ... this way of saying it, like he’s the first guy to think it all up just for you the dumb viewer, that just makes me yell “Shut up, Keith Olbermann!” every time my husband turns it on. And that’s every day. I spend the hour patiently waiting for Rachel Maddow to show up. Beck, on the other hand, is a loon. And bad for the country. But when he cries and shakes and bounces around it fills me with a kind of super-pleasure (and I do not believe it’s sexual) that I can only imagine heroin being like. So in spite of his rotten agenda, I have to keep watching. I’m sure you understand.
8. The cancellation of Pushing Daisies — In the Best of '09 column I wrote about shows my friends happened to appear on for one reason or another. But here’s one a friend created. And I’m not just saying this because I know that dude, but Pushing Daisies was the most vibrantly strange, meticulously detailed and executed fantasy/mystery/comedy/romance/whatever to come along in, well, ever. There was no template for this excellent oddity; it made its own. So of course it had to die.
9. A Charlie Brown Christmas — To squeeze more ad revenue out of this annual classic, ABC chose to butcher it for 2009, slicing out Sally Brown’s vital Christmas list monologue in which she exhorts Santa to simply bring her money, preferably 10s and 20s, and that all she wanted was what she had coming to her, all she wanted was her fair share. They also eliminated the catching-snowflakes-on-the-tongue scene (and with it a chunk of Vince Guaraldi’s score), aborted Schroeder’s annual angry “Jingle Bells” recital and erased Shermy’s grumbling about having to play a shepherd. All you people who pitched a fit about Janet Jackson’s nipple or Adam Lambert’s groin should have spent your time furiously calling ABC about this. It officially counts at my most furious HOW DARE THEY moment of TV watching of the past 365 days. Next year I’m looking at the DVD.
10. Almost all news coverage of health care reform town hall meetings. Runner-up: President Obama on TV talking about gay rights — I think we’ve turned a disturbing corner in this country when ordinary citizens are willing to mock and laugh at other ordinary citizens who are suffering. That’s what those town hall meetings always turned into, a chance for the Haves to kick the Have-Nots in the face and scream until we all conclude that basic health care really is just a privilege for those who can afford not to be bankrupted by it. Worse, the news media acted like it was some kind of debate instead of just corporate fear-frothing carried out by a volunteer street team of deranged, freaked-out citizens (some of whom didn’t have health insurance themselves — figure that one out) who thought the Death Panels were coming. And then there was Us Gays and all our stuff, the marriage and immigration and military ban stuff. And I know that the president’s been busy trying to repair the United States’s global diplomacy reputation and put out the major wildfires committed by the last team of arsonists, but dang, dude, could you maybe give us a sliver of something more than lip service and foot-dragging and pretend-advocacy? I was never a hope-and-changer, but I shouldn’t already feel like heckling you every time you stand behind a podium and open your mouth.