O'Reilly vs. Olbermann: Battle of the Talking Heads

When it comes to TV talking heads, there are an infinite variety - although most of them are conservative or something even darker. Like Hannity and Combs, some of them work with sidekicks. On these blabfests it's the sidekick's job to usher in commercial breaks.

Combs: "So Senator, could you respond to the allegations that George Bush is a cross-dressing, sissy man?"

Senator: "Uh..."

Hannity: "Sorry Senator. All out of time. We're going to a commercial break now because, quite frankly, I hate it when someone says something I disagree with. We'll be back right after we execute this liberal and hear a few words from our sponsor...Halliburton - making the world safe from Democracy and the highest possible profit!"

Sometimes the sidekicks are actually on different networks. Take the pairing of Fox's Bill O'Reilly vs. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. O'Reilly's schtick is to be outraged at everything. "Liberals are taking away Christmas and threatening to crucify Christmas lawn ornament Santas!" Olbermann's schtick is humor, or at least for the past few months, tweaking O'Reilly.

If you haven't been watching, Olbermann seems to be getting under the "Giant Talking Head's" skin. Keith routinely gores Bill's ox publicly via his daily Worst Person in the World bit. Worst Person in the World usually features two appetizer stories - like a woman who kills puppies for their fur or a Dad who abandons his child while he goes into a strip club - before going on to the main event, a narrative of O'Reilly's latest paranoid kerfluffle.

O'Reilly - never one to demonstrate his IQ, but ever-willing to talk about how high it is - always responds. First, he complained about Olbermann and MSNBC "cheap shotting" him. Then it escalated to starting a petition to fire Olbermann. Recently, he's been cutting people off his radio show when they mention Olbermann's name. He then lectures them on-air about having their phone numbers and expecting a call from Fox Security. If Fox Security is that damn good Bill, maybe you should loan them out in the hunt for Osama. "Hey buddy, I've got the address of your cave and we're coming to get you! Bill sent us!"

O'Reilly is the living embodiment that evolution is a valid theory. Selective in-breeding has sent him to court for protection against a famous sexual harassment case in which he told a producer he'd like to get naked and rub her down with a loofa. By the way, this story broke shortly after he released his "traditional values" tome, The O'Reilly Factor for Kids: A Survival Guide for America's Families. Of course, we went right out and bought the book. We gave it to the Poobette, told her to read it, and then do exactly the opposite of what the book told her. We believe it is an immensely valuable child-rearing tool.

In another case, O'Reilly sued comedian Al Franken for using his image on his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Franken once said of the suit that it was the first time he'd seen a judge literally laugh a case out of court. Even the Fox lawyers were apparently so amused they laughed at him. We can understand though, O'Reilly makes up tear-up with laughter every time we see him too.

Many people believe that Bill O'Reilly is dangerous. We personally believe that he's not. He's more like your "quirky" Uncle Rudy who tells off-color jokes at inopportune times and never seems to get that people are making fun of him. Many people also believe that he' at the top of the lunatic scale, right next to say, Pat Robertson. Them, we've got to agree with.

We tend to see Bill not so much as a serious threat to anyone so much as a daily opportunity to lift our self-esteem by reminding us that no matter how crazy we get, how lunatic a fringe we join, we'll never be as crazy as old Uncle Bill.

So we relish O'Reilly - maybe even enough to join his fan club. We believe that he's hands-down the most entertaining show on TV. Not because he tells the truth, or chooses arguments worth having, or promotes an intelligent discourse on serious issues of the day - heaven knows, anyone who's seen him can testify to that.

No, we relish him because he does important work. He makes us laugh and the world needs more of that. Laughing at raving loons is what keeps us from crying when we see him. As for Keith, keep it up! The more you stir his pot, the more he goes over the edge, and that's what makes Must See TV.

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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, April 03, 2006

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