Some people have very strong opinions about religion. Or politics. Or food.
I have strong opinions about morning news shows. Mock if you will, but I more or less hate all humanity before I’ve had my 20 ounces of coffee or it’s past 10:00am. I have patience for almost nothing, my temper is short. In this state, it’s playing with fire to subject me to crappy morning news programming.
Now, obviously, here in the states you have the potential for morning news show offensiveness at both a local and a national level. While I have plenty to say about local morning news*, my issues with the national morning news programs have been going on for longer. Oh, sure I have fond early-childhood memories of Good Morning America way back in the Joan Lunden days, and I still have a soft spot for the old CBS This Morning jazzy version of “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning.” But it all went pear-shaped when GMA took a nose dive, CBS destroyed their morning show and all that was left standing was NBC’s Today. Maybe could have made it through with NBC’s offering, except that at the ripe age of 15, I came to loathe Matt Lauer with the fire of 1000 suns. That sentiment continues, in force, to this day, no matter how much coffee I’ve had.
So, I’ve been adrift. I’ve tried going back to the other networks–GMA has shown some improvement, but they aren’t there yet–everything is too forced and carved out of cream-cheese. I even tried cable (Robin Mead on Headline News with her valley-girl inflection is only a hair more tolerable than Matt Lauer being arrogant). I kept looking for the morning news program that did what I needed it to do: give me enough information about world events to avoid being a total nitwit in the conversations before the morning stand-up meeting, and not give me another reason to hate the world before I get to my desk.
And finally, at long last, in December 2010 I found the show. It didn’t just meet those basic criteria, it went above and beyond. It is the morning show of my dreams. It not only didn’t offend, it actively highlighted everything that I hadn’t even realized was wrong with every other morning news program I’ve ever seen. This show brought the thing that matters most: The Funny.
Unfortunately for me, it’s Australian.
Ironically, it shares a name with the least favorite of those US morning news programs. The title Today alone no longer gives me reason to want to strangle people. Instead, it generally gives me a reason to hold my sides and snarf the coffee I so desperately need to wake up. Seriously. This show is freakin’ beauty.
Not long after she and Dad moved Down Under, Mom told me that their version of the Today show was absolutely hilarious, but I had no idea until I spent my first holiday there. I had plenty time to watch over a cup of the only non-disgusting instant coffee I’ve ever had in my life** while waiting for my lazy brother to get up in the mornings so we could head out sight-seeing. I was holding my sides laughing watching this program. I’d never seen any US news broadcast like this. I never realized non-offensive a morning news show could be when it just allowed itself to have a real sense of humor. Not the fake camaraderie and forced cheer that you put up with on a US show. This was genuinely funny. What better way to start the morning than with an actual laugh? And, you still got the headlines! It was like The Daily Show, only at breakfast and with Australians (and, often more random….)!
The program was wholly unashamed of going there with every joke that a US show would avoid. Bad pun? Do it. Innuendo? Absolutely. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously. Would an American morning anchor ever tell her co-host, “No, I won’t pull your finger?” Because Lisa Wilkinson has totally had to say that to Karl. On air. Would Matt-Asshat-Lauer ever tell a Dali Lama joke to the Dali Lama? No. But Karl Stefanovic would. Do people on American morning shows regularly get attacked by wildlife? No, but Stevie’s been attacked by a Pelican, a chicken, a bunch of aquarium creatures, a camel…. A US morning show would avoid commenting on a location shot that involved a hot air balloon branded as a giant tampon box. These folks pointed it out. I’m telling you, these might actually be my people. I mean, they laugh in the morning where we seem to have banished all our funny stuff to the after-hours around here.
There are many, many reasons to be jealous of Australia, but for me, this show might be one of the greatest reasons of all***.
So, the morning show I’ve always wanted, exists out of my reach. I am honestly going to miss seeing it this year as my folks are supposed to be moving home from Oz by Christmas. I’ll have to make due with the humorous clips on YouTube. Of which there are so many, that I think they do a far better job of demonstrating the awesomeness of this show than I ever could. You try squeezing this many genuinely, side-splittingly funny bits (roughly 9 hours of the funny) from 6 years of the US version of the Today show–you’d be lucky to get 5 minutes. If I’ve got to sit here, and lament the fact that we don’t have Karl, Lisa, Georgie, Fordo, Dickie, Emma, Sylvia, Stevie and the rest, so do you:
I encourage you to watch and laugh (it’s good for you), and then join me in questioning why we can’t have a morning show that starts our day like this? I vote we cancel one of our US morning shows and resort to importing our TV just like we do everything else we get around here. I, for one, welcome our Aussie humor overlords. (And if you don’t snicker at Georgie and the “long stabbie thing” there really is no humor hope for you, and I really don’t think we can be friends anymore****)
I’m jealous, Australia. Really, really jealous.