By Roger Naylor
GOOD MORNING, MY ASS: If there's been one notable casualty in the Bill and Monica third-rate romance--l'Affaire with Oval Office rug burns, sly exchange of gifts (including an "I gave the President a hummer and all I got was this lousy T-shirt" T-shirt and secret signaling neckties with matching decoder ring), disappearing stogies, stained dresses, finger-wagging denials, reluctant confessions, finger-flipping apologies, Hillary smashing White House fiesta ware over Bill's head, Bill smashing cruise missiles over terrorists' heads, jittery stock markets and a Congressional report that comes in a plain brown wrapper and advertises lubricants, inflatable dates, and Spanish fly in the back pages--it's the general mood of the country. That has soured with a vengeance. Rollicking good times shrink in the rear view mirror. A malaise has fallen that won't be easy to shake.
It's been one long, crazed summer and the nation is just now coming round, groggy with the mother of all hangovers. Evil little trolls try to push our eyeballs out of their sockets from the inside while the cast of Riverdance clatters across our skull. Our tongue feels stiff and furry as a carpet remnant, our teeth sweat and our skin shrivels. The money that was in our wallet is gone, and just where the hell did this tattoo come from, anyway?
The citizenry is in a snarly funk. The hot new fashion accessory is a sneer; wear it whether at the office or out on the town. It's versatile. Everybody, even clergy, children and game-show hosts, talk out of the side of their neck, short-tempered and nasty-like. Surly is in, cynicism is back. Riding high on the "What's Out" list is perky. Chipper, buoyant and up-beat have vamoosed.
This, of course, dramatically alters the landscape for morning news shows. These jovial schmoozefests were originally designed with the notion that bubbly up the ying-yang is just what viewers want in the pre-dawn gloom, minutes after the alarm has jarred them from repose. They thrive during the boom times. But no more. The jig is up for NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning, America and that cheese that airs on CBS.
Not to worry. I have designed the perfect early-edition news program to get us through. One that reflects this post-Lewinsky emotional wasteland and gives viewers what they want, the way they want it. It's called Good Morning, My Ass.
Move over, Katie Couric. Look out, Matt Lauer. Put an egg in your shoe and beat it, Al Roker. Good Morning, My Ass is packed with the same news, information, interviews and weather as all the other morning news shows, but with none of the irritating chirpiness or annoying smiles. In fact, it's time to croak the gender-balanced sexy co-host teams altogether. No more blow-dried pretty boys and salon-coifed blondes with lithe dancer bodies. You want chemistry, take a class.
Prop up some craggy, sallow yutz as host, like the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files. Team him with pop-eyed psycho Steve Buscemi. Broadcast the show live from a back table at the Flesh Wound Bar & Grill. And watch the ratings soar. Here's a snippet from the premiere episode. (Opening theme, probably something from Judas Priest.)
CSM: Hello, and welcome to Good Morning, My Ass. In the headlines today, there's been yet another incident of a motorist with a "Mean People Suck" bumper sticker being dragged from his car and kicked into unconsciousness by an angry mob. Serves the little puke right.
Steve: Our Anger Management expert, Mike Tyson, will be here later to give us some pointers on how to inflict maximum damage before the cops arrive and disperse your mob.
CSM: Bring on the pain! Also, Jack Hanna will join us from the Columbus Zoo, and he's brought along some feisty dung beetles. We'll learn how our lives are really no different than creepy vermin that roll turd balls from dawn to dusk.
Steve: Comes as no surprise to me. But now let's take our first look at the weather, with Good Morning, My Ass meteorologist, Charles Bronson. What's it like outside, Charles?
Chuck: Down south it's freakin' hot. In the east, it's freakin' raining. And if you live in Kansas, then you must be some kind of freakin' idiot. Hey, I've got to do a big shout out to Ms. Francine Peels, who just turned 100. She resides at the Withered Geezer Rest Home and Bait Shop, where she spends the days lying in her own filth, screaming for the orderlies to come in with a stick and turn her over. You go, girl!
CSM: That's what we all have to look forward to, if we're lucky. We're going to take a break but when we come back, our health expert, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, will show us how to solve the problem of a snoring spouse with nothing more than a pillow pressed firmly over their face for a few minutes. All that and more on Good Morning, My Ass, where you finally wake up to reality.
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