1. Chris Matthews
Ha! I'll admit it...I watch Tweety's show on the elliptical machine at the YMCA; I watch at home, when I am attempting to prepare something that resembles a dinner. I thought the resolution of the 2008 election would force me to stop gawking, but the mundanity of the post-election news cycle has rendered Matthews an altogether fascinating figure, a man who seems to think he has Washington figured out, all while Washington regards him as a special-needs child. Sometimes it feels like watching a version of The Truman Show, where everyone is acting except Matthews himself.
When I read this almost unbelievable New York Times magazine profile of Matthews a year ago (Favorite line: I imagined a little superego hamster racing against a speeding treadmill inside Matthews’s skull, until the superego hamster was overrun and the pause ended), I didn't think it could possibly be an accurate portrayal; now, after spending two years with Tweety in my living room, I'm certain that it is. Today, for instance, Matthews and his wildly spinning Republican guests discussed the frontrunners for the 2012 presidential nomination. The whole thing felt vaguely pornographic; to Matthews, who really is the most excitable political creature on television, I have no doubt this has been breakfast-table conversation since November 12. I have no doubt he dreams of Mitt Romney, but only in the context of electoral strategy. He even has a segment on his show called The Politics Fix, which would be like adding a segment to Around the Horn called The Arguing Sportswriters Moment.
Of course, I'm not sure who else could be watching this show, except the editors of Talking Points Memo and a few depressed auto-industry lobbyists drinking Manhattans at a happy hour in Georgetown. But trust me when I say it is the most fascinating hour on an otherwise bleak summer television landscape. It is worth it for those moments of pure Matthews, interrupting his guests with questions that make Charlie Rose seem like a master of brevity, and advancing theories based solely on politicians' sartorial choices and purposefully contrarian Politico articles, and wrestling with his superego (not to mention the force of nature that is Pat Buchanan), and I am just waiting for the moment when he says something so incomprehensibly advanced that he can finally begin fundraising for his own presidential campaign.
2. So You Think You Can Dance
My girlfriend finds this to be the greatest invention of the Fox television channel since Life on a Stick. I find it a fitting punishment for months of subjecting her to Tuesday night football games between Ball State and Akron--most notably, I am speaking of the scrambled judge who serves as a Paula Abdul doppelganger. I assure you, her shriek is the embodiment of existential despair.
3. Baseball season
And so, in a matter of days, we enter the netherworld between the end of the NBA season and the beginning of HBO's Hard Knocks, that dark time when we are forced to either abandon the television during prime time and re-engage with our lives, or actually watch baseball. I'm trying, baseball, but I look at you and all I see is a king-sized syringe and a framed portrait of Bill James.
Also, the Tigers are in first place. That is irrational.