Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Professor Tracey Reviews The Debut Of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show

I must admit to looking forward to the start of The Rachel Maddow Show. My regular readers know that I thought The Dan Abrams Show sucked big time! Anyway, I think Maddow is smart, funny, and even though you know she is a liberal, she doesn't automatically support everything liberals say or do. She is a critical thinker and a much needed fresh, not to mention, female face on the evening news.

Last night's debut show was mediocre and that's being kind. The show felt very flat and did not seem to use the skills and talents that got Maddow her own show in the first place. The show was not bad enough to keep me from watching it again, but if Rachel Maddow wants to stay on the air, she needs an immediate and direct intervention. Here goes -

Hey Rachel,

Caught your debut show last night. You seemed a bit nervous and that's understandable. Hopefully by week's end, the jitters will be gone, but if you want to stay on the air in my humble opinion, you need more segments like the one with TD Jakes than with Pat Buchanan.

Your coverage of GOP VP Sarah Palin was extremely well done and represented the strongest segments on the show. Your reading and commentary on the news of the day was also an excellent segment, but the irritating music distracted from your reporting. There is definitely a lot of great things about your show, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Here's a few suggestions from someone that really wants to remain a regular viewer -

Please keep Keith Olberman on his own show! - thank you!
And I mean a serious The Closer's Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson "thank you" on this point. Let's establish your own brand - "thank you!" I know you appreciate the opportunity and you have given him his props on his role in making it happen. Time to send your homeboy back to his own show - "thank you!"

Keep "Uncle" Pat Buchanan off the show - find another lunatic fringe conservative to spar with, if you must. Rachel, you can't control Pat Buchanan, he's a raving racist and sexist psycho who has more than his fair share of air time already. He handed you your ass tonight and you were not prepared. It was the low point of the show besides that Kent Jones monkey wrench that got tossed in at the end of the show.

Your predecessor Dan Abrams made this same mistake. 9 pm is too damn late to listen to the hypocritical lies and racist and sexist smears of some GOP extremist. If you are a TV news junkie like me, you have heard enough of that crap, it's time to wind down with some intelligent discussions of real issues effecting real people. That's your niche, girlfriend! Trust me! You and Michelle Bernard would be a much more interesting not to mention intelligent mix.

The set needs work!
What was theme - All-American Gay cubism? Hated it!!! And please lose the spinning pinwheel "Rachel Maddow" logo - it screamed "let's make a lesbian a television news personality."

Lose the music!
It sucks and sounds cheap!!! The music sounded like that free music they give you on computer programs to practice with.

Fire Kent Jones immediately!
What was this lisping Howdy Doody nobody doing on the show? He's appearance was pointless and he had zero chemistry with you. If you want a sidekick, pay back the favor that Keith Olbermann did for you and find a woman of color to give this airtime too! Allison Stewart needs a gig!

Good Night and Good Luck!


John Lightning September 9, 2008 at 1:06 PM  

xcellent review (why, because I agree with most of your critique).

The shows pacing was terrible. It seemed to be in slo-mo, and as I assume you are familiar with the videos Rachel used to do that were posted at her site and on YouTube, when she does commentaries in that style, her smart and informed opinions come across best.

Last nights show did not play to her funny side. If she gets bogged down in pedantic discussions with atypical policy wonks, the show will be gone BEFORE Election Day.

I also could have done without more Keith. Rehashing the Obama ‘exclusive’ that I had just sat through once again was unnecessarily. I understand the cross-promotional aspect of TV, but as someone said at a convention recently, ENOUGH.

The music has got to go. Those bad generic rock tracks MSNBC favors (they have also made much of David Gregory’s show unbearable) are a distraction and TUNE OUT. Well chosen quality music as in and out bumpers I expect and want. It adds to the presentation. Continuous music behind show segments where the focus is on discussion is never appropriate.

I’d like to see Rachel face off against Pat more often and just eviscerate him, go for the jugular. It could be fun to see his points tarred as only she could.

The show needs a legitimate open and close, a faster pace, some glitz. Yes, it can be glitzy without becoming a garish, FOX Newish jumble of swooshes and bleeps that add zero to the presentation.

Sadly, day one was a bore. If Rachel is going to build an audience, this show will not get it done. Retool now! I would have thought MSNBC & Rachel would have done more prep to bring together all the elements required to do what any successful show of this type must…ENTERTAIN AND INFORM.

John Lightning JohnLightning.com


iman September 9, 2008 at 2:08 PM  

YES! Alison Stweart! That's a great suggestion.

I agree, the Buchanan segment is horrid. Not only because I disagreed with him, but because he has nothing intelligent or useful to contribute. She needs to use that segment to have discussion that is more dynamic and less partisan. People like buchanan arent capable of logical conversations. That "right", "left" face off is really played out

Shirley September 12, 2008 at 7:23 AM  

Why does Pat B. get a platform to speak at all?! He is sooo old school. Do they not have a new generation of right wing "water carriers" to spout talking points? Let's find someone who was at least born in the 70s or 80s!!!

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