Whoa, did anyone notice that the New York Times threw down the blogauntlet (fart!) on three of America’s venerable comedy institutions yesterday? In an article about the broadband Onion News Network, Virginia Heffernan let it be known that the sacrosanct satirical news parody can do no wrong, unlike everyone else:
No one has panned the Onion News Network. Of course not. America has inexhaustible reserves of good will for the homespun Onion, which started as a print weekly in Wisconsin in 1988, as it does for no other national comedy institution except maybe Mark Twain. The Simpsons is past its prime. The Daily Show is admired but partisan. And each incarnation of Saturday Night Live bugs its audience in a new way. The Onion, though, is like overwork or pizza. It’s your patriotic duty to not not like it.
Nice work on that last sentence, Heffernan. There was not no better way to phrase that.
But also, ouch! Isn’t comparing The Onion, or the Onion News Network, to The Simpsons, The Daily Show, and Saturday Night Live kind of like comparing apples to television shows? Her (admittedly tepid) criticisms of those shows aren’t way off-base, but it totally seems possible that The Onion would fall apart on the big small screen. Area Man calls bullshit.