October 12, 2004

Chris Matthews Quick Question: What

Chris Matthews

Quick Question: What do you call a talk show without any guests? Answer: “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

Technically speaking, Mr. Matthews, MSNBC’s pumpkin-headed panjandrum, offers his viewers a slew of interviewees. Throughout the course of a grueling edition of “Hardball,” however, Matthews’ staccato barks hog all the airtime, and one is left with the distinct impression that he didn’t have any guests at all.

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have long considered the stentorian Matthews well nigh unwatchable. And it doesn’t appear that we are alone in this view: If television ratings bear any resemblance to reality, more people are tuning in to Angela Davis defecating on C-Span than taking in the antics of this un-thinking man’s Charlie Rose.

But it seems to us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” as if Mr. Matthews has miraculously become more irksome of late. Sure, he now hosts a Sunday morning show on NBC, on which he appears more relaxed.

We have the sneaking suspicion that one of the production assistants' jobs on this program is to slip a sedative into Matthews’ whisky. How else can you explain the fact that he actually allows Tucker Carlson to talk?

Regardless of his comparatively mannered performances on NBC, Matthews is simply excruciating on “Hardball.” He sounds like Tom Arnold and John McLaughlin’s love child.

And then there’s the matter of “Hardball”’s guests. Democratic partisan-cum-professor (if that is not too redundant a label) Susan Estrich must possess the most cacophonous voice in the history of humankind. She makes Chris Matthews seem like Barry White. We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have heard more dulcet tones from strangled dolphins. The only repeat guest we hope to see on “Hardball” is zany Zell Miller—provided he’s brandishing a Smith and Wesson and a hand steadier than his political affiliations.

And let us not forget that eminently forgettable Democratic strategist with that staple-gun hairdo and peppercorn off-kilter beard. Apparently, this lifeless chap is one of the few talking heads who can endure Matthews’ deafening rambles. As a result, the “Hardball” viewer is regularly treated to his appealing countenance. He’s the only guy who makes Alan Combs seem drop-dead gorgeous.

As of late, “Hardball” has become torturous. Plopped in front of a passel of irksome college kids waving political posters, Matthews regularly yelps questions to the likes of Ronald Reagan’s emaciated son and the squinty-eyed Joe Scarborough.

And just in case you didn’t think “Hardball” was sufficiently loathsome, the program is generally followed by Keith Olberman’s feculent “Countdown” program.

This all leads us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” to believe that, if hell has cable television, the only station one can get there is MSNBC.

Posted at October 12, 2004 12:01 AM | TrackBack