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COLUMN

The Insanity and Fun of Monica TV

Guest Column
Jeff Roberts

How many of you watched the Monica interview on 20/20 last Wednesday? Shame on you. Of all the things you could be doing with your life, like feeding the hungry, saving the environment, or maybe even studying, you spent two hours gawking at the most famous sex-starved tramp in America interviewing Monica Lewinsky. (Just kidding, Barbara.) But seriously, I am disgusted that any of you would take valuable time out of your Wednesday to watch that garbage. I personally didn’t watch it; I had much better things to do that evening. So I taped it and watched it on Friday when I didn’t have any work left to do. It was great.

Any of you who didn’t eventually see this thing really missed out. It was some of the best comedy that I’ve ever seen on TV. How could Barbara Walters not fall out of her chair when Monica was describing the “push and pull” of her relationship with Clinton? And when they were talking about the allegations the White House had made that Lewinsky was a stalker, Barbara delivered the line, “Bill Clinton deliberately smeared you,” without as much as a smirk! Then there was that innocent puppy-dog look she had on her face when she was pretending she didn’t know anything about phone sex. She tried awfully hard to get Monica to talk about masturbation, but just couldn’t get there. It was a good try anyway, Barb, and the look on Monica’s face as she froze while trying to come up with a decent answer was well worth the effort. So was Walters’ wonderfully timed finishing line, “I think I understand.” Walters really deserves an Emmy.

That’s not to say it was all her, though. Barbara’s straight lines would have been pointless without Monica’s ridiculously school-girlish description of her relationship. Discussions of how their flirting was “like a dance” which included flashing your partner your underwear was stuff that comedy writers couldn’t do in their wildest dreams. I really think these two might be the biggest team since Abbott and Costello. And the only prop they need is a box of tissues.

Okay, so I understand that some people may be a little bit upset that we’re living in a world of infotainment. Sure, I suppose people could be paying attention to more important things, things going on in those many parts of the world where people have real problems. I really do wish Americans would do so. But I don’t see any reason why they have to. People have their own problems to deal with. In America, these problems might seem to be on a much smaller scale than they are in other places, but they’re still problems. It would be great if there were a way for everyone to help each other out with their problems, and there are many people who can and do. But if people who have their own problems want to just take some time and laugh at other people’s problems for a while, so what? It’s hard for people to laugh when there are children starving in developing countries, but it’s easy to laugh when some guy is caught getting his jollies with a 21-year old intern. Even when it’s the Leader of the Free World.

I commend those few of you who decided to watch CNN or read the paper instead of watching the Monica interview. But just as you need to take the world seriously, I need to laugh at it every once in a while. There may be more important things, but come on, a little Monica TV won’t hurt anyone.

Jeff Roberts is a member of the Class of 2002.