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Sometimes You Feel Like a Boob... Sometimes You Don't

About 18 minutes into the premiere of MTV's brand new Jenny McCarthy Show, the former Playboy Playmate centerfold turned former Singled Out co-host turned current overexposed celebrity cavorts on stage with a triad of puppets. She's merrily dancing around and mugging for the camera and singing a song about ice cream... as the puppets stare, puppety-mouths agape, at Miss McCarthy's prodigious hooters.

I think this sketch says more about Jenny McCarthy's career than she realizes.

Giving Jenny McCarthy's new sketch comedy opus my decidedly jaundiced look-see was not high on my list of priorities last Wednesday evening. There were some books I needed to finish reading and some projects around the house that needed to be done, and of course, my work with orphans. But TeeVee has a way of grabbing you by the shoulders, strapping you into the Barcalounger and forcing you to watch the inevitable six-car-pileup unfold within your 64-channel universe -- especially when that pileup involves a lovely but vacuous blonde whose only noticeable talent was having the good sense to disrobe when one of Hef's shutterbugs came a-calling.

Sometimes I worry about getting in a rut. "Oh, that Michaels character," people probably mumble to themselves, because I can't imagine people not spending every waking hour puzzling over the wonderment that is me. "He's always tearing down instead of building up. He's always laying one of his negativity trips on the rest of us. I bet he sat down to watch The Jenny McCarthy Show with every intention of heaping scorn and abuse upon this poor, misunderstood Playmate. Who went and put a bug up his ass?"

Well, allow me to retort. I bear no particular ill will toward the lovely Miss McCarthy. I recognize that she is a child of God, with hopes and dreams and feelings like the rest of us. I don't begrudge her one iota of her fame, even if it's entirely based on the concept of full-frontal nudity. America has pressed Jenny McCarthy (and her bosom) to its bosom, and if I could, I would lead the ticker tape parade for her.

That being said, her crap-ass little show is awful. Astonishingly awful. Awful even by the microscopic standards of MTV.

If professional grumpuses like Robert Bork are correct, and America is nothing more than a cesspool of dehumanizing pop culture keeping us addled and stupid until the day that God, in His mercy, decides to unleash a righteous and deserved ass-kicking of Sodom-like proportions, then consider MTV in general and The Jenny McCarthy Show in particular as exhibit A in the case of God v. Western Civilization.

MTV has given us the preening banality of The Real World, the simpering vacuity of House of Style, the unctuous pointlessness of Road Rules, and heaping helpings of Evil in the form of the thrice-damned Kennedy. And now, the diuretic aperitif of dreadfulness that is The Jenny McCarthy Show. The sketches are spine-chilling. The jokes fall flat. To call the writing sophomoric would be an insult to sophomores, many of whom make valuable contributions to our nation's infrastructure. Godawful from the get-go, The Jenny McCarthy Show teeters from the first sketch to the final credits without one minute of respite from the full-frontal assault of crap.

Which wouldn't be so bad in and of itself. Lots of people make lots of crummy TV shows every day -- from respected actors like Alan Arkin to poor, misguided punks like Joey Lawrence to alleged human beings like Pauly Shore. And no one bothers to figuratively kick sand in their faces... except for that twit Pauly, who, frankly, is just begging for abuse. Why loose our venom on Jenny McCarthy? Why ridicule her when an angry God is clearly more equipped to do a much better job at it? Why kick a poor centerfold when she's down?

I'll tell you why -- because while it's one thing to churn out the televised equivalent of chicken shit, it's quite another to pretend like it's chicken salad. Jenny and her cohorts are apparently laboring under the misconception that their interminable skits, their obvious punch lines and their labored wackiness is the apogee of comedic achievement.

How do I know this? Because MTV, in a display of self- congratulation not seen since Michael Jackson Napoleon-esquely crowned himself the King of Pop, preceded the premiere of The Jenny McCarthy Show with a 30-minute documentary testifying as to the wonder of Jenny.

In the video, Jenny explains to us that she's more than just a pretty face, that beneath all that hair and make-up and cleavage beats the heart of an aspiring comedienne. And Jenny's co-workers also bear witness that she's just the gol-darn funniest person they've ever met and that she's such a real, warm, giving lass, and no, they aren't just saying that because their near-term employment depends on America buying the concept of Playboy bunny as FunnyGal.

"There are a lot of pretty girls out here," Jenny says, explaining how she landed that first Playboy gig. "So I wanted to show them a different side of my personality. The South Side of Chicago side of my personality."

What does that mean? She threatened to break the Playboy editors' legs if they didn't put her in the magazine? She loaned them money and then charged them usurious interest rates? She tracked down a union delegate who turned state's evidence before a grand jury and had him whacked as a warning to others?

No, in all likelihood, it meant that Jenny made the same wacky faces that have made her famous (well... that made her famous after her gravity-defying snoobs pulled off the same feat...). And during the Jenny McCarthy show, we get those faces in abundance... Jenny rolling her eyes, Jenny mugging for the camera, Jenny sticking out her tongue, Jenny picking her nose and smelling her armpit and burping like a longshoreman to the point where I was actually praying that the gaffer would drop a boom mike on her skull, thereby putting an end to everyone's misery.

All you need to know about the creative muses guiding The Jenny McCarthy Show is revealed during the program's first sketch. Jenny is cast against type as a scatterbrained girl named Jenny who mugs for the camera a lot and just can't seem to remember what she had for lunch. So Jenny sticks her finger down her throat, vomits all over the table in glorious technicolor and proceeds to pick through her chunder.

This skit was actually more horrifying than it sounds.

What can you really do after witnessing that? Pray for a quick and merciful ending? Hold out in the hope that Jenny will dance with the gal that brung her and get naked? Cross your fingers that MTV will show rare sense and yank the show off the air before permanent damage can be done to our nation's impressionable young people?

"I don't know what I would do if couldn't be on camera," Jenny confides to the uncaring home viewer. "I guess I would just die."

Better start writing up the eulogy, sweetheart.

But this is the Clinton era -- the era in which we must reach out across the breach to bridge the gap, where our only enemy is inaction, where nothing big ever came from being small. And so in all fairness, I must confess that there one was sketch that made me chuckle out loud, no mean feat, mind you. The skit was about two inept kidnappers trying to relay instructions about a ransom drop and winding up having to reschedule their entire crime. It was witty, it was solidly written, and not coincidentally, it was the only sketch that Jenny did not appear in.

I think this says more about Jenny McCarthy's career than she realizes.


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