“The Onion News Network” leaves me in tears.
Not a lot of anything makes me laugh as hard or as frequently as IFC’s inspired new send-up does.
The often very silly but superbly crafted parody, whose DNA much more closely resembles “Kentucky Fried Movie” than “The Daily Show,” is a marvel. I’ll even say it compares not unfavorably to the work of the Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker team (which crafted KFM before it moved on to “Airplane!” and “The Naked Gun”) at the height of its considerable powers.
A pretty teen murderer, concern about an abandoned tire, and time travelers determined to assassinate Suri Cruise are among the subjects tackled.
Another gag examines a new poll that reveals a growing number of Americans find themselves horrified by the way their perverse curiosity is motivating them to support a Sarah Palin presidential bid. “I’ve never been a fan of horrible women,” chrips anchor Brooke Alvarez (played by hot actress and former real-life Fox News anchor Suzanne Sena), “but I will be watching.”
If the premises don’t seem ground-breaking, viewers will discover they are handled with extraordinary wit and precision in an inordinate number of series’ many segments. Somebody involved with writing this show really knows what he or she is doing (and seems certain to mine a mint in the big-screen trade at some point).
It helps a bit that the show airs on cable’s IFC, which has zero qualms about serving up uncensored TV-MA material.
Don't miss this one.
… The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are both personality-driven … ONN is darker and more deadpan, an immersive satire that, much like the Onion's Web and print editions, skewers the medium's form above all. …
Has it seemed to you lately that the fake-news business has run out of gas? That Jon Stewart and certainly “Weekend Update” on “Saturday Night Live” have grown predictable, even a little desperate? Hang on; there’s a jump-start coming. The real question is whether your brain can handle the surge. “Onion News Network,” a flashy phony news show from The Onion’s humor factory, makes its debut on IFC on Friday night, and it quickly reveals those forerunners to be sluggish by comparison. … unlike with the written wisecracks on, say, “The Colbert Report,” the ONN folks don’t wait around to make sure you caught the joke. It’s as if they’re taunting you: “Maybe you should’ve TiVo’d it, pal.” This is news without mercy in another sense as well: Some of the humor is pretty harsh …
… clever reminders of just how ridiculous TV news can be, as they exaggerate all the conventions we take for granted. … unlike “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,’’ “The Colbert Report,’’ and “Saturday Night Live,’’ these shows are not reporting real news and then goofing on it. The Onion shows are the fakest of fake news TV outlets, interested primarily in laughing at the form that news coverage takes more than the substance of the news. The Onion writers aren’t bent on being timely so much as reminding us that those endless storm-watches (on “ONN,’’ they’re labeled “Snowlocaust’’) are scams and that polls (like the one on “ONN’’ about who would vote for Sarah Palin for president) are malleable. …
… delightfully deadpan … Admittedly, "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" already have this terrain pretty well covered, but given how rare good satire is, there's always room for more.
10 p.m. Friday. IFC.