'The Five': The Fox News Channel's most delightfully crazy show

Imagine my surprise last Friday when I turned on my favorite guilty pleasure — Fox News’ The Five, its five-person, 5 p.m. five-days-a-week replacement for the full-fathom-five insanity of Glenn Beck — and saw little ol’ me getting slammed by the panel. There on screen was the cover of the new Muppetastic Entertainment Weekly alongside a pic of my ugly mug, as one of the Five, Greg Gutfeld, criticized me for my review suggesting that last week’s South Park was slightly weaker than some of its recent, sterling efforts.

My point was that South Park‘s irreverent spray splattered both the Occupy Wall Street protestors and the corporations they protest with such atypical even-handedness, you couldn’t tell who Matt Stone and Trey Parker were critiquing, rare for the kings of sledgehammer subtlety. But of course, this being Fox News, Gutfeld interpreted my review as a slam because the episode didn’t line up with my supposedly liberal politics. Gutfeld — who until The Five had been consigned to the wee hours of the morning where he gibbers through his dank-basement frat-party called Red Eye — muttered that I was a “toady.” Being called a “toady” by Greg Gutfeld is like being called “vulgar” by Snooki.

The Five consists, on most days, of Gutfeld; burly Eric Bolling (who always looks to me like the grown-up version of Spanky, president of the He-Man Women Hater’s Club); former White House press secretary, the devilishly prim Dana Perino; that huggable grizzly bear in suspenders Bob Beckel, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is required to re-cross her ostentatiously framed legs during each commercial break with clockwork regularity, to keep young boys just home from after-school sports watching closely.

Four out of The Five deliver the daily Fox News talking-points with a spontaneous alacrity missing from their ventriloquist-dummy colleagues in the morning on Fox and Friends, and with more of a sense of humor than angry prime-time heavy-weights like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Beckel, the fifth-Beatle Fiver, was hired to be one of the channel’s straw-man liberals but doubtless shocked everyone by having, unlike Alan Colmes and Juan Williams, strong opinions he articulates with bullish brio.

But really what comes across is the feeling that, unlike so much of what we see on squawky news talk shows, The Five five enjoy each other’s company — they squabble because they’re one big happy family, you know? The result is a delightfully nutty show with an undercurrent of ragin’ crazy.

Thanks for the plug, dudes.

Twitter: @kentucker

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