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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Ellen Degeneres Show — TV Review

Last week Ellen Degeneres won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Talk-Show host. While I always thought there was something off about the stand-up comic’s sitcom, there’s nothing “off” about The Ellen Degeneres Show, which is one of the funniest, most enjoyable things on television.

While every other talk-show seems hell bent on ramming society’s shortcomings and most disturbing aspects down the throats of viewers, Degeneres sticks to her theme song’s advice of “have a little fun today.” Literally dancing in the isle at the beginning of each show, she couples a quick wit with a warmth that would be heartbreaking if it were ever revealed as phony.

From crank calling viewers to involving them in trivia games, Degeneres connects with her audience as well as anyone. She’s also never afraid to make fun of herself, just last week having her personal trainer (the guy from Biggest Loser) on and admitting she cried after working too hard in their last session. I can’t imagine another host arm-wrestling with a famous guest (I forget who it was) and jumping on Rob Lowe’s back as they “skied” in front of a fake slope backdrop on a blue-screen. Yet, for Degeneres it was just another week.

Degeneres seems to genuinely like her fans, even bringing two audience members to the People’s Choice Awards. She has plenty of giveaways, and while I’m sure she’s not footing the bill, she does things without the harp music (unless she’s mocking it) and the river of tears. Even when touching moments present themselves, she’ll find humor in the moment instead of focusing on the drama.

I’d probably get more done in a day if I didn’t make a point to catch Ellen. But her humor while frequently reading viewer e-mail or her Wunnerful World of Web Videos or almost anything else she does, is more than worth making a point to watch.

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