Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Great Days Are Over, But the Love Remains

We were surprised to learn of the fancy-pants journalism award recently bestowed upon the executive editor of our hometown newspaper until we recalled that under his leadership the daily implemented one of the most exciting innovations on today’s media landscape, one that has stanched the loss of subscribers and advertising and reinvigorated the entire enterprise.

As you probably guessed we’re speaking of the paper’s “Relationships With Whit” column, which debuted to much fanfare back in [whenever it was] but which has since been relegated to a small, anonymous corner of the butt-end of the paper’s generally substance-free Star section. We confess that we haven’t been a faithful reader since … well, since the first column … but on Sunday past we arose way too early (the time change must discombobulate our internal rhythms) and drank too much coffee and therefore were able to spend more than the usual 12 to 14 minutes (not including coupon-clipping) that we devote to being reminded how uninteresting the Sunday edition of a major metropolitan newspaper can be. Thus did our lonely eye turn to Whit, whose mug shot accompanying her column projects the sort of predatorily feral look that we seek when pursuing structured transactions under the alias Client No. 9.

Headlined ”The Real Star of the Show,” Whit’s column seemed to be a valedictory for her recently ended two-year tenure as host of a show on Channel 11 called Great Day Houston. We’re sorry to relate that we never had the opportunity to watch Whit on Great Day Houston, an omission we deeply regret after reading her tribute to her TV co-workers:
For the past two years, there has been a small group of remarkable people who work on changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of you right here in Houston.
Let’s see: there’s 4 million or so TV-ready souls in the Channel 11 viewing area, and the audience for Great Day Houston is but a teensy-tiny percentage of that number, and … hell, we’re too drunk to do the math, but needless to say those are Osteen-like stats when it comes changing lives. How did Whit & Co. do this? What were the good works? Is it enough to get them into heaven when it’s time to go knock-knock-knockin’ on the door? Let’s see:
To start, they've happily married off a couple of couples, given away two half-million-dollar homes, a new car, a Rolex watch, diamond necklaces and rings, plus trips to Hawaii, Mexico and Vegas … helped droves of women lose hundreds of pounds while teaching them how to live healthy and happy lives … made over throngs of moms, dads, teens and 'tweens in need. … worked tirelessly to raise money and awareness to help fight the battles of breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, lupus and autism…. joined with community groups to help save children from sexual predators and gave parents the tools, knowledge and resources to help their children live safe, alcohol- and drug-free futures …
… sent dozens of young girls to prom as if they were rock stars, with new dresses, shoes, hair, makeup and limo rides … introduced Houston to all types of music and taught the two-step, salsa, square and ballroom dancing … showing Houstonians how to sing, skate, ski, sew, golf, garden and grill … roped in all sorts of animals from horses, cows and goats to snakes, lemurs, lizards, ferrets and frogs … From supermodels and superstars to super-moms, hundreds of Houstonians have strutted their stuff after this group got hold of them.
And so on.

If only we’d known, we would have been watching Great Day Houston and strutting our stuff against autism and tween obesity instead of being so goddamn down all the time. But now it’s too late: Whit is gone, at least from the tube (hopefully the newspaper gig’s not ending, too), and we never felt the love:
When I walked through those doors to a studio overflowing with the people whom I have grown to love and peered into those cameras to say goodbye to the people who have grown to love me, it was both exhilarating and excruciating. Moving on and saying goodbye always is.

But as the saying goes, "The show must go on." And it will, no matter who walks through those doors as your new host, looks into those cameras, works with those wonderful people or wishes you a great day, Houston. It's apparent to all who the real star of the show is: It's you, Houston.

Thank you.
No, thank you, babe. And remember: our door is always open, and you won’t need a key.

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