It's so annoying to feel forced into it! She's standing up and wearing a weird white jacket buttoned conspicuously at the waist as if to argue with those who said she'd been photoshopped into semi-svelteness. Now, she's sitting down, but in kind of a half standing position in front of a low desk, to give us more of a view of her torso. She's got a special white microphone to blend in with that white lapel. The first few stories are military, as if they need to drive it home that a woman can cover the manly topics.
Now she's interviewing Tom Friedman, who seems to really be trying to help by speaking extra quickly and smiling, beaming at Katie. They've got two armchairs angled together, with just enough room for Katie's bare, sinewy crossed legs.
The teaser going into the break is about gas prices, and we see the image of a gas pump nozzle, slowly rising, rather lewdly, I have to say, as if CBS felt the need to provide -- albeit symbolically -- the missing phallus.
After the break, there's an aggressively edited segment on oil. Lots of color and graphics and moving cameras and Shell logos gliding through space and guys yammering about hurricanes and whatnot.
Next, there's a segment called "freeSpeech." Not "free speech" or "Free Speech" or "freespeech" or Freespeech." "freeSpeech." Get it right. And it's Morgan Spurlock, fast talking, wearing a purple striped shirt and a purple paisley tie, and he's saying civil discourse, it's important. Okay, Mr. Spurlock, if you could, please don't wear that shirt and tie again.
Now the show veers into the female territory we were so worried about. That "freeSpeech" thing seemed to be the bridge. They're showing the Vanity Fair cover with the photo of the spawn of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. The baby's name is Suri, and Katie -- Couric -- does the pun "Yes, sirree."
After the break, Couric introduces a "picture perfect idea" that combines travel scenery, kids -- orphans! -- and art. You have got to be kidding me. The artist is from Madison, Wisconsin, so I should be soft on this, but I'm not. Wait, this guy doesn't paint the portraits for the orphans. He gets American school kids to paint pictures of photographs of orphans. We're told the painters form a real connection as they stare at the photos, as is necessary in order to do the paintings. We're informed that staring into the eyes has a very special effect. What glop! And the privileged painter and the orphan paintee sometimes even become penpals. Arrgggghhhhh... I'm in pain from this one.
Now, Katie tells us coyly that she just can't figure out what her sign-off line should be. She shows clips of various real and fictional newsguys signing off and then tries to enlist us in the fun of suggesting sign-off lines. "Log on to our website," she says. Log on. When you go to a website, are you "logging on"? See, I'm ready to be irked by anything! Well, let's go over there -- log on over there -- and see whether people are suggesting insulting sign-offs, which is what I would expect, which is one reason it's such a bad idea.
But why did they think it was a good idea? It's like a schoolteacher's "hands-on" assignment. Ooh, she wants to include us. It's so feminine to want everyone to feel included. But how about having an identity instead of asking us to supply one or offering to please us with whatever we want? You couldn't even write a sign-off line or, more aptly, you had to use the sign-off gimmick to make it seem as though this is some new interactive version of the news? What a grand step forward for women!
Checking the website, I see the suggestions aren't openly displayed, and you've got to provide lots of info to make the suggestion. So there won't be any fun and games there.
IN THE COMMENTS: Among other things, readers are suggesting sign-off lines. My favorite, by johnstodderinexile, is "This is Katie Couric, and I can't wait to read what you blogged about me."