Saturday, April 07, 2007


"Talent Will Tell"









Most nights, I watch only the first three minutes of the evening news. Everyone knows the first three minutes are where it's at, and the other twenty-seven minutes are all weather teasers; superficial overviews of happenings nationally and internationally; the weather guy in an outside-the-studio weather garden ringing a bell because the night is, er, "clear as a bell"; hockey highlights; regional weather reports; weather-across-the-nation summaries; stories about how Gordy at Gordy's High-Hat Diner has been pleasing crowds for three decades with his well-fried hamburgers; and weather predictions for the following day, all capped off with some stilted banter between faux-jovial anchors ("That cold weather, Steve, that's kind of like 'brrrr, why do we live here, isn't it?'" "Don't you know it, Seth! I couldn't have said it better.")

Okay, I have to be honest here. I don't even think the first three minutes are worth tuning into, much less the other twenty-seven agonizing minutes. Local evening news--any evening news--is a bunch of overpackaged blather (Gordy and his burgers notwithstanding).

But sometimes I tune in, just to see if Dick Cheney's shot anyone that day.

And occasionally, even if Cheney has kept his finger off the trigger and his hands off George Bush's marionette strings, the evening news coughs up a goodie. For the last four years here in Duluth, those goodies have come from one source, a baby-faced newbie reporter-cum-anchor named Edward Moody.

My relationship with Edward started when he, a fresh graduate from some Kansas university, landed a job "here in the Northland." For his first assignment, his mettle was tested when studio heads packaged his lithe frame into a huge parka and stationed him, in the middle of a severe ice storm with hurricane-force winds, out on the most blustery corner in our beloved hamlet of Frigidville. For many greenhorn reporters, this would have been a moment with which they would not have reckoned at all well. Many unseasoned reporters would have watched their frozen fingers snap off, one by one, blowing away in the tempest, and decided, "Mom, Dad, I'm coming home to live in the basement. My blogging will keep me out of trouble; I promise."

But not Edward. Nae, Edward fluffed his parka, clung to the microphone with every frozen finger still dangling from his paw, and shouted to the camera with an enthusiasm bordering on glee: "This is Edward Moody, coming to you from the Coppertop Church, where small children are flying by my head, their bodies encased in ice! You can hear faint splashes as their bodies reach the lake and are tossed in!! Even better, cars all around me are skidding into light poles, but luckily their frames are buffered by the two inches of ice coating their exteriors. Indeed, this is no night for man, beast, or daycare to venture out!!!!"

Then he winked, turned a cartwheel right there in the church parking lot, and wrapped it all up by doing jazz hands after tossing a baton twenty feet into the air (not that he caught it; the baton was found the next day embedded into the side of the Positively Third Street Bakery, where it had narrowly missed decapitating a worker who was rolling out challah dough).

In short, Edward breathed passion and fire into that ice storm, melting hearts around the city.

The next day, I sent in my registration and dues for the as-yet-nonexistent Edward Moody Fan Club. It's a great club to be a part of, since there are no meetings or officers. We do nothing but tune into the universal vibe that is Edward. And we don't even have to watch the news to feel that. It just thrums amongst the stars.

After such an auspicious start, his natural talent and boyish enthusiasm fast-tracked him to a job as weekend and morning anchor. More than anything, the populace of Duluth has been eager to see him grow facial hair and hear his voice change. We've folded the lad unto our bosom, and isn't he turning out nicely?

So you can imagine how exponentially my affection grew a few months ago when I staggered down to the television one morning at 6:15, turning it on as I grappled about for a Backyardigans DVD that might sedate the Wee Niblet and tamp down his natural energies until at least sunrise, only to find Edward already in the studio, dapper in his usual sartorial splendor, presiding over the morning news.

I stood up a little straighter and ran a hand through my tousled hair, discreetly testing my breath in the palm of my hand (Verdict? Nasty.). Averting my mouth from the television, I watched peripherally, as Edward put his own stamp on morning anchoring.

At the end of the broadcast, Edward suddenly departed from reading the teleprompter, acting initially as though he was launching into some wooden repartee with the weather guy:

"It was my birthday yesterday, you know, Todd."

"Oh, well, happ--"

"And you know, Todd, I was feeling a little down..." [editor's note: It's hard to be a person of color here in Honkeytown, not to mention young and, I speculate, gay...so don't go getting the idea that feeling depressed is a usual thing for Edward. Don't. He's fine. He just had ONE hard day, all right?]

"Geez, Edward, that's too bad. But you know, we at the station all wish you a happ--"

"And so here's the thing, Todd. I went up to the mall..." [another editor's note: Bad idea, Edward. The mall never made anyone feel better, even if they got a Cinnabon. That thing goes to the hips for a lifetime and is the stuff of regret.]

"Wow, that's great, Edward. The mall is a great place to see some weather, which we now need to wrap up..."

"And after I'd walked around for awhile--feeling a little mopey, I'll admit--I headed out to the parking lot."

"Wow. Now we really do need to just recap the weather. Tomorrow we'll see..."

"And when I was in the parking lot, a woman drove by and recognized me. She stopped and rolled down her window to tell me that she's a fan and how much she likes the broadcast..." [editor's note: How could she not? It's EDWARD, and he is possessed of a natural charisma the likes of which Bill Clinton only aspires to] "...and then she started telling me about how watching our show has really helped get her through some hard times."

"Sure enough, people have hard times in all kinds of weather, don't they, Edward? And if I could just go into some of that NOW..."

"So I listened to her tell me about her thirteen-month-old son and how he'd been really having a really hard time because he'd needed a series of eye surgeries..." [editor's note: I don't have a thirteen-month-old, already. And no eye surgeries. I wasn't at the mall that day. Sure, one time I ran into Edward at the grocery store and mauled him near the butter, asking him, "So who *does* choose your on-air clothes? Because you are always so turned out." But, swearsies, that was not me at the mall that day.] "...and she was just telling me how difficult the last year has been for her and how she really appreciated the brightness I'd brought into her mornings..."

"That's really interesting, Edward. We're just about out of time here, so quickly, let me just warn..."

"And after I thanked her for her kind words, I really had a moment there. I know we're about out of time, Todd, but it really hit me there in the parking lot that no matter how bad you think you've got it, there's always someone else who has it worse...." [editor's note: I'm sure the hard-times woman felt really good about herself when she watched you say that, Edward. But we can forgive you one gauche misstep. You're young, after all, and compassion comes in baby steps.] "...and so I needed to buck up and realize that I should just be appreciating what I have. Now, Todd, I know I've used up your time here, but we've got to sign out now. This is Edward Moody, along with Todd Hansen, hoping you have a good day."

As the cameras pulled back, Todd's body language remained agitated--after all, he hadn't finished off his broadcast with the much-needed thirteenth reminder to "grab an umbrella before heading out"--while Edward's face softened into misty dreaminess as he further mused on the lessons of his birthday.

The following week, swear to Cronkite, Todd Nelson announced that he would be switching stations and becoming the weather dude for a new FOX nightly news broadcast.

My forecast for Todd in his new job? A cold front of completely scripted weather updates, sprinkled with showers of awkward banter alternating with deep sighs of opportunity-missed, topped off with patches of keening for the sunshine that is Edward "Keepin' It Real" Moody.


28 comments:

Hammer said...

The guy has guts, hope he didn't mess up his career too badly.

Logophile said...

That sounds like a news anchor who MIGHT be worth watching.
Should have known you'd find him!
What the heck is he does over THERE??

Infinitesimal said...

Well he better watch out, if they are letting 12 year olds o the news, looks like GIRL may be in line for his job in about 5 years.


just kidding just kidding, I KNOW he is really 14.

PS that grey box is still there. What is up with that? the hidden text is driving me crazy, it's like... top shelf porn or something. I NEED to read it.

lime said...

dang! i may need to move to duluth just so i can enjoy this guy! i tell you what, i'll bring our weather guy who does some of the most bizarre and unscripted forecasts ever. i think he'd be a good match for your anchor.
deal?

Em said...

WOW! I was completely taken in by your story. What a guy! So rare to find talent and real charisma like that. In the photo, he looks young enough to be going to the high school prom! And yet his maturity far outstretches his youthful looks. I hope you get to watch him for many years to come!

Lee said...

The cardboard cut out news is no place for real human stories, unless they happened to have a camera and mike. What was that guy thinking?

Balou said...

You crack me up! (Easter egg humor) Has Duluth TV actually snagged a good one? I'll have to check him out next time I'm at the in-laws. You gave me great visuals! Inspired me... http://tinyurl.com/3yrcbu

Jocelyn said...

Hammer--Edward remains the apple of Duluth's eye. Okay, maybe just my eye. But still.

Logophile--He's warming hearts over here. Okay, maybe just mine. But still.

Infini--Heehee. My dream come true would be Girl and Edward co-anchoring in about 5 years. Yea, he's about 14. Oh, and I have no idea about the grey box...I got all worried when I typed "reporter-cum-anchor," thinking it would be again wrongly construed as something pornographic.

Lime--I would luurve to see your weather guy. We have one good weathe dude in this town; he brings intelligence to his dumn comedic comments, which is such a rarity.

Em--Well, he's kind of a youngster still, but it's been fun to watch him grow up.

Lee--It's that kind of golden heart...the willingness to write his own script...that makes him MY EDWARD.

Balou--Your drawing made my day. I hooted and wished again you'd drawn one of my tongue coming out of my husband's nostril.

oreneta said...

OK, I might even watch the news if I could get a newscaster like this.

Jazz said...

Damn, he looks 13... Are you sure he can legally be an anchor?

choochoo said...

Yikes, you have a ten year old anchorman over there? Now I feel like I'm underachieving *sigh*

furiousBall said...

I would watch that guy with a tenacity unforeseen by mankind. Duluth, you stay classy...

Mother of Invention said...

Wow, a person with a real heart and feelings and everything! They'd better hang on to him!
("If they only had a brain!!")

Diana said...

I would watch the news if I could watch someone like him. Guess I'll either have to quit my job and leave my family and move up there or just keep not watching the horrible news down here.

Banter gives me hives.

david santos said...

Thanks for you work Have a good week.

Jill said...

Doesn't look like Edward has hit puberty yet. Wonder if he'll maintain his spunky attitude after a couple of years of acne and heartache...

Claire said...

I wonder what ever made Edward want to work in Duluth? I guess he considers it to be dues paying time. He needs a job in cali!

Dorky Dad said...

You last three minutes longer with television newscasts than I do. I can't stand them. I've ruined too many TVs with bricks to allow myself to watch anymore.

SaM-GiRL said...

wow.....he sounds like a guy with balls.... nice blog. had fun reading it.

Glamourpuss said...

He looks about twelve...

But yes, I am always astounded at how utterly vacuous US 'news' broadcasts are.

How do you ever know what's really going on in the world?

Puss

ldbug said...

Good post!!! I had so much fun reading it and wish we had our own Edward here..*sigh* :-)

actonbell said...

Edward sounds fabulous. I hope you get to keep him:)
Great post!

velvet girl said...

He sounds like someone to tune into the local broadcast for! I can't stand, I repeat, can't stand TV news so I get my news from Yahoo News and The Economist (talk about the short list, eh?).

Sounds like a great guy. Is it just me or does the picture look like they photoshopped a twelve year old's head onto a grown man's body? Or is it like David Byrne's suit in Stop Making Sense?

Princess Pointful said...

Wow, a news anchor who stands out from the bunch. Lovely :).

Your introductory comments reminded me of the surest sign of a slow day...

"Well, Linda, a local businessman got a very special visitor today.. a monkey!"

Top cat said...

What a great story jocelyn and told wonderfully by none other than YOU!
tc

frannie said...

good for Edward! I am now a member of the fan club--- even though I don't get to watch him.

Diesel said...

The difference between me and Edward is that I would do that just to f*ck with Todd. I'd make the whole thing up if I had to.

Great story, as always, Jocelyn. And not that you need me to tell you, but you are, of course, a finalist in my caption contest.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I love this post!! You are a writing marvel.

And Edward is adorable. I love a man who can't keep his mouth shut. Do you think he needs to be adopted while he finishes school?

The lady he was talking about probably wasn't offended by his rather gauche comment about somebody having it worse. She told him her story, and I'd think she was thrilled to be mentioned by her hero.

So, you're going to be getting up earlier now, eh?