What’s not to love about a chorus of adorable Staten Island schoolchildren rounding out the Oscars with a rousing rendition of “Over the Rainbow”?
Plenty, if you’re a certain curmudgeonly morning television commentator. On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday, Andy Cohen, Bravo’s senior vice president of original programming and development, smilingly delivered a withering critique of the T-shirted fifth graders from Public School 22 who swayed and head-tilted their ways into a nation’s hearts Sunday night.
The balloon-puncturing begins above around 3:32, when, after a few minutes of banter about the relative merits of Charlie Sheen and Muammar el-Qaddafi and the like, a “Morning Joe” host, Willie Geist, asks Mr. Cohen to expound on his “lowlight of the night.”
After professing his love for public-school children, Mr. Cohen doffs his gloves. “There was a thing called ‘Up With People’ in the ’70s or ’80s. Here’s what: Oscar night is not about Up With People. Like, I don’t need to see that. It was just bad. It was just awful. It was horrible.”
As the hosts giggle into their hands, Mr. Cohen elaborates.
A public school chorus singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I literally — if I wasn’t going to go out to some parties I would have slit ’em right then. It was the worst. I was looking for a knife to stick in my eyes, it was so terrible.
And what, Joe Scarborough asks, did a man who has made millions off prurient interest in the publicly private lives of pampered housewives find “objectionable about these little cute children singing ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’?”
“Not the time,” Mr. Cohen replies. “Everything has its time and place. The end of the Oscars is — we don’t want to see this. You just ruined everything.”
And here we’d been thinking it was the lame speeches, suspenselessness and general interminability of the Oscars that ruined everything. Just goes to show.
Readers, here are the children below. Tell us, was their performance a welcome break from the usual Oscar fare? A descent into a bottomless bowl of saccharine? Other? Please vote.