Sarah Palin's New Show Debuts to Critical Groans

Viewers on Twitter, however, loved it

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On Thursday, Sarah Palin's show Real American Stories debuted on Fox. Largely a collection of inspirational stories following individuals throughout America, the show certainly didn't spark any controversy. In fact, the most common criticism appears to be that there simply wasn't much of a point: Real American Stories, say critics, was just some overscripted fluff. Then again, quite a few viewers loved it. Here's the roundup (and New York Magazine's show highlights below):

  • Show 'Canned,' Palin 'Scripted' The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley suggests the show probably disappointed those who were looking for Palin to show "her true spontaneous and unfettered self." Her verdict: "The stories were inspirational. The show was not."
  • Not Palin's Fault, but Production's argues New York Daily News' Richard Huff. "The studio part of the show," he decides, "was okay." He suggests having Palin "do the field interviews" as well so she's not as "disconnected" from the rest of the show.
  • Incoherent Optimism at Its Best The Washington Post's Hank Stuever offers the most extensive analysis. Remarking, as many do, on the "infotainment" feel of Real American Stories ("A commercial? News?"), he nevertheless finds it "sort of interesting to watch [Palin] do somethinn she's really good at: doling out warm fuzzies--emphasis on fuzzy." His explanation (and critique) of the string of dog-saves-boy, Marine-saves-comrade stories:
she is never more believable than in the land of nebulous platitude, hosting a show made up of curiously unrelated, seemingly freeze-dried profiles that all fit under the giant label of "inspiring." ... So for an hour she glommed on to some of her real Americans' realness and turned it all into something that is pointless to argue: America is great. People can do whatever they set their mind to because they are exceptional, because America is exceptional. The search continues for a tune that Palin and Fox News seem forever convinced goes under-sung.
  • Uncontroversial, at Least, observes New York Magazine's Josh Duboff, recalling the LL Cool drama leading up to the show's debut. He also remarks on Palin's incessant patriotism.
  • Hot Air Commenters' Mixed Reviews At the Hot Air open thread on the subject, one self-described Palin supporter calls the show "60 miles wide and 3 inches deep," and "unpresidential and potentially damaging to the campaign." The commenter continues to say the country needs "serious and contemplative intellectuals to run and defeat the Marxist nightmare," and this show didn't help. "What was she trying to accomplish by doing this show?" the commenter wonders. Another answers: "to associate her face/name with the virtues that America has traditionally stood for. Struggle and sacrifice; adapt, improvise, overcome ... Hopefully this will be a series that elevates the individual over the collective." A third points out that "it's her first show," and suggests critics "let the woman get her sea legs."
  • Twitter Love On Twitter, the hashtag #RealAmericanStories is a torrent of rave reviews. One tweeter summarizes the show as "the kind of show you want to save & re-watch if become cynical of people or need a lift. A+" Others comment on the individual stories, one calling one of the kids "adorable." Here and there, a few add that the show is a "smart move."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.