Entertainment

Holy Lord-a-Leaping, Keith Olbermann! 2010’s top 10 ‘Countdown’ moments: We watch, because we’re paid to

Ruth Graham Contributor

I’ve been watching “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” regularly since January of 2010. Please, don’t pity me, it only makes it worse. And it’s been quite an entertaining year! Here are my picks for the Top 10 Keith Olbermann Moments of 2010.

1. November: Olbermann suspended “indefinitely” by MSNBC bosses after making undisclosed donations to Democratic candidates, including on to Congressman Raul Grijalva on the very day Grijalva appeared on “Countdown.” The break ends up lasting for two shows.

2. January: In the first really spectacular example of a year of spectacular self-regard, Olbermann casually informs viewers: “You‘ll often hear Rachel Maddow and I lumped in together with Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ as the only truth-tellers in mainstream television.” Maybe he meant “you will” to mean it will happen in the future. Like, 2011 at the earliest?

3. June: Olbermann gives gossip magazine Us Weekly one of the awards for Worst Persons in the World because they slandered the name of actor Jason Bateman, who Olbermann considers a close personal friend. Bateman’s offense: Possibly cutting in line while waiting in line to buy an iPhone. Other people Keith has called “my friend” this year include Elizabeth Edwards, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher and announcer Nelson King, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. His dinner parties must be very strange.

4. November: Feud with Pat Sajak, just for the hell of it.

5 November: Olbermann suspends his nightly “Worst Persons in the World” segment in the wake of Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. Olbermann admits the segment’s “satire and whimsy [ed note: haven’t noticed these, but I’ll take his word for it] have gradually gotten lost in some anger, so in the spirit of the thing, as of right now, I am unilaterally suspending that segment with an eye towards discontinuing it.” The break ends up lasting for 17 days.

6. July: KeithOlbermann.com launches, and immediately becomes America’s best source of information about Keith Olbermann.

7. August: Olbermann was dropped from “Sunday Night Football” after MSNBC decided it was distracting him from his job on “Countdown.” The result: Olbermann able to focus all his energies on “Countdown.” It just goes to show, be careful what you wish for.

8. October: Publication of Keith Olbermann’s book, “Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans,” a hastily packaged collection of show transcripts of which one reviewer (OK, it was me) wrote: “If you thought it was fun listening to Olbermann tear apart a guy who wrote a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union Tribune back in November of 2008, just wait until you read a full transcript of the same tirade two years later!” (There I go, quoting myself! I’ve learned something from Olbermann after all.)  If you’re reading this before Christmas, it’s not too late to buy the book for a loved one you actually hate.

9. April: Olbermann launches “Fridays With Thurber,” in which he spends the last part of every Friday episode of “Countdown” reading from the work of American humorist James Thurber. Only a philistine would complain too strongly about this, but the question remains whether the tradition needs to go on indefinitely (he’s still doing it nine months later). There’s also the whether it makes sense in the context of “Countdown.” Wagner’s 15-hour Ring Cycle is a classic piece of opera, but I would question things if the producers of “Sesame Street” began playing 10-minute chunks of it at the end of every show.

10. December: Olbermann suspends his Twitter account indefinitely after progressive feminists rightly chastise him for a “Countdown” segment in which Michael Moore breezily dismissed two rape accusations against Julian Assange as “a bunch of hooey.” The break ends up lasting for three days.

With that, here’s wishing Keith Olbermann a 2011 filled with even more bile, bombast and braggadocio. Cheers!