This Might Be the Most Awkward Local Newscast of All Time

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This Might Be the Most Awkward Local Newscast of All Time

We have to save local journalism. Yes, it brings the news. Yes, it delivers a sometimes reliable weather forecast for your tri-county area. But most importantly, every once in a while it releases a shooting star of awkwardness that captures just how painstakingly cringeworthy live television can be.

In this most recent edition of puff-story-gone-wrong, KUSI-San Diego sent its meteorologist and local telethon host Dave Scott to report on the Inflatable Run and Festival. Honestly, it sounds like you’re begging for a broken ankle, but at the end of the three-minute segment, a broken ankle sounds like a good consolation prize.

Mr. Wacky, roll the tape.

Woof. Let’s break this down. God knows we have the time.

This whole thing starts with Scott going for an unconventional opening angle: a double entendre on the word “inflation.” A little bit high-brow for your general local news viewer, but I respect the ambition. He asks everyone (and no one in particular), “Is inflation in our world a good thing or not a good thing?” And just like a parent teaching their least favorite child to ride a bike, his co-anchors let him fall on his face.

With absolutely no support from anyone back at the studio or on-site, he does what any veteran of live television would do: Make. It. Work.

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He pivots, assuring us that inflation is good, and then tells this unnamed group of people behind him to give themselves a hand. They reluctantly agree. Then Scott, who is a real Barbara Walters of poorly worded questions, swings over and asks a volunteer, “What kind of fun do you think you’re going to have today?” He gets several answers including: helping, bouncing, and “I didn’t hear the question.” None of which describe fun.

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With all that helping and bouncing fun available, viewers might be thinking, “Well, damn. I was going to spend my day watching House Hunters, but I might want in on this!” You think you might get some pertinent details or something, but no. Scott says that to get the answer, they’ll need to do a chant that goes, “Abracadabra, 1-2-3!” Cue Mr. Wacky!

Oh wait, the chant’s not over. Mr. Wacky goes away. The chant continues, “Now it’s time to see what we see!” Mr. Wacky returns!

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Honestly, Mr. Wacky is the best thing that could have happened to Dave Scott. He is this half-laundry-hamper-half-human masquerading as a inflatable man that you might see at a used Toyota dealership. Most importantly, he has talking points.

But instead of embracing this lifeline though, Scott tries again, asking, “Now does that mean that everybody here becomes an inflatable today?” Come on, Dave. Mr. Wacky is trying, and you’re promising this crowd of lukewarm bystanders the impossible.

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Realizing that he’s leveraged this media appearance for all its worth, Mr. Wacky steals the show again and encourages everyone to do their best Mr. Wacky dance. Scott joins in, because what else is there to lose?

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You have to give it to Mr. Wacky for trying to step up to that inflatable plate, but he had his work cut out for him. Dave Scott has made a sport out of treating interviews like a soul-crushing game of taboo. We’ll leave you with his report from the Sunroad Boat Show. Come on, Dave.

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