Variety has a hotly anticipated review up on their main (subscription only) page. No, it’s not The Da Vinci Code, although that’s up there too. (“A stodgy, grim thing,” declares Todd McCarthy.) It’s William Triplett’s review of Tony Snow at the White House, the government’s new skein starring ex-Fox News commentator Tony Snow.
Here’s Triplett’s lede:
In the often surreal world of the televised press briefing, the media don’t stand a chance against a nice guy, and judging by his first performance, new White House press secretary Tony Snow may be mercilessly nice. Armed with a dapper suit and winning smile, Snow appeared as a confident yet supremely human spokesman for the Bush administration. Hey, he even provided some direct answers. His seemingly natural urbanity is bound to play better with voters than with the White House reporters, who often have to get ugly to extract info. But whether nice-guyism ultimately translates into political box office — like better credibility — remains to be seen.
Triplett then critiques elements of Snow’s pilot episode, which included the news spokemen’s discussion of personal tragedy: “In addition, the press may have cut him some slack because when the subject of his recent bout with cancer came up, he briefly lost composure, his voice catching and eyes appearing to water. ‘I feel that every day is a blessing,’ he uttered softly.”
The final verdict:
Since the White House press briefing bears more than a passing resemblance to reality TV, “Tony Snow at the White House” may be as real as it gets. It is, at the outset, certainly likeable. Is it believable? Too early in the season to tell.