On Wednesday, Americans got the "inevitable TV adaptation" of The Mueller Report, says Jen Chaney. And what they saw was a dud. "Mueller, a man with whom many Americans are best acquainted in the form of Robert De Niro on Saturday Night Live, had already become a TV character of sorts before he spoke a single word during Wednesday’s hearings," says Chaney. "To many on the far right, he was the silver-haired witch hunter who wasted money trying to prove Donald Trump had committed criminal acts. To many on the far left, he was the potential savior who would prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Trump had tried to obstruct justice and engaged in potentially impeachable acts. As a television character, it turned out that Mueller was, not surprisingly, neither of these things. The former FBI director with a reputation for being a stickler for the rule of law may have been the protagonist of the limited series The Mueller Hearings, but he conducted himself more like a respectable side character. He was a Ken Cosgrove, not a Don Draper; a Samwell Tarly, not a Tyrion Lannister; the bland ex-boyfriend of Fleabag, not Fleabag or the Hot Priest....Mueller functioned as neither a villain nor a hero nor an anti-hero but as the impartial, third-person narrator of a story. Guess what? That was his job. He told us the information we already knew, assuming we’d been paying close enough attention to this story all along." Chaney adds: "Offering no opinion is the last thing we expect from television in 2019. Whether we’re watching true crime, scripted prestige fare, cable news, or, yes, a Congressional hearing, we expect opinions, and we expect drama. We definitely expect it from courtroom scenes. Congressional hearings are not, to be clear, courts of law, but the dynamics of the dialogue in those settings are similar. People turning on their televisions on Wednesday expecting the equivalent of Nicole Kidman cornering Meryl Streep on the stand were no doubt disappointed."
TOPICS: Robert Mueller, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Cable News, Trump Presidency