Ronan Farrow Is a Millennial Journalist for the Millennials
I will fully admit that my initial interest in the show (and probably lots of people's) was due to recent media scrutiny of the Farrow family. By now everyone and his or her mom knows about Ronan's sister Dylan's accusations that her adopted father, Woody Allen, molested her at the young age of seven. Ronan Farrow has also weighed in on the allegations via twitter with some perfectly timed, witty remarks. The revival may almost make a skeptical person wonder if this renewed focus was to hype Farrow's new show. (Geez, I hope not.)
Then I saw Farrow's guest appearance on The Daily Show and all of my preconceived notions went out the window. Farrow is funny, slick and well spoken. I had no idea that he was the youngest student ever admitted into Simon's Rock college or that he graduated Bard College at 15 or that he was admitted into Yale at 16 or that he was a Rhodes Scholar or that he was appointed Hillary Clinton's Special Advisor for Global Youth Issues. I didn't know anything about Ronan Farrow, and so my new reason for wanting to watch his MSNBC show was that it might be good.
It might be. Still.
Right off the top of Monday's premiere episode, Farrow jumped into the hard-hitting news in Ukraine. His knowledge of the situation was strong, as were his discussion skills. But boy was he nervous, and it caused him to talk over his guests, a real no-no for any interviewer. This nervous style continued well into Farrow's interview with Delaware Governor Jack Markell, whose name he sort of botched in the end.
Throughout the hourlong news program, Farrow slipped in what I assume will be his brand of snarky commentary, ad-libbing a line here and there, editorializing the issues. But I think these quips will be his calling card. As is, Farrow is already well-known on the Twitterverse for being that funny journalist and he remained true to that perception.
Farrow is definitely MSNBC's attempt at a genuine millennial pundit. After Farrow touched on the news news, he moved into a segment in which pot-heads discussed their careers as marijuana Dumpster-divers to steal the leftovers that "the man" has been tossing aside. He then moved into a segment called "Heroes and Zeros," a millennial title if I ever heard one, in which he highlights those in the media who are, well...you get it. The idea sounds like something out of VH1's Best Week Ever. You might even have guessed that the hero of this week is none other than Lena Dunham for dumping on website Jezebel for offering up 10 grand to the person who has untouched photos from her Vogue cover shoot. Why Dunham is a hero I didn't really understand, but certainly the fact that she was mentioned speaks volumes to who MSNBC hopes is watching.
In addition to the topics reflecting the age group, Farrow is 26, stylish, famous in the way that generation likes, and he's also good-looking. To cater to his demographic, the show also featured polls, live tweeting, goofy graphics and battling hashtags. No segment was more than ten minutes long because TL;DW.
None of this bothered me, though. I think it's great that the cable news channel is moving toward a new audience; we can't all relate to Rachel Maddow's angry Gen X appeal. And Farrow is a very personable guy who, if given a better time slot (Really, who under the age of 60 is watching TV at noon?) could do really well for the network, and it may just catapult Farrow into a new type of fame -- a smart young journalist for the new generation.