Spin-offs have a bad rap. Even the name has a pejorative ring to it, conjuring up images of creatively bankrupt execs shamelessly cashing-in on the goodwill of their audience. But that’s only because we remember dreck like Joey, Joanie and Chachi, and After M.A.S.H., and none of the good stuff, like Frasier. I mean, who even remembers that The Andy Griffith Show was a spinoff of the Danny Thomas show Make Room for Daddy? Or that something as awful as The Tracey Ullman Show would have anything to do with The Simpsons?
Anyway, my point is, I had this unfair anti spin-0ff mindset when The Onion started branching out. And at first, my fears were justified, as their radio show ended up being just a lame rehashing of the headlines, and their movie, by all accounts, was truly awful. But I have to say – their video news program is starting to regularly outperform their print edition. Rather than just act as the paper transferred to a new medium (like their first two failures did), they’re treating it a genuine TV news parody with incredible graphics and a great cast of actors playing the hosts. I’ll even venture to say they outdo The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on occasion. I know, that’s heresy, but check out their latest ones, Obama Drastically Scales Back Goals For America After Visiting Denny’s, or Political Talk Show Host Suddenly Very Interested In Manslaughter Law Loopholes and tell me that’s not better than Jon Stewart playing a clip from Fox News and making a face.