BEST COLUMNIST (2004)

Brian Lambert

We're not sure how Brian Lambert summons the courage to crawl out of bed each morning. Covering the local media, particularly the broadcast version, is true car-wreck reporting. Run, kids! It's Trish Van Pilsum! And she's got a microphone! And then there's the really ugly part of Lambert's job: critiquing the dreck on TV other than the news. We have a feeling that Pioneer Press editor Vicki Gowler has to pump Lambert full of Vicodin and push him on an L.A.-bound plane each summer to preview the next round of tragic fare that the TV networks are about to foist on us. Yet somehow Lambert manages to maintain a caustic sense of humor about the whole ordeal. Occasionally he even locates a program worth recommending without more than a half-dozen caveats. Whether analyzing the continuous ratings freefall of KSTP-TV's 10:00 p.m. broadcast or illuminating the shortcomings of My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé, Lambert manages to write columns that are always sharp, enlightening, and funny--unlike so much of what shows up on our television screens.