Rest in peace, Uncle Walter

Walter Cronkite, the last bastion of TV journalists who actually had the respect of print journalists (and you can bet that there were never that many of those to begin with), has died at the age of 92. What can you really say about “Uncle Walter” that hasn’t already been said? The man was a legend in his field, a man who was declared “the most trusted man in America” by more than one opinion poll, and he offered a presence at “The CBS Evening News” that no one has ever been able to match.

Cronkite was an easy target for impressionists, with his straightforward delivery and his standard tag line, “And that’s the way it is,” but he possessed a sense of humor, making an appearance on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” which ranks right up there with the funeral of Chuckles the Clown as one of the most memorable episodes in that show’s history. I actually thought about him very recently, when the animated film “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story,” was reissued on DVD, as he provided the voice of Captain Neweyes, a scientist from the future. Come to think of it, another of his voiceover roles – that of Benjamin Franklin on “Liberty’s Kids” – turned up on DVD recently as well.

But, of course, it’s none of these things that will prove to be Cronkite’s legacy. It’s his work as a newsman. So let us remember two of his greatest moments as we bid him farewell…

  

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Bullz-Eye’s All-Time Favorite TV Punching Bags

In nature, the weaker members of a species are often ostracized so they cannot reproduce and dilute the gene pool. Lions, for example, do not keep an omega male around to be the butt of the joke for the rest of the pride, like we humans tend to do. And while that makes sense in a Darwinian way, our way is a lot more fun. It may be cruel, but imagine how boring life would be if we lived in a world without the human equivalent of a punching bag. Admit it: you all know someone who fills this role in your life, and you relish it. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t.

The world of television has a near-inverse proportion of punching bags as there are in nature, and this makes sense; it is much easier – and fun – for the writing staff to designate one character as the target for random acts of misfortune and malice, though not necessarily in that order. If you ever wondered why every show features at least one character that the other characters would likely never associate with in real life, now you know.

So bring us your sad, your weak, your insecure; your clueless, your obnoxious, your desperate, your slow-witted, and we will celebrate them for their inherent loserness. Get your boxing gloves on as we present to you Bullz-Eye’s all time favorite TV punching bags.

  

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