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Tyra Banks, Martha Stewart

Seattle Post-Intelligencer TV critic Melanie McFarland does not like Martha Stewart and Tyra Banks’ new daytime talk shows — and she ain’t afraid to say it. She makes two very interesting, overarching points about Martha and The Tyra Banks Show: that Martha Stewart (near left) is not such a good interviewer (true), and that Banks’ program is overstuffed with her own narcissism (also true).

But I think she just needs to embrace the new daytime surrealism. Anyone who watched Martha suck the head off a crawfish while dazed-and-confused guests Ben Vereen and Liza Minnelli tried to corral a writhing mass of hundreds of live mini-lobsters hellbent on escaping from Martha’s kitchen/laboratory knows that Martha packs more humor into one hour (albeit unintentional humor) than, say, two episodes of Arrested Development.

And I’ll get into the confessional for a minute and admit that, yes, I watched the infamous Tyra “breast” episode. Among other segments, the boob-a-thon included Anna Nicole Smith pantomiming the various sizes of implants she has had using a “whoosh”-like noise and an all-bra fashion show with running commentary from a male audience member (“Me like that one. That one nice”). I kept waiting, as did McFarland, for the inevitable breast cancer segment. Instead, we saw Miss Tyra (above left) fight back tears — tears! — as she reported that it hurts her that people think her breasts aren’t real. Aw. And to prove it, she brought in a real-live doctor to check out her merchandise for any “enhancements.” It was compelling television, but in the same sense that Courtney Love is a compelling musician — fascinating, but not always worth watching.

What do you guys think? Are Martha and The Tyra Banks Show living up to the promise of their charismatic celebrity hosts?

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