Alessandra Stanley is the New York Times TV critic, even though it's pretty much obvious that she hates television and doesn't really watch it that much. We mock her because she hates television so much that she doesn't even pay attention to things she is supposed to be reviewing for the most famous newspaper in the world, which leads to really embarrassing and stupid mistakes like "All About Raymond" or mistaking CNN's slogan for MSNBC's.
But more recently, she has been getting things mostly factually correct, as much as you can even judge the factual accuracy of a piece that claims that Joe Biden is Barack Obama's Paul Shaffer.
Ms. Stanley noticed that Conan O'Brien was going to bring his old sidekick Andy Richter with him to The Tonight Show, so she started thinking about sidekicks, and about the economy, and about blogs, and American Idol.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney may share some blame. He stretched the job description so far to fit his own agenda that the definition of "vice" lost its secondary meaning; at times during the build-up to the Iraq war, Mr. Cheney seemed more like Cardinal Richelieu than Tonto.
Joe Biden now has the title, the residence and the security detail, but the position has been dummied down. Mostly, President Obama treats him like a latter-day Paul Shaffer, humoring him briefly, then shunting him off-stage before he goes on too long.
Also she talks about Deal or No Deal and House and other non-talk shows that don't involve sidekicks, because they're not talk shows, and honestly no one has had sidekicks on talk shows since the '50s, with the two exceptions of old school Johnny Carson and ironically old-school Conan O'Brien. But then she mentions Batman because she's on a free-association roll!
We definitely prefer this new Larry King-esque stream-of-consciousness Alessandra Stanley to the old "getting everything wrong" one.