Like all real Americans, my girlfriend and I eat our dinner every night in front of the television. First we watch the local news, because I fucking love the local news. I don't know anybody else my age who watches the local news but let me tell you: if you come looking for hilariously campy out-of-touchness (rather than actual news), you won't find a more entertaining 21 or so minutes of TV than what you get from the laziest, sleaziest, most unapologetically shallow local news broadcast in your town. (Usually the Fox affiliate.) After our local news broadcast of choice comes what my girlfriend and I lovingly refer to as "the real news," Extra!

is a half-hour entertainment tabloid "magazine" hosted by respected entertainment tabloid anchor Dayna Devon and respected shitty '90s pop-rock singer Mark McGrath during the week, and Tanika Ray and Saved By The Bell star Mario Lopez on the weekend. Together they make sure that nothing gets between the public and the truth about Brangelina, Gyllenspoon, or J.Loanthony. The funny thing about Extra! is that I have never intentionally set out to watch it. In fact, I never seem to notice that I am watching it until about 15 minutes in. The local news runs promos for Extra! during the telecast, sending it off to Mark McGrath for a quick preview before he hands it back to the local anchors, referring to them by name, no less. (I wonder how many of these previews Mark has to record every day. At any rate, it beats singing "Fly" when you're 40.) It's all so seamless I can't tell where the news ends and Extra! begins until the "B-Block" segment, usually an amalgam of the latest news from American Idol and Dancing With The Stars, the twin suns that keep life in the Extra! universe going. "B-Block" also includes Brit Watch, a daily segment that keeps viewers up-to-date on which hot L.A. nightspot Britney Spears was seen driving to and from last night. It's too bad Osama bin Laden wasn't a trashy, past-his-prime pop star, because if he were L.A.'s paparazzi would have smoked him out by September 15 at the latest. They're that good at tracking people down. But instead of working to prevent future tragedies, the entertainment media is content to provide an up-to-the-minute chronicling of the inevitable, slow motion tragedy that is Britney's daily existence.

It's a sad fact that while I couldn't offer a detailed explanation of how the mortgage loan crisis is crippling our economy because I end up watching Extra! every night, I could tell you all about the world's first pregnant man. But Extra! doesn't completely shirk the important issues of our time. This is an election year, after all, so the presidential candidates occasionally pop up between the usual masturbatory stories about Angelina, George, and Simon. Oooh, there's Barack Obama rolling with Oprah! Ah, there's John McCain getting endorsed by Heidi Montag of The Hills! On Extra!'s web site, there's a story about Elton John raising $2.5 million for Hilary Clinton's campaign, and Hil was kind enough to "open up" about the donation. It feels wonderful," she said. (Quite candidly, I'd add.) Clinton also told Extra!'s A.J. Calloway that her favorite Elton John song is "Philadelphia Freedom." Oh, really? Well, I would have voted for you, Hil, but my fave Elton track is "Burn Down The Mission." I just don't think that a person that ranks "Philadelphia Freedom" No. 1 in the El canon has the wherewithal to handle foreign policy issues or the ability to suss out our economic problems. But I do appreciate how experienced you are in answering inconsequential questions posed by idiotic tabloid shows. If Extra! calls at 3 a.m. asking for your opinion on Sean Penn and Robin Wright's marriage woes, I know you'll have the strength to give a pithy, three-second soundbite.

So, you guys can keep your CNNs and your New York Timeses and your other reliable news sources. I'll be getting my election news from the dude from Sugar Ray and a lady who spells Dana "Dayna."