Michelle Obama may be pushing the envelope this time.
To promote her big issues of smart eating and healthy lifestyles she’s appeared in a wide array of video venues. She’s done pushups on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and promoted dog-walking for exercise on "The Puppy Bowl." She was on "The Biggest Loser," pushing weight loss. On "Sesame Street," she talked home garden seeds.
Now she’s appearing on “Billy on the Street,” a sort-of game show on the Funny or Die web comedy network. It features, among other things, host Billy Eichner venturing on to the streets of New York to accost passers-by and ask them questions about pop culture. And we do mean “accost” – there’s lots of yelling. Some show segments have titles that include terms for genitalia. The level of pop culture knowledge displayed is extreme.
In other words, an adult show. Which is fine. This is not iCarly.
Maybe FLOTUS is taking a lesson from POTUS. In quest of signees for the Affordable Care Act, President Obama has appeared on “Between Two Ferns,” a fake Funny or Die talk show, as well as granted an interview to YouTube comedian GloZell. Oh, and made a video which included use of a selfie stick. As a result he’s reached a lot of viewers but also drawn criticism from some Republicans who think he’s demeaning the office.
But here’s the issue: On “Billy,” Mrs. Obama has Big Bird in tow. They’re hawking a new line of "Sesame Street"-themed healthy food packaging named “eat brighter.” How does the audience for that intersect with the audience for a show that features the first lady pushing the host down a food aisle in a grocery cart while he recites Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar acceptance speech for “Shakespeare in Love”?
Elena, a “Billy” regular, shows up as a co-contestant. They play a round of a quiz called “Ariana Grande or Eating a Carrot?”
Six-year-olds are not watching that. They don’t even understand it. Are their parents? Not sure, but the show gave off a young and single urbanite vibe to us. Maybe Millennials respond to Elmo-brand snap peas.
That said, we did like the part where Mr. Eichner asked his guest “Who is more deserving of a Kennedy Center honor, Martin Short or a box of corn?” Mrs. Obama answered “a box of corn,” which was wrong, wrong, wrong, according to the host.
“He’s a genius, he played Ed Grimley!” yelled Eichner.
Also there was a funny bit where he apologizes for accidentally touching the first lady, and she says, “That’s OK, but watch it. You could get shot.”
“A ha ha, fruits and vegetables, this is so much fun! I could die at any moment!” Eichner replies.
Perhaps it’s our imagination but that’s a point at which Mrs. Obama looked genuinely amused.