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On The Tube

March 8, 2012
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By Dean Robbins

Sarah Palin tries to pass as a credible VP in ‘Game Change’

“Game Change” (Saturday, 8 p.m., HBO) expertly dramatizes a crazy moment in American history: Sarah Palin’s selection as John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election. The sagging McCain (Ed Harris) needs a “game-changer” to compete with charismatic Barack Obama, and campaign strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) convinces himself that Palin (Julianne Moore) checks all the right boxes.

Schmidt wants Palin so much that he fails to vet her thoroughly, paving the way for the debacle we all remember. When the campaign crashes and burns, she blames everyone but herself. “How the flip did this happen?” she demands, with Moore nailing the nasty note under her chirpy Alaska-hockey-mom intonation.

From this description, you might get the idea that “Game Change” comes to bury Sarah Palin. In fact, it bends over backwards to humanize her, and the movie is as fair as it can be while letting the facts speak for themselves.

And those facts, it must be said, are devastating. By election day, even McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace (Sarah Paulson) can’t bring herself to vote for the ticket after spending three months with Palin. McCain’s team can only survey the wreckage and wonder how the “flip” they allowed it to happen.

‘America’s Next Top Model’

Wednesday, 8 p.m. (CW)

The new season pits British models against American models. The women are split into teams by country, and the chauvinism gets pretty gross. I think the show wants us home-team fans to jump up and shout “Go American models!”

As always, the judges make ludicrous pronouncements with an air of authority. “She’s a blank canvas!” exclaims Kelly Osbourne, intending to compliment one of the Americans.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time shouting “Go blank canvas!” CV

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