I’ve watched almost all of the N.Y. Times video pieces by Melena Ryzik, who took over David Carr‘s Oscar-beat “Carpetbagger” column late last year, and they’re quite good — personality, pizazz, smoothly produced. And her Oscar-race analyses are snappy and perceptive.
So why do I have this back-of-the-neck feeling that she’s not quite getting the attention that Carr got in years past? The buzz ain’t the same. Is it fair to say she doesn’t have that mix of wise-guy personality and flip humor that Carr had — that eye-rolling routine that suggested in a hundred different ways that the Oscar beat was beneath him, and that he felt deeply humiliated by doing red-carpet interviews and yet enjoyed the chance to peel back the layers and toss off the occasional bon mot? Of course it’s not. But it’s true.
Ryzik has no alternative but to be herself, obviously. She projects an agreeable mixture of brains, sophistication and straightforward perk. Ryzik’s stuff works for me. I loved the Nine video piece when she danced. But at the same time a little voice is wishing she could be…oh, Kathy Griffin maybe? Or Camille Paglia? Maybe call people on their bullshit a little more?
I started to think this through after a veteran reporter friend wrote the following this morning: “It’s nearly the middle of January, about a month away from the Oscars, and nobody is talking about Melena Ryzik‘s Carpetbagger stuff. Carr himself is still drawing attention with his artlcles about Mo’Nique and his other N.Y. Times pieces on Roger Ailes and the Apple tablet. But Ryzik not so much.”