Eretz Nehederet war-time spirit 248.88 .
(photo credit: Channel 2)
Tuesday night's news broadcast on Channel 2 ended in quite a hurry. The big news, which came in just minutes earlier, was that Hamas rockets had scored a hit on Beersheba. The airborne terror from Gaza stretched its reach to a startling distance.
But forget about those Grads, forget about that desolate desert town with its 200,000 people now under threat - if there's one thing that will grip people more at times of war, it's making fun of the war, and the blacker the humor the better.
Eretz Nehederet (A Wonderful Country), the nation's top TV satire show - and top television show in general - interrupted the grim news from the South with a special wartime edition last night.
After Yonit Levy, Channel 2's anchorwoman, tried to make the transition to the program as smooth as possible, viewers were greeted with a muddied Roni Daniel, the channel's military correspondent, who was a bit too eager for battle wearing a chain of machine-gun bullets across his bare torso, and a Rambo-style ribbon wrapped around his forehead.
Many viewers were probably asking themselves whether it was right to laugh their hearts out while the residents of the South were fearful and suffering under fire. As if to address that question head-on, the opening skit showed a family of dimwits, debating whether they should hold a New Year's Eve party while the Kassams were raining down just a few miles away.
"How can we celebrate when in Ashdod rockets are falling?" asked Orna Banai in a bimbo-like accent, and when her learned interlocutors, lying by her on a couch, cracked jokes at the expense of the southerners, she said: "The country is burning, you're mocking."
But, in fact, Eretz Nehederet did not veer from good taste in that respect, setting its sights mainly on other, easier targets, as it did in a similar broadcast during the Second Lebanon War.
Roni Daniel was all gung-ho, happy that "we're beating 'em 380-4," and excitedly declaring that we are "few versus many - that is, a few jets versus many Gazans."
Likud leader Binaymin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni tried desperately to display some unity, repeating the mantra "This is no time for politics," but they just couldn't hold back the barbs.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak showed off his strategic prediction skills, explaining in stages how the war goes from "we kicked their ass" to "poorly planned ground operation" to him tending his resignation.
Admittedly, much of the broadcast featured the all-too-familiar childish, foolish, weak humor the show has been giving us lately. But as long as the cracks weren't too offensive, it's safe to say that in the next war - if and when it comes - viewers will still tune in to Eretz, if only to forget all the bleakly tedious reports on TV.