Welcome back to Midweek Madness, where we parse tabloid punditry so you don't have to. This week marked a slight departure in tabloid fare, as Us featured potential President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama on the cover. Don't let it throw you; the other tabloids covered all the usual players, with In Touch, Ok! and Star devoted to Brangelina's baby farm and Life & Style hot on the Britney beat. Come with us as we tell tall tales of tabloid trauma, after the jump.

This cover, showing a beaming Michelle and Barack Obama emblazoned with the words "Why Barack Loves Her," is perhaps part of the subtle image makeover we referred to earlier. Us seems very concerned with portraying the clearly awesome Michelle as a non-threatening soccer mom, and more importantly, differentiating her from Hillary. Says a friend: "[Michelle] is not the least bit interested in being a co-president or participating in policy decisions…Her first priority as a first lady would be that the girls are OK, and to continue to be the outstanding mother that she is." We always go straight to Us for astute political coverage. In other news, Hollywood wags think Katherine Heigl's career will be fine despite her ankling the Emmys. Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee are back together for the umpteenth time. They're like Bobby and Whitney but with exponentially more body modification. Finally, here's some news for all the hipsters out there: supermodel Helena Christensen has been "cozying up" to Interpol lead singer Paul Banks for over six months!
Grade: C (a timeshare in Cleveland)

In Touch
Rut roh! Angelina and Brad's CRISIS AT HOME in huge pink letters! They have a lot of babies, it's exhausting, it's possibly pulling them apart, and so on, and so forth. The only good part of this four page spread is the sidebar where Dr. Drew gives Angelina the business about her whole Mother Theresa routine. "I've never seen anyone remit heroin completely," Dr. Drew said. "Is she in recovery? If she's in recovery, I don't seen any evidence of it, because people in recovery invest themselves in simple, selfless acts of service, not global self-serving acts." Burn!!! On to matters of life and death: Did Mariah Carey have plastic surgery? Survey says: Probs. Her yo-yo dieting is well known and after her most recent weight loss, she has mysterious, Tara Reid-reminiscent ripples on her tummy. The liposuction of Mimi! Bret Michaels bonded with Sherri Shepherd when he went on The View because they both have diabeetus, but he wants to do it with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. "Barbara Walters was pretty hot," Bret admitted, "but Elisabeth Hasslebeck and me, I'm just telling her, if her husband ever falls out of the picture…" Scariest tabloid news of the week: Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt spent $10,000 on guns because Spencer wants to be "prepared for anything." Can't wait for the Branch Davidianish FBI raid on the Speidi compound…
Grade: C+ (an unheated shack on the coast of Maine)

More Brangelina business. Angie has panic attacks due to the stress of her pregnancy and Shiloh's terrible twos. Apparently she's worried about how she's going to handle "two more needy little ones in an already chaotic household." Uh, probably with the army of nannies she already employs. Miley Cyrus reportedly gets thousands of love letters from prisoners, "who claim they've taped her picture up in their cells." Creepy to the max!! Was Matthew McConaughey macking on strange ladies during a recent trip to Nicaragua while his super-pregs girlfriend Camilla Alves languished at home? If the photos are any indication (see Fig. A below), the answer is yes. An amused onlooker tells Star, "He grabbed the DJ's microphone, crawled onto a table and screamed 'I lost my flip-flops!' in broken Spanish!" Britney and Jamie Lynn are none too pleased about mom Lynne's forthcoming memoir, Through The Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World, which includes such revelations as Britney bit her nails as a kid. Shocking! And lastly, Jen wants boyfriend of thirty seconds John Mayer to marry her, but he's not down. Hmm, sounds dubious.
Grade: D+ (a metal trailer in Death Valley)

Jeebus. Even more Angelina news. This time she's not stressed. In fact, she's so into all her babies, Ok! says, she's looking to adopt another boy. She'll get the lucky young tyke from the same Ethiopian orphanage where she found wee Zahara. Ange wants to "balance the races" in her household and since Maddox has Pax, now it's "Z's turn." Speaking of babies, Britney will charter a jet to Kentwood, Louisiana, the second lil' sis Jamie goes into labor. There are rumblings that Prince William and on-again, off-again flame Kate Middleton will be married next summer. Why did Anne Hathaway stay with scuzzy Raffaello Follieri for so long? Because he's a baaaad boy, of course. "[Women] believe that if we are wonderful enough, beautiful enough or sexy enough, we will cure them of their bad ways, and make ourselves all the more beautiful," Dr. Jenn Berman tells Ok!. Ugh. In other douche-dating news, David Spade says "girls date me because I'm normal." Good to know.
Grade: D- (a motel room on Three Mile Island)

Life & Style
Just when you thought she was getting better, L&S dredges up some old dirt: Britney tried to off herself twice, says a new book. Ian Halperin, an investigative journalist who is writing a bio of Brit tells L&S, "I can't divulge too much, but I will say the suicide attempts are true. I know all the details of both of them>" The book is also about how "sleazy and destructive" her handlers were, and how Britney is obsessed with Marilyn Monroe's tragic fate. The formerly self-destructive Nicole Richie is "back to her old ways" and is losing weight. She and Joel madden are fighting a lot and she's stressed out by baby Harlow. Unlike Nicole Richie, another Nicole (Kidman) is trying to gain weight. She thinks her baby bump is too small and wishes it were bigger. She also wishes that her jugs were bigger. Are Mariah and Nick already on the rocks? "I give the marriage six months, tops," says an insider.
Grade: D- (a teepee in Chernobyl)
Fig. A: