From the moment the imperious music began and the narrator intoned that the Republicans wanted to "kick out" Obama from the White House, CNN left no overwrought TV styling untried.
Part Survivor, part Mel Gibson biopic trailer, part game show, the intro to the debate showed no interest in making a distinction between politics and entertainment. Each candidate got a nickname: Mitt Romney ("The Frontrunner"), Rick Perry ("The Newcomer"), Michele Bachmann ("The Firebrand"), Jon Huntsman ("The Diplomat"), Ron Paul ("The Libertarian"), Rick Santorum ("The Fighter"), Herman Cain ("The Businessman"), and Newt Gingrich ("The Big Thinker").
Those theatrics apparently did not suffice. Wolf Blitzer, not a man usually known for his demonstrativeness, boomed out further intros of "tonight's players" as the candidates emerged from star-spangled passageways to mixed applause.
As Talking Points Memo pointed out before CNN hit us over the head with it, the GOP nomination has increasingly become cast in entertainment terms by the candidates themselves. Rick Santorum told ABC News that "it's like an episode of Survivor." And eliminated contestant Tim Pawlenty said on The Colbert Report, "It's taking on more and more of a reality TV component, these races. You've got to have not just money but an entertainment component, too."
Maybe that's why John Huntsman made a weird and awkward Kurt Cobain reference, followed by a reference to our "heroin-like" addiction to foreign oil. Are you having fun yet?
Related: Theme Of The Day: The GOP Nomination Is Reality TV [TPM]