I’ll give MSNBC its due: Chris Matthews is probably the worst interviewer on television but he is also undoubtedly one of its most fascinating and watchable personalities. Rachel Maddow is obviously and deservedly a national treasure. MSNBC’s new weekend morning programs, hosted by Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry, seem like a novel experiment in attempting to produce genuinely intelligent television using the medium of cable news and its popular tropes. “The Cycle” is exactly 25 percent great.

But existing in an uneasy alliance with the thoughtful young liberal MSNBC is the dumb MSNBC, of FIRED UP ED SCHULTZ and smug Martin Bashir. Lawrence O’Donnell seems to be trying to win a bet with someone that Piers Morgan isn’t the biggest asshole with his own TV show. And there’s “Morning Joe.”

“Morning Joe” is the world’s most self-satisfied television program. It is a place where Harold Ford Jr. is treated as a person whose insights and opinions are worthy of being taken seriously. It’s a show with so little respect for its viewers that Mark Halperin is asked on to explain politics every day.

“Morning Joe” is very sure that it is fun and outrageous, instead of depressing. They joke, or “joke,” about how they are all drinking alcohol at work, on TV! They banter! Sometimes someone swears!

Scarborough’s wacky morning show cocktail party — are they or aren’t they spiking their coffee, is a question they are all really hoping anyone is asking — isn’t just an endless parade of conventional wisdom-spouting morons feebly discussing the day’s political news. It’s also cable TV’s most reliably sexist program, with Scarborough finding it endlessly amusing to interrupt and belittle his supposed co-host, Mika Brzezinski. As most successful sexists do, Scarborough dismisses criticisms of his constant unambiguously sexist remarks by saying that they’re just a joke that you’re too p.c. to get, like in this “hilarious” promo, in which Brzezinski is very professional, and Joe and the other guy do cool, edgy guy stuff like get drunk and do drugs and stuff. (Joe Scarborough is such a cool guy, guys. He enjoys drinking alcohol! He even played in a band once.)

→ Alex Pareene!