Series: The Rachel Maddow Show

The Rachel Maddow Show is, unsurprisingly, a news show on MSNBC hosted by Rachel Maddow, formerly of Air America fame, airing on weekdays at 9PM EST. The show is, like many of its type, a blend of news stories and commentary, in this case with a self-admitted left-wing bias. Unlike her former peer, Keith Olbermann, and many other pundits out there, she is known for her calm demeanor and even-keeled manner, which has earned her a sizable Fandom. She is the first American news commentator who is openly gay.

The Rachel Maddow Show has examples of the following tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Rachel deliberately avoided taking any advice on how to run her show. She currently averages around 1.1 million viewers nightly, and is rated second in popularity among all cable news networks.
  • Adorkable:
    • When she gets excited about anything, especially if it's really arcane political or legal stuff that require a good bit of research to understand.
    • Election season. She will use MSNBC's election music-clip and graphics every chance she gets.
    • Richard Engelnote , when he excitedly starts explaining some complicated bit of foreign policy or international relations. Goes double if he's talking about his specialty, the Middle East.
    • Put Rachel and Richard Engel in the same room (or on the same screen... or the same phone line....) and the chances of both of them going full-on defense policy wonk (adorably) increase exponentially.
  • Ascended Extra: A couple of regular guests on her show, Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry, have gotten their own shows on MSNBC. In fact, Hayes currently hosts the lead-in to Maddow's show, All In with Chris Hayes. As noted elsewhere, Maddow herself was a regular on Keith Olbermann's show before getting her own (and then replacing Keith when MSNBC fired him).
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Invoked. Maddow thinks Herman Cain is an art project.
  • Angrish: Rachel's priceless reaction to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal's rebuttal to Barack Obama's 2009 State of the Union address:
    "Um. Ehh...ummm. Uh buh buh... [...] I know I'm paid to talk for a living. I am incapable of doing what I'm paid to do right now. I'm absolutely stunned."January 2nd, 2012 episode.
  • Berserk Button:
    • One word: PolitiFact… "Which has 'Fact' IN ITS NAME...!"Context 
    • "DON'T EAT THE GARNISH."Context 
  • Bifauxnen: Very much.
  • Boyish Short Hair: A little too closely cropped to qualify for Power Hair.
  • Brain Bleach: Citing the trope by name is only further proof that she is One of Us.
  • Brainy Brunette: She's a Stanford alum and a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in politics from Oxford University.
  • Breakout Character: Her guest-hosting for Keith Olbermann was so popular it netted Rachel her own show.
  • Butch Lesbian: Rachel describes herself as "a big lesbian who looks like a man".
  • Catch Phrase: "Big news tonight..." "Bullpuckey!" "THE BEST NEW THING IN THE WORLD TODAY"
    • To describe the Republican legislative agenda: "Jobs, jobs, jobs. By which I mean abortion." Often shortened to just, "Jobs, jobs, j'bortion."
    • Every show begins with her thanking the lead-in host, followed by "...and thanks to you at home, for joining us this hour."
    • Lately she's had her own And Knowing Is Half the Battle parody: declaring "You know more now" while playing NBC's old "And Now You Know" PSA tune (badly) on a kiddie xylophone.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not to the point of other liberal pundits like Jon Stewart or Keith Olbermann, but she does have her moments.
  • Defeat Means Friendship/Vitriolic Best Buds: With former RNC chairman Michael Steele.
    • Pat Buchanan is an Uncle-like version of this to her. Megan McCain and Greta Van Susteren also serve this role.
      • Well, Pat Buchanan was this until she (rather reluctantly) kicked him off the show for his borderline-racist comments toward eventual Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. He has not appeared on the show since.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Referenced when the Virginia GOP promulgated a law that would close most of the state's abortion clinics, with a graphic showing the Republican elephant logo and "The Elephant in the Bedroom".
  • Even the Girls Want Her: The number of "I would go lesbian for Rachel Maddow" comments on YouTube has to be seen to believed.
  • Friendly Rivalry:
    • She has one with Fox News anchor Shep Smith, mostly because he's only her 'enemy' in that he works for her biggest competition. They're actually friendly in real life, with Smith even nominating her for the Ice Bucket Challenge, and have expressed mutual respect and admiration for each other.note 
      Shep Smith: Everything in this thing we do to me is Ole Miss and LSU. I love Ole Miss; I hate LSU. And that's how MSNBC and Fox News viewers are, and I understand it and I respect it because I hate LSU.
    • Similarly, when she showed a clip of "my friend Greta van Susteren" (also a Fox News anchor), she went out of her way to clarify that, no, she and Greta actually are friends, despite their differing political opinions.
  • Fox News Liberal: Usually avoids this. However, she once cited a bill by then-Senator Olympia Snowe (Republican of Maine) to try to prove conservatives flip-flopped on contraception mandates in Catholic charities. This didn't take into account that Olympia Snowe is considered a moderate, and thus it's not particularly odd for her to hold more centrist or left-wing positions than her more conservative counterparts in the Republican Party.
  • Genki Girl: She can get into this mode at times.
  • Goofy Suit: Rachel evidently has a phobia of these. She devoted an entire segment to the arguably over-realistic goat-costumed recycling mascot of Niagra Falls, New York. She specifically called it "Nightmare Fuel," which lends yet more credence to the idea that she is One of Us.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Rachel isn't afraid to cuss sometimes, but on air she tends to avoid using coarse language when she can.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Referenced. She's not an alcoholic, but Rachel does have an appreciation for the art of mixing drinks, which she regularly has segments on. (Don't use anything but real lemon juice squeezed from lemons if you know what's good for you!)
    "...the right to buy a beer is not enshrined in the constitution (because I haven't founded my own country yet)."
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Her perception of the Democrats.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Upon occasion, and she'll mix her own drinks.
  • Important Haircut: Had long blonde hair as a closeted teenager.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In 2008, Ezra Klein predicted that Maddow, then still a radio personality, would never become a cable TV host in The American Prospect. That Klein now regularly appears on her show makes this doubly Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • The Knights Who Say Squee: Rachel may be a critically-lauded, award-winning television host, but even she descends into squee when she talks about Andrea Mitchell, describing her with phrases like "fantastic" and "incredible".
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: With her short hair, traditionally masculine clothes, and slim profile, she definitely qualifies.
  • Lesbian Vampire: According to this guy, at least. Rachel herself appears to find this highly amusing.
    Rachel: Oh no! They're onto me! *swirls cape*
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to her counterparts across the political spectrum, Rachel is (usually) very calm and collected, particularly compared to Cenk Uygur (he was far more vocal in his criticism than she can be). To anyone used to, say, Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann, her tone will either be refreshing or downright disarming.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Her last name rhymes with "shadow". Also, when Blackwater rebranded itself Xe Services, Maddow decided it should be pronounced "she".
    • She also once mispronounced the name of the Mackinac Group, a conservative think tank, as "Mac-in-ack" instead of "Mac-in-aw," its proper pronunciation. She later corrected this on her show.
    • Once mispronounced singer Kesha's name as "Kee-sha," apologizing the following night, with the notice that she is apparently now old.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: On occasion.
  • Not So Different: Frequently invoked even by some on her own side, something she strongly resents, and probably has the strongest case against of all the MSNBC left-wingers.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Like Anderson Cooper, she broke out the popcorn at the height of the Rod Blagojevichnote  drama.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Rachel and NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. The warmth between them is easily palpable every time they share a screen, no matter where in the world Richard happens to be. Their on-air reunion after he came home from being kidnapped in Syria was beautiful to behold.
  • The Promise: Rachel made a rule shortly after the 2012 presidential election to never talk about the 2016 election (or at least, to wait until people actually started announcing their candidacies). But then, on October 25th, 2013, she was forced to break this rule when Ted Cruz went to Iowa.note 
  • Punny Name: Many of the titles of the segments on her show. A regular example is "Ms. Information", devoted to covering what Maddow describes as "Holy Mackerel stories" in the news. Also, "Rachel: Re".
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Maddow has been the Blue Oni to the hot-blooded personalities who've aired before her, first Keith Olbermann, later Ed Schultz. Lawrence O'Donnell, meanwhile, has become something of a "Purple Oni" between the two of them, having both Schultz's penchant for melodrama and Maddow's keen and calm attention to detail.
  • Running Gag:
    • She often pretends to fall asleep in the middle of saying Tim Pawlenty's name.
    • "The 'John Boehner Is Bad At His Job' Hypothesis"
    • "Jobs, jobs, jobs. By which I mean abortion." Also a Catch Phrase.
    • "Rrrrrreince Prrriebus!"
    • "Bullpuckey alert!"
  • Sarcasm Mode: A common tool for her to show her anger (or amusement) over a topic, which is sometimes the only way to tell she's angry about something.
  • Self-Deprecation: She often goes out of her way to highlight criticism of herself/her show, especially if she thinks it's Actually Pretty Funny, like the right wing parody of her Hoover Dam promo.
  • Shout-Out: In a tribute to this very wiki, a graphic for a story on US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford read "Ambadassador''.
  • Shown Their Work: She makes sure she can back up all her facts, and when she does make a mistake, she will correct herself promptly.
  • Sincerity Mode: Back in 2010, Rachel began a live show (one with a studio audience) with the words, "And now, let us praise the Fox News Channel". Her audience, naturally, laughed, thinking she was kidding. Then she played a clip of Fox News anchor Shep Smith demanding answers from a Republican Senator about GOP opposition to the 9/11 first responders health care bill. After the clip ended, she said, "All hail Shep Smith at Fox News and I'm not kidding." This time her audience cheered, realizing that she had been entirely serious, and Rachel went on to explain that Smith had been making a "hullabaloo" on his show about why the GOP was blocking the bill (and that, being Fox News, Republican politicians would actually return their calls).
  • Special Guest: Kent Jones, a recurring guest, who carried over from her Air America show.
  • Stealth Parody: She thought Herman Cain's presidential campaign was one, citing Cain's quoting Pokémon: The First Movie in a debate, having a tax plan apparently inspired by SimCity and referencing an out-of-production Baskin Robbins ice cream flavor, among other things.
  • Straight Gay: In terms of personality, not appearance (given that she has a short hairstyle, and wears fairly masculine suits on-air). That said, she regularly covers LGBT issues and stories, usually giving them more attention than other media outlets do.
  • Tranquil Fury: Never raises her voice or is less than polite to anyone she is interviewing.
    • This includes her interview with the sponsor of Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill. This is really impressive when you consider that the person she is interviewing is telling her to her face that he thinks she ought to be put to death.
      Rachel (100% Deadpan): It is more than your opinion, it is what has made you internationally famous, and it may be the thing ultimately that results in you being tried for crimes against humanity in some sort of international tribunal. If that happens, sir, I wish you luck in your defense, but I don't expect it to go far.
    • Freshman Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) decided to lecture twenty-year veteran Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) about the Constitution and gun control. For reference, when Mayor of San Francisco George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot and killed in 1978, Dianne Feinstein – then President of the Board of Supervisors, immediately thereafter Acting Mayor – was the one who had to put her fingers in the bullet holes to check for a pulse. Rachel took the opportunity to elucidate exactly why an assault weapons ban is desperately needed, and she was absolutely furious.
      Rachel: Let the record show that you can be a United States senator for twenty-one years. You can be seventy-nine years old. You can be the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and one of the most recognizable and widely-respected veteran public servants in your nation. But if you are female while all of those things, men who you defeat in arguments will still respond to you by calling you hysterical and telling you to calm down. They’ll patronize you and say they admire your passion, sweetie, but they deal in facts, not your silly girly feelings. It’s inescapable. You can set your watch by it.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: Whenever she says "Reince Priebus".
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Schtupping." More specifically, this word, when used on her show, generally has a connotation of "Your relationship with this other person is kind of sketchy and generally deserving of a side-eye and will probably result in a scandal at some point, if it hasn't already, which I will cover with absolute glee and possibly popcorn." See: the John Ensign scandal, the Anthony Wiener scandal, the David Petraeus scandal...
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Rachel tries to explain everything carefully, but her show's format tends to take a more minimalistic, academic approach compared to the flashy graphics of other shows.
  • The Villain Knows Where You Live: As noted on the April, 25, 2014 edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, during the 1975 trial for attempting to kill US President Gerald Ford, Manson Family member Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme threatened the judge, mentioning the piano in the front room of his house. Maddow notes that the judge's security detail was increased after that. The incident was also mentioned in a panel discussion among some of the trial's participants (at about the 50-minute mark).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A lighthearted version with Keith Olbermann; they're always teasing each other and tossing playful insults back and forth, but are fiercely protective of each other.
    Keith: [after returning from suspension] ...and of course, let me thank dear Rachel, for saying so much when saying anything would have been enough.

Alternative Title(s):

Rachel Maddow