For those of us who’ve had a rough three weeks since President Donald Trump took office, there’s been a small silver lining shining through the bilious orange clouds: the knowledge that Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, has been having a pretty hard time of it, too. Spicer’s been getting hit since literally day two of the Trump administration, when he first took the White House briefing room podium to dish up some “alternative facts”—i.e., lies—about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowds. Since then, the internet’s been eager to find every embarrassing thing Spicer’s ever done—fighting with Dippin’ Dots, getting tricked by The Onion, agreeing to sit down for the world’s most incompetently shot video interview with Breitbart—and hold it up to the light. There have even been murmurs of the White House interviewing new press secretaries, which is exactly the sort of stressor that might make a man add an extra pack a day to his usual gum-swallowing routine.
Still, if there’s one thing America loves, it’s an underdog that’s also a trainwreck, which might explain why Spicer’s clearly succeeding in at least one arena: TV ratings. According to The New York Times, Spicer has been consistently beating out a number of big TV soap operas, which are the usual competition for his morning briefings. Admittedly, he’s not doing better than The Young And The Restless—let’s not be absurd—but he has pulled past The Bold And The Beautiful and General Hospital, luring 4.3 million viewers in every time he takes the podium. Those are Dr. Ken numbers—not overwhelming for primetime, but pretty good for daytime TV. (Meanwhile, the cable news networks have seen a similar bump since Trump took office last months.) And it’s always possible that the numbers might be Spicer’s saving grace; after all, we know that TV ratings are never far from his boss’s heart and soul.