Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Housing Discrimination
July 26, 2021 5:05 AM - Season 8, Episode 18 - Subscribe

This week: another show from the void, but maybe not for much longer! The Tokyo Olympics proceed despite a spike in COVID cases, and the UK prepares to lift nearly all restrictions despite an uptick in cases over there. And Now: People On TV Mean "Fucking" (Olympics Edition). Main story (32 minutes): Housing Discrimination, its legacy in the US, how its effects are felt today, and what can be done to rectify it.

The voice of the void: H. Jon Benjamin

F.37: "Crisis Midlifeus," JEFF BEZOS
posted by JHarris (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Very pleasing cameo by Benjamin.

I'm well familiar with racist mortgage practices and covenants, but Oliver presents this all really lucidly. I don't begrudge them not having the time to go into practices used on Chinese and Japanese Americans like ghettoisation and internment.
posted by porpoise at 9:10 PM on July 26, 2021 [2 favorites]

The content was great.

I do miss John's style of jokes from before the pandemic. It's like all the whimsy is gone. It's all jokes about sexualizing animals and inanimate objects which is repetitive and frankly tedious. I wonder if he's depressed or whether he lost his best writers.

I still love what he does and maybe he doesn't have the heart to joke about increasingly serious content. Miss his old style is all.
posted by M. at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Regarding the Housing topic, I would be interested to know how much of the ignorance is malicious, and how much is just not having given it any thought.

I think the pandemic has sucked a lot of whimsy out of comedy. One of the contrapoints is Seth Meyers, particularly the online Corrections bits.
posted by Marticus at 3:53 PM on July 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

A lot from column A, a lot from column B. Column A also has a hand in keeping column B stay in their column (or even join column A).

Also, column C who are fully cognizant but benefit from the situation and don't care enough to sacrifice/ lose their benefits, even in a relative way when by absolutes it doesn't affect them.

I like Seth and while he's rarely transgressive, he seems to be trying to keep it real. I like his Corrections bits most of the time, but they do slog and are more intellectual, so I understand why they're online only. I adore Colbert, but his popularity almost forces him towards softening for the mainstream, most of the time.

Oliver (and his writing team), I wonder if he's/ they're getting tired? He doesn't look it, but you'all are right, the whimsy isn't bubbling up through every crack whenever Oliver cracks a smile anymore.

The imps feeling the weight of futility (and false but implicit responsibility for the lack of potency, which was never promised in the first place) over glee at tweeking the powerful with truth without (lasting) negative consequence?

(see the "we did it!" button)

Surprised there wasn't a better Olympics mascot bit - or maybe they're waiting for a bit more material to come out of the olympics to work with?
posted by porpoise at 11:36 PM on July 27, 2021

Given the fact that LWT has now been soldiering on for quite a while without the energy once provided by its live audience, it's understandable that some of its spark has gone missing.

I'm still grateful for the education the show provides - for me as much as for anyone else - but I find the balance has now shifted towards it being a duty watch rather than a genuine pleasure. It's still a hugely valuable show to have on the air, though, and Oliver's clearly still got that fire of righteous rage inside him, even if it does seem to be filtered through an understandable sense of exhaustion these days. I'm pretty sure it'll bounce back.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:50 AM on July 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Personally I always felt like the random whimsy breaks in the middle of every depressing sentence was jarring & hard to process. I don't like it when Samantha Bee does it either. I'd rather he just express how he really feels. I think of this show as being a podcast rather than a tv show, it makes more sense to me that way.
posted by bleep at 5:07 PM on July 31, 2021 [1 favorite]

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