Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Lead
April 19, 2016 12:00 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Vladimir Putin's annual call-in show, reactions to the Panama Papers in the United Kingdom, Böhmermann affair, Flint water crisis and lead poisoning

I'm not completely burnt out on the format of the show, but the Lead segment (and associated puppet song afterward) very nearly put me to sleep.

Something about the repetition of the jokes, they now all seem to follow the pattern "[FACT], which is CRAZY! Almost as crazy as [CULTURAL REFERENCE]". I think he needs to move around more.

I'm always amused by the "And Now, This" segments though. I wonder if whoever puts together the graphics for Scary Objects TV Station keeps a similar reel for giggles.
posted by tjgrathwell (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I feel like every week the main segment is something that is just so fucking depressing and it gives me a sense of helplessness. Like, he usually gives a good idea of a solution, even one that is being enacted, but it always seems either futile or we can't overcome the politics to get it done. I'm burnt out on the depression.
posted by numaner at 5:45 AM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, he's in danger of becoming the TV version of Private Eye.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 9:06 AM on April 19, 2016

I do love watching him do little bits with Sesame Street. He's so adorably thrilled about it.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 10:46 AM on April 19, 2016

I love the Sesame Street segments, and it's pretty cute that Oliver's willing to sing with the Muppets even though he doesn't have much of a singing voice.

His segments on Putin are never not funny. Holy crap is that man weird and dysfunctional. He's like some sort of android with only half the programming it ought to have if it's to pass as human. But then so many heads of state seem to be messed up.
posted by orange swan at 3:48 PM on April 19, 2016

While I am not opposed (at all!) to other people doing Last Week Tonight... if you don't like the direction the show is going, like, why do you bother? I though the Lead segment was one of the best things the show's ever done, necessary, informative, presenting proper context, and directly showing the hypocrisy of those currently attempting to ride a wave of public outrage by showing what they did before the outrage happened.

Here is what my post would have been:

This week....
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts his yearly call-in show for Russian television. YouTube (3m)
  • UK House of Commons member Dennis Skinner calls Prime Minister David Cameron "Dodgy Dave" in session and is ordered from the room. YouTube (3m)
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan legally attacks thousands of people around the world for making fun of him. YouTube (4m)
  • And Now: What in God's Name is Still Happening on WCBS 2 News at 11?
  • Main story: the problem of lead in US pipes and paint, an expensive problem for far more of the country than Flint, Michigan. Cameos by Muppets Elmo, Rosita and Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. YouTube (19m)
  • Russia: "The real borsht belt"
  • The UK: "Where 2,000 years of civilization led to this face"
  • Turkey: "A country, a bird, and the meanest thing you could call someone in 1956."
News stories on WCBS:
  • High Heel Self Defense
  • Inside a Dog's Mind
  • Ghost Rest Stops
  • Freeze Yourself Fabulous
  • Big Bucks in Bags
  • Younger Eyes
  • Text Walking
  • The Digital Breakup
  • Digital Amnesia
  • Digital Anxiety
  • Digital Dentistry
  • Dry Drowning
  • Water Overdose
  • What's in the Water?
  • What's in Your Wine?
  • What's in the Box?
  • Keyless Danger
  • Dog Danger
  • Danger Underground?
  • The She Shed
  • The Man Flu: The Truth
  • Dudeoir
  • Patch Me Pretty
  • Summer Sadness
  • Spiked Spices
  • Sick of Food
  • Are Beards Bad?

posted by JHarris at 10:10 AM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh and....

The thing about making LWT posts is, one wants to get them up early, sure, but the longer one waits to make them, the more likely people will post the segments on YouTube, and so the more of the episode can be linked from the post.
posted by JHarris at 10:13 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just mused on Twitter that I think this show has really panned out for HBO; Oliver is British but not so British that we're scratching our heads, the show is funny without sacrificing bite, and it *should* make you squirm uncomfortably a bit in your seat - what other programs out there do that now with American culture?

The shows are incredibly well put together and you feel more educated at the end of them; this is great TV. (yeah yeah, 'it's not TV it's HBO'...).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 3:01 PM on May 24, 2016

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