Pod Save America: Series Premiere Season 1, Ep 1
Pod Save America hosts Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, along with guest host Erin Ryan, host the first of four HBO specials leading up to the midterm elections. It's like a podcast, but with faces. [more inside]
The Deuce: All You'll Be Eating is Cannibals Season 2, Ep 5
Candy taps an unlikely co-producer. Bobby is on the wrong end of a raid. Big Mike cashes in on a hit. [more inside]
The Deuce: What Big Ideas Season 2, Ep 4
Ashley and Abby track down the identity of a young sex worker killed in a fire, collateral damage in the escalating mob war over the parlors. Vincent witnesses the brutal side of Rudy's operation. Alston educates the mayor's guy on why the raids he's planning won't turn up anything. Candy continues building on her Little Red Riding Hood vision. Larry makes his first moves into movies.
This week (after a gap of some episodes, sorry about that), after an introduction acknowledging Trump's embarrassing UN conference and the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, the whole show was devoted to the main story, Brett Kavanaugh's looming confirmation, and the terrible implications if he is confirmed. [more inside]
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 8: Ghost-Like [Season Finale] Season 3, Ep 8
After facing numerous obstacles, Issa gets discouraged about her project. Molly helps give Issa a drama-free 30th birthday.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 7: Obsessed-like Season 3, Ep 7
Girl, he buys you one taco and you bust it wide open on a ferris wheel.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 6: Ready-Like Season 3, Ep 6
Issa plans a new project; Molly avoids a new guy's advances; the girls are surprised by Tiffany's baby-shower attendees.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 5: High-Like Season 3, Ep 5
The girls take a weekend trip to celebrate Tiffany. Molly has trouble leaving her obsession with work behind. [more inside]
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 4: Fresh-Like Season 3, Ep 4
Issa tries to let go of some cherished mementos; Molly vents to her therapist about work.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 3: Backwards-Like Season 3, Ep 3
Issa treats Daniel to a thank-you dinner; Molly finds her new dream job leaves something to be desired.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 2: Familiar-Like Season 3, Ep 2
Issa gets advice from Kelli about her financial situation. Later, Issa plays wing woman as Daniel tries to make a music-industry connection.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 1: Better-Like Season 3, Ep 1
Issa tries to save while money while crashing on Daniel's couch; Molly vows to set boundaries in her life.
At first report, Miss Sherlock sounds like yet another rehash of the Holmes/Watson stories, but I'd urge taking a look at this one. For one thing, the leads are two WOC (played by Yuko Takeuchi and Shihori Kanjiya, respectively), the crimes are increasingly bizarre as the season progresses (it's not a spoiler to reveal that the first victim is killed in the opening scene of the series by having a bomb explode in his stomach), and the undeniable style and irascibility of Takeuchi's Sherlock ("So, do you still hate children?" "Yes") are a treat to watch. Screenrant calls it "a clever reimagining", while tumblr is losing its collective mind under the hashtag #watolock. [more inside]
WIth no audience and thus a silent theater, stand-up comedian and former Weekend Update writer Drew Michael offers a highbred of comedy and performance art in this engaging and self-indulgent experimental monologue. Topics include disability, herpes, self-reflection, and relationships.
Barry tries to fly solo at a remote airstrip, but Taylor still wants in; Vacha looks to exact revenge on the man who killed his brother, despite Pazar's hands-off orders; Moss tries to end her association with Gene, but finds herself drawn to his classroom at a critical juncture; Sally lobbies for a major acting challenge. [more inside]
This episode aired on July 29:
- More Stupid Watergate, "Something with the potential gravity of Watergate, if the entire White House was on bath salts and Nixon was a raccoon with his head stuck in a jar of peanut butter." Revealed is that Cohen secretly taped interactions between him and Trump, and some of one of the tapes was leaked, relating them planning to keep a story about Trump's affair with Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal secret. Also, Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of the meeting with Russian representatives in Trump Tower. And, Mueller is looking into whether Trump's tweets constitute obstruction of justice.
- Facebook loses $119 billion dollars of value, 19% of its total valuation, overnight. That's more than the value of the entire global cheese market: Facebook's stock dropped by the concept of cheese. It's because of piracy issues, which they've apologized for via an ubiquitous ad. LWT provides one of their trademark more honest versions.
- Main story: Workplace sexual harassment. In the wake of a number of prominent male executives being brought down, it's looking like something may finally be done about it... except that the current situation shares a lot of things in common with the 90s, at which time everything was supposed to change, and then, didn't. The issue became national news with the testimony of Anita Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- The last act was a great interview with Anita Hill herself.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gene Editing and CRISPR Season 5, Ep 17
Let's catch up a bit, shall we? This was the episode that aired July 8, 2018:
- Trump's "We got more money, we got better brains, we got more houses," etc. speech.
- The week's prerequisite bombshell was the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. As of this writing his position has still not been filled. Oliver reminds us that this has the potential to be really really bad for reproductive and LGBT rights. Democrat hopes to block mean once again playing America's most depressing game show, HOPE SUSAN COLLINS FLIPS AND BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN SHE DOESN'T!!! Jeffery Toobin made a tour of talk shows to make sure everyone's hopes were appropriately dead.
- And Now: For Canada Day, The Most Canadian Thing Imaginable: Polite Interactions Between Professional Curlers At The 2018 Tim Hortons National Championship
- Main story: Gene editing, and how a revolution in technology, "CRISPR," puts it into the hands of people literally working in their garage. Contents: jacked, sexy beagles; work on reviving wooly mammoths; irresponsible biohackers; the hope to wipe out malaria; an Australian man who hates invasive cane toads; a Lyme disease experiment on Nantucket Island; the question of whether deafness and dwarfism are diseases that should be eliminated; and China's pushing the boundaries of gene editing. It's on YouTube (20m).
- And Now: Hey Guys--What The Fuck's Going On With Animals In Florida?
Barry: Chapter 4: Commit ... to YOU Season 1, Ep 4
Barry finds that escaping Fuches and winning Sally's affections is harder than he thought. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mexican Elections Season 5, Ep 16
Last week (at one remove)....
- Trump reacts to outrage over his policy to separate the children of illegal migrants to the US from their parents, first by insisting he couldn't change it, then when the outcry became too great, changing it. Because he LIES.
- 7-11 courts controversy in Norway by advertising condoms on television and in train stations there a defense against chlamydia, which has especially high incidence rates there. The spots called Norway the "Land of Chlamydia."
- And Now: Local News Is Concerned About Teens
- Main story: Mexico, and their upcoming (well, yesteray's) elections, the largest in that nation's history. The approval ratings of their current President, Enrique Peña Nieto, went down to 12% from public anger over corruption. The show looks at a number of competitors for the top job, and their issues, sometimes considerable ones. The main story can be watched on YouTube (20m).
- And Now: Kathie Lee and Hoda Are Slowly Becoming One.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China President Xi Jinping Season 5, Ep 15
- Trump's summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un happened. The result was what Oliver reminds us is a Trump speciality, something akin to an "Ice Cream Blow Job." Something that sounds great, but when you think about it, doesn't actually mean anything.
- Thousands of children were forcibly taken from parents due to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy over illegal imigration, an act that has infuriated millions.
- And Now: Senator Chuck Schumer Is Caught In An Endless Graduation-Speech Time Loop
- Main story: China President Xi Jinping has overcome term limits, had his ideas enshrined in China's constitution, and cultivated a cult of personality around himself. Under him, China's released catchy viral videos to advance their economic interests. LWT made their own to remind everyone of their human rights issues. The main story (20m) is available on YouTube.
Westworld: Vanishing Point Season 2, Ep 9
The Man in Black confronts his troubled past; Charlotte forms a plan to kill all the hosts. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stupid Watergate II: Fox News' Cries Of "Witch Hunt" Season 5, Ep 14
- Trump prepares for the (then) upcoming North Korea summit, of course, by not preparing.
- Philippine President and strongman Rodrigo Duterte very uncomfortably kisses a young woman before a crowd.
- And Now: Julie Chen Has A Few Questions For The Audience of "The Talk."
- Main Story: More on Stupid Watergate, this time about Fox News' efforts to normalize the idea that the Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" by calling that through every channel available to them, in an desperate (yet somewhat effective) effort to get ordinary Americans thinking it must be one, despite the fact that they've already charged 20 people and three companies, and gotten five guilty pleas. Watch it on YouTube (18m).
- And Now: The Entire Seventeen-Minute Piece You Just Saw, Boiled Down To Eight Seconds.
- Finally, a bit about the UK. Last week's episode had a segment about the putdowns of House of Commons speaker John Bercow that could not air in the UK, because of a stupid law saying footage of the chamber could not be used in "light entertainment" or "political satire." Because they used such footage this week and thus UK viewers again cannot be shown the whole program, LWT offers five minutes of replacement content: Gilbert Gottfried reading Yelp reviews.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Guardianship for the Elderly Season 5, Ep 13
- The summit with North Korea is called off. North Korea sends Trump a message in an oversized envelope. Trump calls the summit back on. Trump admits he hadn't read the contents of the envelope. Leader of the greatest nation in the world, folks.
- Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is declared to be dead on worldwide news, but then discovered to be alive, his faked death an element in a sting to catch a group of Russian assassins.
- In the UK, the chairman of the British Monarchists Society, one "Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq.," a fixture on TV during the royal wedding, is revealed to actually to have been born and lived to his teens in the US, and even got an unrelated elderly British couple to call themselves his grandparents.
- And Now: The Very British Put-Downs of Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
- Main story: Legal guardianship, a state under which senior citizens can be put where they have limited rights, and can find it difficult to get out of.
Westworld: Les Écorchés Season 2, Ep 7
Bernard meets with an unexpected old friend; The Cradle is under threat; Maeve encounters a scene from her past.
Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas: First Season Season 1, Ep 0
Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas takes "a satirical look at social and cultural issues from Cenac's unique perspective. Rather than sit behind a desk, he will undertake a journey to understand some of the big issues of the moment and investigate real-world solutions." [more inside]
Room 104: Voyeurs Season 1, Ep 6
Written and directed by contemporary dancer Dayna Hanson, this episode is an intimate fever dream that softly explores the things we leave behind. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Rehab Season 5, Ep 12
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married. Next!
- North Korea may call off the summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un over demands that the country denuclearize. John Bolton says on air they were using "The Libyan model," which turns out to be the worst thing he could have said; autocrats the world over have obsessed over Gadaffi's horrible death since it happened in 2011.
- And Now: Local News Gets A Little Too British For The Royal Wedding ("Hello gov'ner." "Cheerio!" "Hallo hallo!" "Tally-ho." "A spot of tea?" etc.)
- Main Story: Rehab, a 35 billion dollar industry. Federal law requires health insurance to pay for some of it, but there are no federal standards for what "Rehab" means, leading to a situation ripe for abuse by unscrupulous people.
- And Now: Just Look At This Bunch of Royal Wedding Shit.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Venezuela Season 5, Ep 11
- A Trump aide was heard to say something unkind about John McCain, regarding his dying of brain cancer, thus fulfilling everyone's dreaded expectations for the kind of people Donald Trump would employ in his office.
- Scandals swirl around the Trump administration yet yet again again, as Michael Cohen comes under allegations for selling access to Trump.
- And Now: Local News Gets Real About Mother's Day
- Main Story: Venezuela. A piece reminiscent of the pre-Trump era, about the serious problems faced by a country that isn't the United States, about the trials currently suffered by Venezuela, which are less about socialism and more about epic levels of mismanagement. Its next elections are on May 20. Its former President was Hugo Chávez, an extremely popular leader who nationalized the oil industry and allowed his citizens to reap the rewards, although his government was notoriously corrupt. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has not fared nearly as well. It's a long and very interesting piece, ending with Lin-Manuel Miranda in a bird suit pleading with Maduro to get his act together.
Silicon Valley: Artificial Emotional Intelligence Season 5, Ep 6
Richard decides to help out Laurie; Gavin struggles to bargain with a new partner; Dinesh relishes a rare win.
Silicon Valley: Facial Recognition Season 5, Ep 5
Richard's confidence takes a hit; Gilfoyle worries about an artificial-intelligence partner. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Iran Deal Season 5, Ep 9
- The FBI raided Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen's offices. Everyone's asking, "Will he 'flip?'"
- Ryan Zinke, Trump's Secretary of the Interior, oversees the largest reduction in America's public lands in our nation's history, and calls himself a geologist under oath despite having never worked as one. He's also a deeply strange man.
- And Now: Somebody Please Tell Ryan Zinke He's Not a Geologist
- Main story: The Iran Deal, which Trump has been loud about disliking, asserting the people who wrote it were "babies." LWT takes a deep look at what it is and what it's for. The deal is important for limiting Iran's nuclear hopes, but Trump, his national security advisors and Sean Hannity are all against it. In a last ditch effort to get it through to him, LWT has paid for ad time during Hannity's show in the DC area featuring everyone's favorite, the Catheter Cowboy.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Corporate Taxes Season 5, Ep 8
- The Comey interview, which happened after LWT taped.
- The FBI raids Michael Cohen's office, home and hotel room. And a bunch of other stuff happened as well.
- And Now: Ari Melber, Rap Genius
- Main story: Corporate Taxes, the lengths that companies go to in order to avoid them, and how they stand to profit under Trump's budget.
- And Now: Ari Melber, Rap Genius, Volume Two: Just Jay-Z Quotes
- There are two remaining Blockbuster Video locations remaining in the United States, last remnants of a vast empire, and one of them is in Alaska. Last Week Tonight bought Russell Crowe's leather jockstrap from the movie Cinderella Man at auction, among a lot of other stuff. How do these two facts concide? Well, let's just say the store should get in touch with LWT within the 48 hours after airing.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Crisis Pregnancy Centers Season 5, Ep 7
This week (see inside for expanded contents)....
- Trump Administration news: EPA head Scott Pruitt comes under fire for wasteful spending.
- Hungary right-wing PM Viktor Orban is expected to win his fourth term.
- And Now: Coming Up On "The Doctors."
- Main story: Crisis Pregnancy Centers, facilities that exist to talk women out of getting abortions, are cagey about admitting their purpose, and now greatly outnumber actual abortion providers in the U.S. LWT founds "Our Lady of Choosing Choice" to show how easy it is to start such a non-profit, which is eligable for federal funding.
Barry: Chapter Two: Use It Season 1, Ep 2
In the wake of some shocking news, Gene encourages his class to channel their feelings into their work. Meanwhile, resolved to quit his job and put the past behind him, Barry tries not to get pulled back in by Fuches and the Chechens; and Sally tries to crack the nut that is Barry. [more inside]
Barry: Chapter One: Make Your Mark Season 1, Ep 1
In the premiere of this dark comedy about a former marine working as a hit man in the Midwest, Barry is sent to L.A. to kill an aspiring actor who's having an affair with a Chechen mob boss's wife, but winds up getting involved in the local theater scene himself. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Immigration Courts Season 5, Ep 6
- President Trump appoints to the head of the VA his White House doctor.
- Egypt has a Presidential election, the winner of which will almost certainly be strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, since one of his opponents was arrested and three more intimidated into withdrawing. His only opponent, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, was a supporter of his!
- Sinclair Media Group's continued efforts to turn local news into Fox News 2, including must runs trying to push the idea of a "deep state" working against Trump, and trying to push an idea that national media outlets push fake stories. (Links below fold.)
- And Now: Baseball's Back, And Local News Knows Exactly What That Means. (It means weird concession food.)
- Main Story: Immigration Courts, which are a complete mess. One judge said of them, "In essence we're doing death penalty cases in a traffic court setting." Furthermore, they're not criminal courts but civil courts, meaning many guarantees, such as for legal council, are not available, and they're not part of the Judicial Branch, but instead, of the Executive Branch, and Jeff Sessions can in fact review cases himself. In some, children as young as three are actually asked to represent themselves before a judge. Just to drive home how stupid that is, LWT produced a bit of a court show in which everyone but the defendant (H. Jon Benjamin!) is three or four: Tot Bench.
Silicon Valley: Grow Fast or Die Slow Season 5, Ep 1
Pied Piper struggles with hiring, Gavin struggles to find a reason to be in business, and Jin Yiang tries to control the house.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mike Pence Season 5, Ep 5
- Trump fires Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
- Putin wins reelection as President of Russia to no one's surprise, ensuring horrible threats, poisoned opponents and meddling in foreign elections for foreseeable future.
- And Now: Local News Cannot Be Trusted With St. Patrick's Day
- Main Story: Mike Pence, the hyper-fundamentalist, hyper-intolerant Vice President in the Trump Administration, and the one person in it Trump cannot fire. His opposition to gay rights is well known, but, as Oliver admits, he has a cute rabbit named "Marlon Bundo." Pence has a book out, A Day in the Life of the Vice President, about his rabbit. LWT is putting out another book, about a different rabbit named Marlon Bundo, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, where a boy rabbit falls in love with another boy rabbit. (See inside for more.)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Cyptocurrencies Season 5, Ep 4
- President Trump suddenly agrees to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, reversing decades of precedent on a whim.
- International Women's Day, "that one special day for half the population of Earth. Knock yourselves out, three-and-a-half billion people!" A roundup of disturbing and disgusting responses from across the media, finishing with Vladimir Putin.
- And Now: An MSNBC Guest, Brought On To Discuss Gary Cohn's Departure, Can't Get Over The "Bachelor" Finale.
- Main Story: Cryptocurrencies, "Everything you don't understand about money combined with everything you don't understand about computers." In a field fulled with ridiculous terms like HODL and LAMBO, LWT invited an inspirational speaker (Keegan Michael Key) to promote their new way of dealing with cryptocurrencies, responsibility: "Instead of being HODL, you have to be CRAEFUL!"
Deadwood: A Lie Agreed Upon: Part II Season 2, Ep 2
Alma and an increasingly self-destructive Bullock face an abrupt decision on their future. At the Gem, while Swearengen readies for another showdown with Bullock, infighting between Silas Adams and Dan Dority yields more feed for Wu's pigs. Doc Cochran is surprised by Calamity Jane, who has returned to camp in a state of inebriated deterioration. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: NRA TV Season 5, Ep 3
- The Trump Administration, "which is truly like a circus in that nothing about it is funny, and I badly want it to end." It continues to hemmorage staffers, most recently Hope Hicks.
- Jared Kushner loses his Top Secret clearance.
- And Now: Would You Like To Be On The Maury Show?
- Main story: NRA TV (YouTube), the little-known streaming service. LWT answers the question you now no doubt have: What the fuck is that? Oh, you are not prepared for this....
- And Now: Proof That NRATV's Tone Can Make Anything Seem Scary. A LWT-produced bit: "She IS the oven's contemptible whore, and her name is MUFFINS."
Deadwood: A Lie Agreed Upon: Part I Rewatch Season 2, Ep 1
Tensions flare as the camp faces an uncertain future. Al Swearengen taunts Seth Bullock over his relationship with Alma Garret, and the resulting confrontation between sheriff and criminal turns violent. With a new business venture on the horizon, Joanie Stubbs and Cy Tolliver await the arrival of the next stagecoach, which also bears two important reminders of Bullock's past. [more inside]
Deadwood: Season 1 (Full Season) Rewatch Season 1, Ep 0
1876: Set six months after the founding of a gold mining camp called 'Deadwood' in South Dakota, shortly after Custer's "Last Stand." The show follows individuals who are drawn to this place for a variety of reasons - some of whom leave, some who stay, and some who come back. The eponymous town itself grows, both in population and in history and complexity. The stage was set, the characters introduced; the season ends with chaos, an outside threat, and a promise for more character- and character-relationship development next season. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Italian Elections Season 5, Ep 2
John Oliver starts with a quick update over the (recently thrown) Bob Murray defamation suit, then moves to the recap of the week: Trump's terrible plan to stop school shootings and foreign dignitaries visiting India, including Justin Trudeau's visit where he visited like a cheap backup dancer for a Bollywood movie and Donald Jr trip to sell condos and manage to give the only wrong answer to a softball question, and finally, the main Story: Italy (21:11), who in a week are going to elect their 65th government in 70 years and are seeing a rise of far-left and neo-fascist violence, as well as fake news, choosing between a former failed centrist prime minister, a candidate from a party started by a comedian, a fascist Mary Poppins and Mr. Bunga Bunga. [more inside]
- The Parkland shooting.
- Scandals around the world: South Africa, Australia, Israel
- And Now: For Valentine's Day, Local News Presents Some Heart-Shaped Shit
- Main Story: Trump Vs. The World, on Trump's terrible foreign policy, which has eroded US soft power around the world.
2 Dope Queens: New York Season 1, Ep 1
The first of 4 HBO specials from comedy duo, and Cocoa Khaleesis, Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson. Directed by Tig Notaro. Airs on HBO, Fridays at 11:30pm. [more inside]
The Deuce: My Name Is Ruby Season 1, Ep 8
Vincent balks at getting in deeper with Rudy, as expansion fever hits Frankie and Bobby. Candy gets a taste of directing, and enjoys the red-carpet perks of a major premiere. Alston finds himself in limbo at his precinct. Abby changes up the Hi-Hat's clientele; Sandra faces editorial and legal hurdles; Barbara and Thunderthighs connect with the wrong sort of clients; Vincent settles a score. C.C. encourages Ace, a onetime pimp, to get back in the game.
The Deuce: Au Reservoir Season 1, Ep 7
The Deuce's pimps face obsolescence; Candy eyes a higher profile; Vincent confronts Abby's past. [more inside]
The Deuce: Why Me? Season 1, Ep 6
An end-of-the-year crackdown by police in and around The Deuce sparks Vincent and Bobby. Candy tries to persuade Harvey, her adult-film director, that she can do more than act. Rudy witnesses a pivotal lower-court ruling on obscenity, and enlists Frankie and Big Mike to protect his interests in the peeps. Alston tries to convince Sandra that he's not just a "source."
The Deuce: What Kind of Bad? Season 1, Ep 5
Both Candy and Paul push forward into their futures in spite of setbacks. Darlene takes a vacation and comes back with a friend. Sandra starts pursuing her connections, Vincent demurs on the cathouse, college life bores Abby, and Bobby is at a crossroads.