Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Net Neutrality II Season 4, Ep 11
Recently in the news....
- More on the court case where Eminem is suing New Zealand's National Party for using, in an ad, a song that sounds just a little too close to "Lose Yourself."
- The U.S. House of Representatives rapidly moves to pass an updated (but still no better) version of the AHCA, before most people really knew what exactly was in it and before the Congressional Budget Office could score it, sending it to the Senate.
- And Now: To Celebrate Their Engagement This Week, A Look Back At The Romance Between Joe Scarborough And Mika Brzezinski. "Congratulations?"
- Main story: Net Neutrality is up in the air again due to Trump's newly-appointed head of the FCC Ajit Pai, a pseudo-hip former Verizon lawyer planning on changing the rules. LWT notes that his complaints about the restrictiveness of the current rules are a bit disinginuous, since it was a court case brought by Verizon that resulted in them. The FCC is once again soliciting public opinion, and like they did in the show's fifth episode, LWT encourages you to write in with your opinion, this time purchasing a domain name, www.gofccyourself.com, to take people to a search that makes the comment request easy to find, important since the FCC's comment form is less friendly to navigate than it was the first time. YouTube (20m)
The Leftovers: G'Day Melbourne Season 3, Ep 4
Kevin and Nora travel to Australia, where she continues to track down the masterminds of an elaborate con, while he catches a glimpse of an unexpected face from the past, forcing him to confront the traumatic events of three years earlier.
Silicon Valley: Intellectual Property Season 4, Ep 3
Richard pushes himself to the brink of sanity while trying to move ahead with his next big idea; Erlich finds Jian-Yang unwilling to help with his comeback; Monica sets a trap at Raviga to improve her standing with Laurie; Dinesh goes on a date; Big Head enters the world of academia; Gavin's future is suddenly uncertain.
The Leftovers: Crazy Whitefella Thinking Season 3, Ep 3
With the clock ticking towards the anniversary of the Departure and emboldened by a vision that is either divine prophecy or utter insanity, Kevin Garvey, Sr. wanders the Australian Outback in an effort to save the world from apocalypse.
Silicon Valley: Terms of Service Season 4, Ep 2
Richard clashes with Dinesh when the latter's new position goes to his head. Meanwhile, Richard uncovers interesting data about PiperChat's users; Erlich tries to get involved in Jian-Yang's new app; and Jared sets ground rules in his friendship with Richard. At Hooli, Jack's enthusiasm causes a paranoid Gavin to make a rash decision.
So, what's up in the world?
- "We begin with A Narcissistic, Unstable Man Who Just Might Kill Us All." In this case, that means Trump and Kim Jong-un, between whom tensions have been racheting up lately. Trump "sends" and "armada" to deter North Korea, although it turns out the weren't heading right there, but instead going to Austrailia.
- Turkey President Recep Erdoğan consolidates power with a referrendum that takes him closer to being a dictator.
- And Now: Cable News. (It's a lot of arguing and people talking over each over, sometimes up to 10 at once.)
- Main story: Trump's advisors and relatives Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, popularly regarded as moderating influences. LWT takes a closer look and notes that we we really know little about them, and what we do know suggests Ivanka is more about preserving the Trump brand, and Jared is an underachiever, extremely inexperienced, and is ludicrously in over his head. YouTube (22m)
- And Finally: Bill O'Reilly: A Life In Television.
Silicon Valley: Success Failure Season 4, Ep 1
In the Season 4 premiere, the guys struggle to find funding for Pied Piper's video-chat app to keep up with their rapidly growing user base. Meanwhile, Erlich encounters resistance from Big Head's dad; Gavin clashes with Jack Barker at Hooli; and Richard hatches a revolutionary idea that could change his future.
Meanwhile, back on Earth....
- Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer digs an incredible hole for himself, first appearing to claim that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was worse than Hitler because Hitler never used chemical weapons (he did), then that Hitler never used them against innocent people (he did), then making up the term "Holocaust centers" as the place where Jews were gassed.
- Trump meets with China president Xi Jinping, who apparently in 10 minutes convinced him to do what over half the United States desperately wanted him to do for months: learn a damn thing about North Korea. Alas they did so at Trump's Mar-a-Lago, having recently been cited for 13 health code violations. Trump continues to flip-flop on practically everything related to foreign policy, underscoring how desperately stupid his campaign was.
- Trump drops a "MOAB" (Mother Of All Bombs) on Afghanistan, causing euphoric celebration at Fox News from Geraldo Rivera. When directly asked if he had authorized the strike, Trump danced around the question.
- And Now: You Put Easter And Local News Together, And What Do You Fucking Expect?
- Main Story: The upcoming French Presidental elections, between 11 different candidates, at least three of which have been assaulted in public by citizens throwing baking ingredients. YouTube (18m)
Girls: Latching Season 6, Ep 10
The series finale of Girls.
The Leftovers: The Book of Kevin Season 3, Ep 1
In the first episode of The Leftovers' third and final season, there's an intriguing prologue, a time jump, we catch up with most of the regular characters and we're left with a fascinating epilogue. Only 14 Days To Go until the end of the world.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gerrymandering Season 4, Ep 8
- Gorsuch appointed to Supreme Court via the "nuclear option," Devin Nunez recuses himself from investigating Trump as he himself is comes under an ethics investigation, and Thursday: Trump launches missiles at a Syrian airfield on very short notice and without apparent strategy while Brian Williams sings rhaposodies about their beauty. It's an act that, like so many of Trump's other acts, he tweeted against when Obama did it.
- Bill O'Reilly hit by revelations that he settled multiple sexual harrasment suits totalling 15 million dollars over the years, leading to around 60 advertisers pulling ads from his show, but somehow a defense from Donald Trump. Sensing an opportunity, LWT pushed to fill some of the vacated time with their Catheter Cowboy, who will hopefully soon be telling Trump: "You're blowing this. You're sacrificing the chance to make society a better place on the altar of your towering ignorance and your fragile ego. YOU ARE BLOWING THIS."
- Main story: The gigantic problem of gerrymandering, mostly from Republicans, but from some Democrats too, as well as the difficulties with redrawing districts fairly and intelligently. YouTube (20m)
Girls: Goodbye Tour Season 6, Ep 9
After an important meeting, Hannah reaches out to friends for advice, but has trouble reaching Marnie.
Girls: What Will We Do This Time About Adam? Season 6, Ep 8
Adam has surprising news for Hannah. Jessa spends a day off on her own. Shoshanna has a run-in with Abigail.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Marijuana Legalization Season 4, Ep 7
So what happened last week?
- The Trump/Putin scandal continues, which the show has dubbed Stupid Watergate, because "it has all the potential consequences of Watergate, but everyone involved is really stupid." This week time it was Devin Nunez, whose claims of wiretapping Trump officials unraveled. Nunez himself was one of those alleged to have been wiretapped, a conflict of interest for an investigator.
- British PM Theresa May invokes Article 50, beginning the process of leaving the European Union.
- And Now: Yet Another Look at the Awkward Sex Talk on CBS This Morning.
- Main Story: Marijuana legalization, or rather, how its differing legality at state and national levels causes grave problems for businesses and users alike. YouTube (17m)
- And Now: Twenty-Seven Seconds of the Breakfast Foreplay That Is CBS This Morning.
- Finally, more of the Bolivian Traffic Zebras, who responded graciously to John Oliver's gushing about them in the previous episode.
Big Little Lies: Full Miniseries Season 1, Ep 0
All is not what it seems in this dark comedy set in an idyllic seaside California town, where success, affluence and privilege are slowly but surely undone by secrets, rivalries, deception and murder. Based on Australian Liane Moriarty's novel. [more inside]
Girls: The Bounce Season 6, Ep 7
As Hannah waits to hear from Paul-Louis, Elijah is hyping himself up for a open audition for an adaptation of White Men Can't Jump when both have a surprise visitor. Marnie finds herself in a tough situation and gets more than her jewels appraised. [more inside]
Over the past 10,080 minutes....
- "President Trump, two words that continue to sound bad together, like 'Horse Pope,' or 'Dr. Oz.'" Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time, whom he denigrated often on the campaign trail. He refused to shake her hand, which was almost as weird as that hand-pull thing he does when he shakes hands.
- Trump also doubled-down on claims that Obama tapped his phones, claiming as a source a "talented legal mind" on Fox who turned out to be noted conspiracy theorist Judge Andrew Napolitano. Even Fox News backed away from the claim. Fareed Zakaria described Trump's behavior on CNN by using the word "bullshit" and variants of it several times.
- And Now: Morning News Shows Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Literally The Only Way They Know How.
- Main story: The Federal Budget and Trump's plans for it, which are predictably terrible.
- And Now: A Special St. Patrick's Day Moment From Fox & Friends.
- Finally... Bolivian Traffic Zebras. Bolivian Traffic Zebras. People in Zebra costumes helping traffic in Bolivia. Oliver asks, what situations wouldn't be made better by a helpful person in a zebra costume, and answers: nothing. To this end, LWT has posted green screen footage of a dancing zebra to their YouTube channel, for the use and wonder of all.
During the past 168 hours....
- International Women's Day and reactions it it from around the globe, from Russian President Vladimir Putin, from Brazil President Michel Temer, and a particularly clueless San Antonio TV morning show host.
- Wikileaks leaked documents concerning the CIA, although this batch is rather less alarming than Snowden's. It is filled with ridiculous program names though. Program Weeping Angel investigated the possibility of hacking into Samsung TVs to use them as listening devices, which, after two notorious recalls, is everything that company needed. LWT presents a message on behalf of Samsung to try to salvage their reputation, but it doesn't go too well.
- Main story: The Republican response to the Affordable Healthcare Act, the American Health Care Act (YouTube 19m), and the many ways in which it's terrible. The piece concludes with another visit from LWT commercial proxy, the Catheter Cowboy.
Big Little Lies: Push Comes to Shove Season 1, Ep 4
Nathan invites Madeline and Ed for couples' dinner, to discuss Abigail; Ms Barnes suggests Ziggy be medically evaluated, in light of further evidence of bullying.
Girls: Gummies Season 6, Ep 5
Adam and Jessa begin shooting scenes for their film; Hannah's mother has a hard time accepting the next phase of her life; Marnie does a less-than-stellar job of being there for a grieving Ray.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Dalai Lama Season 4, Ep 4
Over the last seven day period....
- The good will President Trump earned addressing Congress in a manner unlike a madman is burnt away by continuing revelations that his pick for Attorney General perjured himself in his confirmation hearing by claiming never to have met with the Russians.
- Trump also claims Obama tapped his phone, an allegation apparently gotten from the Breitbart website, then asks Congress to investigate whether it is true, reversing the usual order of investigations.
- And Now: Does Anyone Know If CNN's Brooke Baldwin Would Consider Herself A Nerd?
- Main Story: The Dalai Lama (YouTube 19m), and China's attempts to surpress his influence over Tibet. The bit concludes with an interview between Oliver and the Dalai Lama himself.
Big Little Lies: Living the Dream Season 1, Ep 3
In an effort to get under Renata's skin, Madeline organizes a trip to compete with Amabella's birthday party; Celeste falls for Perry's charms before their first session with the therapist; Principal Nippal announces the Fall Gala Fundraiser theme.
Girls: Painful Evacuation Season 6, Ep 4
Hannah interviews influential writer Ode Montgomery; Adam storms off the set of his latest acting job; Ray considers the course of his life after a regular at the coffee shop dies suddenly; Marnie is confronted with her narcissism.
Deadwood: Sold Under Sin Rewatch Season 1, Ep 12
General Crook rolls into Deadwood with his troops, known as "Custer's avengers," and the Yankton magistrate, Clagett, prompting a parade and business solicitations from E.B. Farnum and Cy Tolliver. Al Swearengen delivers a tortured soul from suffering, and Bullock reacts decisively to Russell's intentions regarding Alma. Stapleton's new commission as sheriff proves short-lived, and Bullock and Alma have a late-night meeting. [more inside]
So, last week....
- "Unfortunately, we must begin, again, with President Trump, two words that continue to sound unnatural together, like 'Walrus Porn,' or 'Tilda Swinton.'" Trump promises a crackdown on illegal immigrants, despite problems hiring ICE agents, and withdraws Obama-era guidelines for transgender students in school bathrooms.
- And Now: Some Random Thoughts From WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott
- Main Story: The Affordable Care Act (YouTube 19m), and Republicans trying to repeal it despite unexpected (to them) popular opposition. LWT examines what it is, problems with it, and Republican plans to fix it.
- And Now: WCBS2 Meteorologist John Elliott Drops Some Famous Names
- Finally, the Supreme Court. Republicans refused to hold a hearing for Obama's Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland for 11 months, so that they'd have the opportunity to have their guy Neil Gorsuch confirmed, a historic abberation. To reflect this, LWT's Dog Supreme Court is filling the seat, not with a dog, but by a choice of three lobsters, that they're asking viewers to vote for on their Twitter feed.
Girls: American Bitch Season 6, Ep 3
Hannah has a tense meeting with Chuck Palmer, an author she once greatly admired, about the disturbing allegations swirling around him.
Deadwood: Jewel's Boot Is Made for Walking Rewatch Season 1, Ep 11
Alma's father, Otis Russell, arrives from New York to "help" with her claim. Swearengen strikes a bargain with Adams to rid him of some legal baggage involving the arriving magistrate. Jewel journeys to Doc's cabin for help with her leg. Eddie resumes work at the Bella Union, while Bullock is angered by the choice of the corrupt Con Stapleton as the new sheriff.
Big Little Lies: Serious Mothering Season 1, Ep 2
Madeline feels slighted by Renata and gets bad news about her community-theater production; Ziggy asks Jane why they moved to Monterey; Celeste tells Perry they should seek counseling; Nathan and Ed have a tense meeting about their wives.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Vladimir Putin Season 4, Ep 2
So, what happened last week?
- President Trump continues to amplify unquestioningly whatever whimsical story was presented on Fox News, this time that Sweden is having problems with immigrants, which Sweden denies.
- The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong-nam (Wikipedia), was poisoned in an airport, by a woman who claims she was told to do it as part of a reality show.
- A Florida man plotted to have bombs placed in 10 Target stores in order to drive stock prices down.
- AND NOW: Fox & Friends is Painfully Aware of Who is Watching Them
- MAIN STORY: Russia, specifically Vladimir Putin (YouTube, 20m). Him, his regime, how he's profited, what happens to those who oppose him, and Trump's fascination for him. LWT produced a short dance number about him, refering to the Russian pop song praising Putin.
Girls: Hostage Situation Season 6, Ep 2
Hannah provides cover for Marnie's secret weekend in Poughkeepsie; Shoshanna enlists Elijah to be her plus-one at a networking event; Jessa's antics lead Shoshanna to reevaluate her post-college friendships.
Deadwood: Mister Wu Rewatch Season 1, Ep 10
An opium theft leaves Swearengen trying to find common language with his supplier and the boss of the Deadwood Chinese population, Mr. Wu, as well as navigating tricky waters to deal with the mess. A letter from a Yankton magistrate infuriates Swearengen, but finds the solution may well lie with the letter's deliverer. Eddie Sawyer promises to back Joanie for her brothel.
Big Little Lies: Somebody's Dead Season 1, Ep 1
A suspicious death at a costal elementary school fundraiser draws attention; An incident with the children at school causes battles lines to be drawn. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Trump vs. Truth Season 4, Ep 1
The first episode of season four! And so let's get right on to THIS WEEK....
- The inauguration of Donald Trump, and his whirlwind of activity, which Oliver describes as "the tip of the shitberg."
- AND NOW: Donald Trump Can't Shake Hands Right.
- MAIN STORY: Trump vs. Truth (24m, NSFW). While just over a quarter of Obama's statements rated Mostly False or worse by Politifact.com, nearly 70% of Trumps rate so. In the process of covering this rich topic, we visit a Fox News commercial with a "cowboy," Breitbart, Alex Jones (apparently a primary source of information for him). They cover the history of the "three million voted illegally" lie from Twitter rando to President-Elect Trump to clueless person parroting it, creating a hideously self-reinforcing echo chamber that is currently driving policy in the United States.
Girls: All I Ever Wanted Season 6, Ep 1
Hannah gets an assignment to write about a female surf camp in the Hamptons, where she meets an uncomplicated water-skiing instructor; Marnie tells Ray that he needs to spend more time at his own place.
Deadwood: No Other Sons or Daughters Rewatch Season 1, Ep 9
With annexation of Deadwood looming, Swearengen calls a meeting to set up an informal government. Bullock and Alma compare notes on Ellsworth and each other, and Farnum gets a special-delivery letter from Hickok and a special new post. Joanie finally prepares to make a go on her own, with Cy's avowed blessings, and after a long binge, Calamity Jane decides to ride out of town.
Deadwood: Suffer the Little Children Rewatch Season 1, Ep 8
Deadwood breathes easier when some riders arrive in town with the smallpox vaccine, and word of a possible treaty with the Sioux. The results of Bullock's analysis of her gold claim move Alma to reassess her plans and sets up a confrontation between Bullock and Swearengen. When Flora tries to quit, Cy teaches Joanie a deadly lesson at the expense of a couple of con artists.
Deadwood: Bullock Returns to the Camp Rewatch Season 1, Ep 7
After tracking down McCall, Bullock returns to Deadwood a changed man – and a marked one – while Utter pays final respects to a fallen friend. Trixie feels uneasy about her charge, which prompts a violent response from Swearengen. Cy Tolliver is shocked, and displeased, to see Andy Cramed return to his saloon alive. Miles and Flora, two young siblings arrive at Deadwood looking for their missing father and work.
The Young Pope: Third Episode Season 1, Ep 3
In the wake of the Pope's controversial homily, Sister Mary is thrust into the spotlight, and Voiello is determined to discover the Pope's weaknesses.
The Young Pope: Second Episode Season 1, Ep 2
Cardinal Voiello continues his investigations, while tensions arise between the Pope and Sister Mary.
Deadwood: Plague Rewatch Season 1, Ep 6
Bullock encounters native resistance in his quest to bring a murderer to justice. Swearengen presses a resentful Farnum to keep tabs on Alma and Trixie as the camp fathers pool their resources to dispatch riders after the precious vaccine and build a sick tent as smallpox arrives in Deadwood. Cochran turns to a distressed Jane for help caring for the diseased in the coming days.
The Young Pope: Episode 1 Season 1, Ep 1
After being elected Pope, Lenny Belardo must navigate the politics of Vatican City. He shocks the Vatican with his desire to reject both publicity and the philosophies of his predecessor.
I'm going to post episodes to discuss The Young Pope. You are invited to join.
Deadwood: The Trial of Jack McCall Rewatch Season 1, Ep 5
Swearengen transforms The Gem into a courtroom as Deadwood makes its own laws to try Jack McCall. With Jane off on a bender, Trixie is enlisted by Swearengen to help Alma with the Metz child and to keep her pliable to his purposes for getting back the Garret claim. Hickok's body is buried and Seth Bullock is determined to get revenge for his friend's murder.
Deadwood: Here Was a Man Rewatch Season 1, Ep 4
Swearengen directs Farnum to buy back the Garret claim. Garret's wife, Alma, prevails on Calamity Jane and Wild Bill for help with the claim issue. Hickok's respect for Bullock grows and, as a result, he commissions Bullock to do a review of the Garret claim. An ailing colleague, Andy Cramed, rejoins the Bella Union, and Wild Bill's run of luck at poker ends abruptly.
Deadwood: Reconnoitering the Rim Rewatch Season 1, Ep 3
Competition arrives for Swearengen in the form of the Bella Union, a new gambling outfit from Chicago operated by savvy Cy Tolliver, Madame Joanie Stubbs and gambling guru Eddie Sawyer. Hickok puts up precious collateral in a poker game with McCall, and a threat from Brom Garret regarding his gold claim invites harsh consequences. The relationship between Bullock and Swearengen continues to worsen over the latter's suspicions of Bullock's and Hickok's intentions.
Deadwood: Deep Water Rewatch Season 1, Ep 2
As suspicions arise that "road agents" may have been the true perpetrators of the massacre as opposed to Sioux scouts, Swearengen takes a special interest in the health of its sole survivor, a young girl ministered to by the unlikely team of Doc Cochran and Calamity Jane. Brom Garret suspects his newly acquired gold claim may not be all it was advertised.
Deadwood: Deadwood Rewatch Season 1, Ep 1
In year 1876, after executing a last act of justice as a Montana marshal, Seth Bullock relocates to a gold mining camp known as Deadwood, where he and partner Sol Star look to start a hardware business. Saloon owner Al Swearengen contends with a bungled robbery turned mass murder that threatens to incite mob violence throughout the camp. Wild Bill Hickok and his companions arrive in Deadwood.
Westworld: The Bicameral Mind Season 1, Ep 10
In the Season 1 finale, an ambitious new narrative is revealed by Ford; Dolores embraces her identity; and Maeve’s plan begins to take shape.
Would anyone be interested in a Deadwood rewatch? [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: 2016 Election Result Season 3, Ep 30
This week (11/13):
- The only story is the outcome of the 2016 Election and the selecting of Donald Trump as the next US President. The full consequences of this are detailed, and his staff picks are discussed, and also offered is a look into how this happened: the prevailing use of social media to isolate people into echo chambers and feed them disinformation. A list of many organizations you can donate to and volunteer for is offered. It ends with a hearty FUCK YOU to the year 2016.