A Black Lady Sketch Show: Save My Edges, I'm a Donor! Season 3, Ep 1
A neighborhood gets pumped for the annual Product Purge; Dr. Haddassah takes on Career Day; Keisha bombs at a comedy club. [more inside]
Dr. Haddassah breaks her silence; Salina visits a psychic. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Lost Season 4, Ep 10
Molly takes Andrew to a work function, and they struggle to see eye-to-eye; Issa continues to search for happiness; the girls get a distressing call about a friend. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Trying Season 4, Ep 9
Issa considers doing Nathan a favor; Dr. Rhonda and Andrew ask Molly to consider a different approach in dealing with people who have wronged her. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Happy Season 4, Ep 8
Issa and Lawrence catch up to discuss their lives, careers, past mistakes, and what makes each of them happy. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Trippin' Season 4, Ep 7
Molly and Andrew take off for their first couples' vacation with Andrew's brother, Victor, and his wife, Lydia, and the trip is smooth sailing until a hotel employee steps out of line; Molly reevaluates her inability to let things go. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Done Season 4, Ep 6
In need of some positive vibes after the block party, Issa goes out of her way to do good for random people across Los Angeles, eventually turning to an unlikely source for comfort; Kelli urges her friends to reconcile.
Insecure: Lowkey Movin' On Season 4, Ep 5
Issa works around the clock to ensure the event goes off without a hitch. [more inside]
Insecure: Lowkey Losin' It Season 4, Ep 4
Molly and Andrew circle around each other's expectations. Issa and Molly grow even further apart. Everyone gets together to help Tiffany with her new baby girl. Issa deals with a setback to her block party and turns to Molly for help.
Insecure: Lowkey Thankful Season 4, Ep 3
Issa and Molly have an honest moment in the grocery store and make plans to talk things out over Thanksgiving pie. Issa and her gay brother Ahmal do their own thing. Lawrence invites himself to Condola's Friendsgiving, with good and bad results. Chad wonders whatever happened to Bradley Cooper and Kelli hosts her aunties (yes, even the one who...)
Insecure: Lowkey Distant Season 4, Ep 2
Issa Rae's warm, naturalistic comedy/drama deepens the conflicts set up in the season premiere, with funny, smartly observed moments along the way. Molly pushes Andrew to open up beyond the great sex, Issa and Condola get past their weirdness by bonding over Lawrence, who's not very comfortable with the sharing and turns to his friends about what to do, and Molly watches Issa and Condola get closer.
Insecure: Lowkey Feelin' Myself Season 4, Ep 1
Issa Rae's understated half-hour comedy about black life, sex, relationships and career in LA is back for Season 4 on HBO (the full season premiere is also up on YouTube for free). Issa's partnership with Condola, Molly's feelings for Andrew, and Issa's friendship with Molly all hit bumps in the road as plans for a big community event start to take off.
Avenue 5: Eight Arms But No Hands Season 1, Ep 9
After recent events, Matt goes into in hiding with a guilty conscience, and he has the airlock codes. Chaos ensues when a narrow window for escape on a rescue shuttle suddenly becomes available. [Season finale; renewed for Season 2] [more inside]
Avenue 5: This Is Physically Hurting Me Season 1, Ep 8
There's a new hope for Avenue 5, but it involves an effort to jettison non-essential items. Meanwhile, Billie tries to teach an inattentive Ryan how to dock the ship, and the passengers suspect all is not as it seems with the journey. "I'm around movie sets a lot. I work in VFX. Stands for visual effects." [more inside]
Avenue 5: Are You a Spider, Matt? Season 1, Ep 7
Judd enlists Ryan to help charm Harrison Aimes, an uber-wealthy passenger who has a strange effect on Judd. Meanwhile, the passengers become transfixed by a divine image circling the ship and Rav deals with the fallout when the ship's moral quandary hits the media. [more inside]
Avenue 5: Was It Your Ears? Season 1, Ep 6
As Avenue 5 celebrates the birth of a space baby, Ryan and Billie try to identify the source of an incessant beeping, and Judd shares his latest grand idea at Karen's passenger-crew liaison meeting. In the nation's capital, Rav appeals to the President for rescue funds but, in exchange, is faced with an ethical dilemma. [more inside]
Leaks are closed, heroes are celebrated (and ignored), and a comedian is anxious. It's the halfway home party! Well, it would be, if .... [more inside]
Avenue 5: Wait a Minute, Then Who Was That on the Ladder? Season 1, Ep 4
With Judd worried about his reputation, Iris arranges a meet-and-greet with several passengers in his luxury suite. Ryan and Billie bond with the engineers, before Ryan steps up and to earn the title Mr. Wetsuit. Matt encourages Frank to become the man he always wanted to be. "Fly safe!" "Fly drunk!" [more inside]
Avenue 5: I'm a Hand Model Season 1, Ep 3
With Avenue 5 staff slacking in their customer service, Ryan offers Karen the opportunity to channel her unique talent for speaking the passengers' language. Judd outlines a new plan and tasks Iris with organizing an effort to raise the money to fund it. Rav endures a barrage of messages from the ship and handles an unruly press conference. "Oh, come on. My door's always broken." [more inside]
Avenue 5: And Then He's Gonna Shoot Off... Season 1, Ep 2
As Avenue 5 sails on, there's optimism! And coordination! And a memorial. And advocacy. And marital counseling. [more inside]
Avenue 5: I Was Flying Season 1, Ep 1
Space captain Ryan Clark of the Avenue 5 tries to get along with others in the space tourism industry. (HBO US broadcast premiere) [more inside]
A Black Lady Sketch Show: Born at Night, But Not Last Night Season 1, Ep 6
Two friends come to regret their decision to visit a new black-owned restaurant. A mother and daughter go toe-to-toe. "Taskmaster," "Turnt," and "Insecurity" help Krystal through a surprise hot-air balloon ride. Carl and Lori's "special guest" has very specific boundaries. A judge, bailiff, court reporter, and attorneys celebrate their first ever all-black lady courtroom. Tensions rise between Ashley, Gabrielle, Quinta, and Robin as the reality of their situation sinks in. (Season Finale) [more inside]
A Black Lady Sketch Show: Where Are My Background Singers? Season 1, Ep 4
A divorce party spirals out of control following Eboni's bad mushroom trip. The tragic tale of star-crossed lovers, Rome & Julissa. A 1930's groupie, Feather Atwood, sets her sights on Negro League baseball player Satchel Paige. A frustrated airline passenger seeks a like-minded customer service representative. Denise tries to prevent yet another breakup and its typical, unusual side effect. "Taskmaster," "Insecurity," and "Turnt" help Crystal navigate a possible cat-calling situation. [more inside]
Asia is shocked by a very public, very unexpected marriage proposal from her new boyfriend DeWayne. New recruits talk about their goals and expectations at a gang orientation. A church service devolves when congregants take to the mic with self-centered motivations. Dr. Haddassah Olayinka Ali-Youngman turns a toast at her sister's wedding into a teachable moment. (also a 227 reboot, and the continuing 'After the Event' sketch) [more inside]
A perpetually-late-to-work Shayla decides to forgo her morning makeup routine, to her coworker Toni's dismay. Trinity the Invisible Spy hunts down The Reclues, an elusive villain with a surprising identity. An array of average, awkward contestants perform before a panel of judges at the Basic Ball. Security guard Fatimah helps an office worker investigate who stole her missing mug. Robin, Quinta, and Gabrielle uncover a shocking truth about Ashley's nighttime ritual. (plus a wedding vow sketch) [more inside]
Two women seek an escape from an ominous fog. 1960s soul group Claude and The Boppers perform their hit song "Ice Cream Shop." A world-renowned author and "philosophizer" promotes her latest masterclass. Maya's confession in a support group gets a less-than-supportive response. Trinity, the Invisible Spy, meets a formidable adversary. (HBO broadcast premiere) [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Psychics Season 6, Ep 2
You might not think much about psychics these days, but they're still all over the place, on daytime talk and "reality" shows especially. LWT takes a look at how they continue to bilk people. The main story is on YouTube.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Family Separation Season 5, Ep 28
- 2018 Midterms, which has been exceptional in negativity. California Congressman Duncan Hunter accused opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar of being a terrorist trying to infiltrate Congress; Iowa Congressman Steve King, who has been notorious for associating with white nationalists and got pissy when confronted about it before cameras, and lost the support of a number of corporate PACs; and in Nebraska's 1st district a sign promoting Jeff Fortenberry was defaced with googly eyes and changed to read Jeff Fartenberry, causing his Chief-of-Staff to accuse a local professor, who was unlucky enough to have "liked" a Facebook photo of the sign within his random notice, of supporting vandalism.
- And Now: Out Annual Check-In With The Consequences Of Combining Local News Shows And Halloween
- Main story: Immigration, "The system that brought you me, but it's still good, and I promise that won't happen again." Specifically, the Trump administration's family separation policy. It's faded from the news, but its consequences have not ended yet. Content warning: horrifying consequences of the enforced separation of children from their parents. YouTube
- And Now: Halloween Part II: Just The Traffic And Weather
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Attorneys General Season 5, Ep 27
- Violence marred the prior week, and Fox News went out of their way to position the attacks as "false flag" operations, supposedly stages by Democrats to make Republicans look bad. Geraldo Riviera "outsmarts himself" in making such allegations.
- Saudi Arabia continues to try to explain the disappearance, likely murder, of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while President Trump and right-wing figures try to downplay the killing of an American resident.
- Main story: the role of state Attorneys General on our nation, their role in investigating wrongdoing, and the increasing degree to which the offices have become politicized. YouTube
- Special productions: A WWE commercial that properly notes the fact that it takes place in Saudi Arabia, and the problems that causes; a concert for bagpipes, accordion, theremin and recorder (multiple, played by young children) to annoy people to stepping away from their TV sets and actually researching their states' candidates for Attorney General. A good place to do that, they note, is at Vote411.org.
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]
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!"
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."
- 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]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Forensic Science Season 4, Ep 25
- Puerto Rico, where three million American citizens continue to deal with the destruction from Hurricane Maria, while President Trump and his administration both aggrandizes their efforts to help while demeaning them for needing help. The debacle comes at the end of a weak of failures by Trump and team. Trump also claims the Republicans' most recent attempt to ruin health care failed because a senator "was in the hospital." (No one was in the hospital.)
- Trump's efforts to pass tax reform, or as he himself calls it a massive tax cut, which the Tax Policy Center has determined would actually raise middle class taxes and accrue most of the benefits to the top 1% of taxpayers. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dismisses those concerns, predictably.
- And Now: Guy Fieri Gives A Surprisingly Detailed Tour of His Favorite Place on Earth ("Flavortown.")
- Main story: the use of forensic evidence in the solving of crimes. While jurors are conditioned by shows like CSI to expect conclusive proof to come from forensic evidence, the National Research Council has stated that many "forensic sciences" don't meet the basic requirements to be called "science." Last Week Tonight produced a short promo for the show "CSI: Crime Scene Idiot." YouTube (19m)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Corporate Consolidation Season 4, Ep 24
- Donald Trump criticizes NFL players for taking the knee during the National Anthem to protest the treatment of black people by police in the US, because there is no issue of which he won't take the wrong side.
- A couple of Trump administration officials came under fire for their use of costly private jet flights. Tom Price reportedly made 24 such flights at a combined cost to US taxpayers of $400,000. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, worth $300 million, made a request (later withdrawn) to use a government jet, along the way being snide to the entire state of Kentucky.
- And Now: A Preview of Megyn Kelly's New Morning Show. (Quote from Megyn Kelly saying she hopes her show can be a "unifying force.")
- And Now: A Look At The "Unifying Force" That Is Megyn Kelly. (A quick selection of clips of her time at Fox News being anything but.)
- Main Story: Corporate consolidation. As we're reminded by clips from 34 politicians, "small businesses are the backbone of our economy." Despite rhetoric, the rate at which small businesses have been created has been falling since the 1970s, perhaps because large businesses have been getting larger and larger. YouTube (15m)
- And Now: All of Jim Cramer's Sound Buttons, Replaced With Fart Noises
- Finally, part two of the tale of the unreasonably large train set Last Week Tonight made for Scranton, PA channel WNEP's backyard train set. The station refused LWT's gift because it was just too dang big. (They had suspected it might be, but figured it'd just be more fun to build the thing anyway.) The train didn't go to waste however; it now lives in the Lackawanna County Electric City Trolley Station & Museum.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Joe Arpiao Season 4, Ep 23
Whew, what with hurricanes and stuff it's been a while! This episode is now a month old! Let's take a step back in time, to an age when we were, due to the aging effects of the Trump presidency, all several years younger:
- Trump's busy week. First he met with Congressional leaders to hammer out a deal to raise the "debt ceiling." (Suprisingly, Trump sided with the Democrats, giving them additional leverage in December when the time comes to make the deal again, and infuriating Republicans.) Then Trump gave the floor to his daughter Ivanka, annoying the further hell out of the Republicans (fortunately, they have an ample supply of hell to spare). No one seems to know why Trump did either of those things.
- Trump announces that he's ending Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), putting the fate of 800,000 undocumented immigrants in immediate jeopardy, then immediately spins and says Congress should really get off their butts and do something about this tragic circumstance he created. Trump on why he did it: "Either we have a country, or we don't have a country."
- And Now: A Look At What the NFL Will, And Will Not, Tolerate (This relates to players taking the knee during the National Anthem. This was before Trump directly attacked players who did so, provoking a considerable backlash, with many more players joining the protest.)
- Main story: the (then) recently pardoned former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, his many horrible acts, his downfall, and why Trumps pardoning of him was an awful thing to do. YouTube (14m) Warning: segment includes footage of Arpaio painfully droning "My Way.")
- And Now: Joe Arpaio Singing Another Song With No Sense of Irony Whatsoever (the theme from Fame, aka "I'm Gonna Live Forever")
- Finally, Scranton, PA station WNEP mentioned Last Week Tonight's mentioning of them on the air for the strangely controversial backyard train set they run on-camera during the weather report. Prompted by this, LWT went and build a ridiculously large train set for them, to have. More on that in the next episode....