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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Televangelists  Season 2, Ep 25

This week.... Cuba allows their US embassy to reopen for the first time in decades. Historians confirm that US President Warren G. Harding had a child out of wedlock. New Zealand is considering changing their flag, and held a competition for people to suggest designs. John Oliver points out some particularly ludicrous entries. And Now: Six More Actual Flag Designs Submitted to the New Zealand Goverment, With Descriptions of What They Look Like. Main story: Televangelists, those forgotten scourges of the poor, their tax-exempt status, and the surprisingly legal things they get away with. YouTube (20m) To demonstrate the extent of the problem, LWT started their own church, "Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption." Said church has a website, www.ourladyofperpetualexemption.com. Metafilter thread about the episode. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 18, 2015 - 8 comments

Game of Thrones: The Bear and the Maiden Fair  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 7

Jon and the wildlings travel South of the Wall. Dany exchanges gifts with a slave lord outside of Yunkai. Talisa tells Robb she's pregnant. As Sansa frets about her prospects, Shae chafes at Tyrion's new situation. Arya and the Brotherhood part ways. Tywin counsels the king, and Melisandre reveals a secret to Gendry. Jamie leaves Brienne behind at Harrenhal, where she faces a formidable foe. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 14, 2015 - 4 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Sex Education  Season 2, Ep 24

This week.... The Republican debates happened, and one of the debators was Donald Trump. The Indian government blocks a few hundred adult websites, provoking outrage throughout the nation. Whole Foods comes under fire for their ludicrously high prices, including a plastic cup of water with two asparagus stalks soaking in it selling for $5.99. Last Week Tonight made a commercial on behalf of Whole Foods, apologizing for their prices. Main story: Sex education in the United States. LWT presented a small educational piece with famous faces providing some rudimentary sexual information. YouTube (21m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 10, 2015 - 10 comments

True Detective: Omega Station  Season 2, Ep 8

Matters come to a head, confessions are heard and deals made in the finale to season 2.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 10, 2015 - 272 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The case for Washington D.C. statehood  Season 2, Ep 23

This week.... Afghanistan reports Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar has died; it's been revealed that he actually died in 2013 and the Taliban has been lying about it ever since, and has even been releasing statements in his name. Three teenage girls in Chechnya bilked ISIL fighters, who thought they were securing themselves brides, out of thousands of dollars. A member of British Parliament, Lord Sewel resigns as deputy speaker of the House of Lords in the wake of a scandal after a video surfaced purportedly showing him taking cocaine with prostitutes. John Oliver supplies some context on the House of Lords. And Now: Ten Actual Titles of Current Members of the British House of Lords, Paired With Photos of Pets Who Look Like They Would Have That Name. Main story: On statehood for Washington D.C. (YouTube, 17m) John Oliver presents a rewrite of the song that names the fifty states alphabetically to cover the plight of Washington D.C., and sings it with 19 kids. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 3, 2015 - 7 comments

True Detective: Black Maps and Motel Rooms  Season 2, Ep 7

Ray, Ani and Paul take precautionary measures to elude detection and untangle a dark mystery; Frank deals with the fallout of his betrayal. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 3, 2015 - 147 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mandatory minmum sentencing in the US  Season 2, Ep 22

This week.... The Obama administration reaches a historic deal with Iran, but has difficulty selling it to Congress. FIFA president Sepp Blatter is in Russia to kick off preparations for the 2018 World Cup. Ashley Madison, a website that encourages and helps set up affairs between married people, was hacked and the responsible parties threaten to release records on their userbase. LWT produced a short message exhorting married citizens of Ottawa not to have affairs. Main story: The absurdity of mandatory minimum sentencing laws in the US. YouTube (15m) And Now: Unnecessary Full Disclosure. Ukraine threatens to blacklist Gérard Depardieu as a threat to their national security (Guardian) for a statement made last year at a film festival. Over the closing credits, LWT provides a brief slideshow of photos of Depardieu set to "cartoonishly French music." [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 27, 2015 - 6 comments

Game of Thrones: The Climb  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 6

Tywin plans strategic unions for the Lannisters. Littlefinger plans to leave King's Landing. Robb plans to apologize and attempt to rebuild his alliance with the Freys. Roose makes plans for Jaime. Jon, Ygritte and the Wildlings plan to do the impossible. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 24, 2015 - 5 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Food Waste in the US  Season 2, Ep 21

This week.... The US and Iran are on the verge of signing a historic nuclear arms deal. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman escapes from prison by constructing a surprisingly elaborate tunnel a mile long. North Korea gears up to celebrate their "Liberation Day" with a concert by Slovenian band Laibach. And Now: CBS This Morning's Awkward Sex Talk. Main story: The fact that the US wastes 40% of the food it produces each year, and its consequences. YouTube (18m) Last Week Tonight produced their own, more honest version of an "American" cheeseburger commercial produced by Carl's Jr. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 21, 2015 - 4 comments

True Detective: Other Lives  Season 2, Ep 5

Ray and Frank contemplate new life choices; Ani and Paul follow a lead up the coast. [more inside]
posted by We had a deal, Kyle on Jul 20, 2015 - 95 comments

Game of Thrones: Kissed by Fire  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 5

The Hound is judged by the gods; Jaime is judged; Jon proves himself; Robb is betrayed; Tyrion learns the cost of weddings. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 17, 2015 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Over-expensive sports stadiums  Season 2, Ep 20

This week.... Iran may be about to make a deal over their nuclear program. Greece may default on loans and possibly exit from the Euro currency. South Carolina finally lowers the Confederate battle flag flying over their state capitol. Last Week Tonight offers, to any team with an offensive mascot costume, to replace it with one of their previously-made mascot costumes. And Now: Whoopi Goldberg Defends Ten Surprising Things. Main story: On lavish sports stations built using public money. (YouTube 19m) John Oliver makes an impassioned sports speech to convince cities to make teams pay for their own stadiums. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jul 13, 2015 - 6 comments

Game of Thrones: And Now His Watch Is Ended  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 4

"Hey Varys, what’s in the box?" Theon's fortunes are reversed. Jamie mopes over his lost hand. The Hound gets put on trial. Cersei grows uncomfortable with the Tyrells. The Night's Watch grows impatient with Craster. Daenerys seizes control of her destiny. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 10, 2015 - 9 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Same Sex Marriage Legalized in U.S., Transgender Rights, The Leap Second  Season 2, Ep 19

This week: In a landmark decision the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court also upholds the subsidies of the Affordable Care Act. CNN mistakes a flag covered with images of sex toys for an ISIS flag. The ex-president of Ukraine emerges from hiding to defend his private zoo, and LWT marks the occasion with video footage of ostriches mating. And Now: A Few More Seconds Of Ostrich Sex. Main story: Transgender rights, and the legal challenges remaining to transgendered Americans. YouTube (17m) And Now: This Is Not CNBC's First Rodeo. Finally, on June 30 a leap second will be added to the clock. Last Week Tonight commemorates the event with the sites spendyourleapsecondhere.com and johnoliversecstapes.com. Web exclusive: And Now: Five Years Of People Prematurely Declaring The End Of Obamacare. (2m) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 29, 2015 - 7 comments

Carnivàle: New Canaan, CA  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 12

Samson devises a grand plan; Justin forces Iris to face her fear of heights; Ben performs his most important healings. [more inside]
posted by drezdn on Jun 24, 2015 - 6 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Online Harassment of Women  Season 2, Ep 18

This week: Shootings in South Carolina. Russians plan "Patroit Park," a theme park for national military fans. The US $10 bill is being redesigned to include a woman's face. And Now: C-Span Callers Suggest Women For The $10 Bill. Main story: On the harassment of women on the internet. YouTube (17m) Last Week Tonight remakes an old AOL ad.
posted by JHarris on Jun 23, 2015 - 16 comments

Game of Thrones: Walk of Punishment  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 3

A farewell to arms, so to speak. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 22, 2015 - 9 comments

Carnivàle: Outside New Canaan  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 11

Lila challenges Samson's authority; Libby urges Jones to reveal a secret to the troupe; Sofie sees a face from her past. [more inside]
posted by drezdn on Jun 21, 2015 - 1 comment

Game of Thrones First Watch Threads

For the past few months I've been posting First Watch with Books Threads for the initial seasons of Game of Thrones. In several weeks, we'll complete season 3. Season 4 threads already exist on FanFare from when they aired live. Should I bother to create new ones, or end at S03E10?
posted by zarq on Jun 17, 2015 - 6 comments

Carnivàle: Cheyenne, WY  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 10

Libby struggles to stick to her alibi; Jones goes for a ride with Ben; Talbot-Smith intercepts a near disaster for Justin and reneges on a deal with Scudder.
posted by drezdn on Jun 17, 2015 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: US torturing of detainees, upping the stakes against Jack Warner  Season 2, Ep 17

This week: Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko warns Vladimir Putin likely to invade soon. Azerbaijan prepares to host the European Games, a new Olympics-style sporting festival, drawing closer scrutiny for their terrible human rights record. Canadian senators discovered to have spent over a million dollars of the government's money for things like golf and fishing trips, hockey tickets and holidays -- but spent $24 million to discover it. And Now: Newscasters Trying Not To Swear. The main story is on torture, American's attitudes and misconceptions regarding it, and how little has changed since we learned the CIA engaged in it, how it doesn't work, and why we seem to think that it does. LWT got Dame Helen Mirram to read key excerpts from it. YouTube (15m) And Now: Newscasters Not Trying Not TO Swear. And finally, an update on former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, who responded (3m) to Oliver's Trinidad TV response (4m) to his video (7m). The "epic and dramatic music" in Warner's is Ash (3m), by The Secession.
posted by JHarris on Jun 15, 2015 - 5 comments

Game of Thrones: Mother's Mercy  Books Included   Season 5, Ep 10

Stannis begins to march; Dany is surrounded by strangers; Cersei seeks forgiveness; Jon is challenged.
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2015 - 625 comments

Game of Thrones: Mother's Mercy  Show Only   Season 5, Ep 10

Stannis begins to march; Dany is surrounded by strangers; Cersei seeks forgiveness; Jon is challenged.
posted by zarq on Jun 14, 2015 - 306 comments

Carnivàle: Lincoln Highway  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 9

Ruthie's visitor leaves lipstick traces; Lila tries to reach Lodz; Sofie finds salvation in her work; Iris takes Eleanor on a picnic.
posted by drezdn on Jun 14, 2015 - 2 comments

Game of Thrones: Dark Wings, Dark Words  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 2

Everybody does a lot of walking. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 12, 2015 - 4 comments

Carnivàle: Outskirts, Damascus, NE  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 8

Ben and Samson have a heated argument; Libby shocks her parents with an announcement; Smith interprets a bad sign for Justin; Sofie finds a new job.
posted by drezdn on Jun 10, 2015 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The problems with the US bail system; John Oliver drinks Bud Light Lime  Season 2, Ep 16

This week: Sepp Blatter steps down as president of FIFA, a week after John Oliver promised to drink Bud Light Lime if he did... but that's for later. First, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner promises to review damaging information about his former employer, and bought time on Trinidad television to air it. Last Week Tonight has also bought five minutes on Trinidad TV, to show their own opinion on the matter -- it will air Tuesday night at 9 PM local time. Chinese hackers are suspected of stealing data on four million US federal employees. In Turkey, a member of the opposition party accuses the Turkish president of buying a golden toilet with taxpayer money. And Now: Last Week Tonight Salutes All The Horses Who Didn't Win The Triple Crown This Week. Main story: the problems with the bail system in state courts, and how they disproportionately harm the poor (sometimes forcing them to plea guilty rather than pay) over the rich, and how reality television has glorified bounty hunters that profit off it. (YouTube 18m) LWT produced their own, less exciting, reality show depicting a saner alternative. And, finally, John Oliver wears a pair of goofy golden Adidas shoes, takes a bit out of everything on McDonalds' Dollar Menu, and, yes, drinks an entire Bug Light Lime. In one go, in fact. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 8, 2015 - 22 comments

Veep: Testimony  Season 4, Ep 9

The staff gives their testimony to find out who exactly was responsible for the data breach.
posted by everybody had matching towels on Jun 8, 2015 - 7 comments

Game of Thrones: The Dance of Dragons  Show Only   Season 5, Ep 9

Stannis faces a difficult decision; Jon returns to the Wall; Mace Tyrell visits the Iron Bank; Arya encounters someone from her past; Dany oversees a celebration of athleticism.
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2015 - 250 comments

Game of Thrones: The Dance of Dragons  Books Included   Season 5, Ep 9

Stannis faces a difficult decision; Jon returns to the Wall; Mace Tyrell visits the Iron Bank; Arya encounters someone from her past; Dany oversees a celebration of athleticism.
posted by zarq on Jun 7, 2015 - 435 comments

Carnivàle: Damascus, NE  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 7

Ben follows his visions to a seedy hotel; Sabina airs her dirty laundry with Lila; Iris displays her strength to Norman; the troupe worries about Sofie.
posted by drezdn on Jun 7, 2015 - 1 comment

Game of Thrones: Valar Dohaeris  First Watch   Season 3, Ep 1

Jon is brought before Mance Rayder, the King Beyond the Wall, while the Night's Watch survivors retreat south. In King's Landing, Tyrion asks Tywin for his reward, Littlefinger offers Sansa a way out, and Cersei hosts a dinner for the royal family. Dany sails to Astapor, on Slaver's Bay. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 5, 2015 - 3 comments

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: FIFA caught on corruption charges, the Thai love for Hitler  Season 2, Ep 15

This week: Cuba is removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism. Nebraska becomes the 19th US state to abolish the death penalty. Ireland votes to legalize gay marriage by a 2-to-1 margin. And Now: Newscasters Finding The Fact That They Don't Know Words Hilarious. (Watch for the THUG LIFE joke.) The main story: FIFA is revisited as issues with corruption have resulted in successful criminal prosecution against FIFA officials in the United States. YouTube. (13m) The indictment, which Oliver recommends you read due to being "amazing," is here. (164p PDF) And Now: Bernie Sanders Asks Interviewers Questions. And finally, we look at Adolf Hitler's bizarre cachet in Thailand, where his image is used as a general mascot and cultural signifier. Who would be better than Hitler? Rip Taylor, who appears in a segment stating his case. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Jun 3, 2015 - 7 comments

Carnivàle: The Road to Damascus  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 6

Samson makes a deal with an old friend; Iris and Justin prepare for a difficult sermon; Rita Sue goes on a charity mission; Lila makes a new friend.
posted by drezdn on Jun 3, 2015 - 1 comment

Game of Thrones: Hardhome  Show Only   Season 5, Ep 8

Tyrion and Dany connect. Arya makes progress in her training. Sansa confronts Theon. Cersei struggles. Jon travels beyond The Wall to Hardhome with Tormund to meet with the Wildlings.
posted by zarq on May 31, 2015 - 239 comments

Game of Thrones: Hardhome  Books Included   Season 5, Ep 8

Tyrion and Dany connect. Arya makes progress in her training. Sansa confronts Theon and learns a secret. Cersei struggles. Jon travels beyond The Wall to Hardhome with Tormund.
posted by zarq on May 31, 2015 - 336 comments

Carnivàle: Creed, OK  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 5

Dolan pushes Justin to make a difficult decision; Ruthie shares her visions with Sofie; Stroud continues his pursuit of Ben; Justin receives a mysterious gift.
posted by drezdn on May 31, 2015 - 2 comments

Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 10

Tyrion awakens to a changed situation. King Joffrey doles out rewards to his subjects. As Theon stirs his men to action, Luwin offers some final advice. Brienne silences Jaime; Arya receives a gift from Jaqen; Dany goes to a strange place; Jon proves himself to Qhorin. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 29, 2015 - 5 comments

Carnivàle: Old Cherry Blossom Road  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 4

Ben's relative reveals dark secrets; Balthus bears witness to Justin's abuse of power; Lila finds clues in Lodz's trailer; Jonesy gives Sofie a new assignment.
posted by drezdn on May 27, 2015 - 3 comments

Game of Thrones: The Gift  Books Included   Season 5, Ep 7

Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime tries to reconnect with family.
posted by zarq on May 24, 2015 - 163 comments

Game of Thrones: The Gift  Show Only   Season 5, Ep 7

Jon prepares for conflict. Sansa tries to talk to Theon. Brienne waits for a sign. Stannis remains stubborn. Jaime tries to reconnect with family.
posted by zarq on May 24, 2015 - 192 comments

Carnivàle: Ingram, TX  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 3

Ben searches for the next link; Sofie refuses to read Ben's tarot cards; Dolan grills another arson witness; Ruthie is visited by a mysterious shadow.
posted by drezdn on May 24, 2015 - 2 comments

Game of Thrones: Blackwater  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 9

In one corner we have Joffrey, Tyrion, Cersei, Bronn and the city army – about 7,000 men defending King’s Landing. In the other, there’s the contender for the Iron Throne – Stannis, backed by Davos, Melisandre and about 200 ships and 20,000 men. This is The Battle of Blackwater. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 22, 2015 - 12 comments

Carnivàle: Alamogordo, NM  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 2

Ben seeks out Scudder's former associate; Justin and Iris welcome a new servant into their home; Samson threatens to replace Stumpy; Sofie seeks comfort in manual labor.
posted by drezdn on May 20, 2015 - 1 comment

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Plight of Chicken Farmers  Season 2, Ep 14

This week: The House passes the "USA Freedom Act," which might ultimately curtail of the NSA's phone record collection. FIFA elects a new president, and is somehow expected to reëlect scandal-prone Sepp Blatter. Johnny Depp illegally brought two dogs to Australia, and its government threatened to kill them unless he took them away. LWT produces a short piece demanding Australia remove Australian things from the US. Main story: chicken farmers (YouTube 18m), and the systems of contract farming, gladiator payouts and vindictive secrecy that keeps them impoverished and the chickens mistreated.
posted by JHarris on May 18, 2015 - 9 comments

Game of Thrones: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken  Show Only   Season 5, Ep 6

Arya trains. Jorah and Tyrion run into slavers. Trystane and Myrcella make plans. Jaime and Bronn reach their destination. The Sand Snakes attack.
posted by zarq on May 17, 2015 - 112 comments

Game of Thrones: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken  Books Included   Season 5, Ep 6

Arya begins training; Jorah and Tyrion encounter slavers; Trystane and Myrcella make plans; Jaime and Bronn reach their destination; the Sand Snakes attack.
posted by zarq on May 17, 2015 - 271 comments

Carnivàle: Los Moscos  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 1

Brother Justin spreads his radio message; Management urges Ben to find his father; Rev. Balthus is stricken ill; Lila worries about Lodz's whereabouts.
posted by drezdn on May 17, 2015 - 3 comments

Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell  First Watch   Season 2, Ep 8

The impending clashes take shape: Stannis vs. King's Landing. Dany vs. The House of the Undying. The Lannisters vs. Robb Stark. Northerners vs. Iron Islanders at Winterfell. Wildlings vs. The Night's Watch. Arya vs. Jaqen. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 15, 2015 - 9 comments

Carnivàle: The Day That Was The Day  Season 1, Ep 12

Ben turns to Lodz for advice; Stumpy and Rita Sue strike a deal to save their marriage; Sofie settles a score with Libby and Jones; Balthus and Brother Justin contemplate the former's greatest evil.
posted by drezdn on May 13, 2015 - 2 comments

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