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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » So, John Oliver.

   
Author Topic: So, John Oliver.
BlackBlade
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I was dubious about a once weekly format, and worried it would be too Daily Show, but I was absolutely wrong.

Today's segment about local politics was incredible. And that's one of four or five brilliant segments.

I absolutely love Mr. Oliver's contributions in using humor to inform. I hope his show goes on for years if it's always like this.

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Dogbreath
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*nods* My wife and I have been watching LWT pretty religiously, we just got caught up yesterday. He's everything Jon Stewart is at his best, without any of the low-brow nonsense that makes up most of TDS. The once a week format allows them to be a lot more focused and detailed, and the tremendous amounts of research they do is really apparent. The best thing is that most of the episodes are focused on rather obscure but very important issues (like civil forfeiture) and you walk away actually feeling like you've learned something due to his indepth and accurate analysis.
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Mucus
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I like that much of it is on youtube and not country restricted
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theamazeeaz
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Too true. I don't have cable and wouldn't see the show otherwise, though I don't really watch clips unless someone posts them somewhere. Honestly, if they had to depend on people catching the show every week, I don't know who would even watch it. I guess they make money from YouTube views.
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scifibum
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I don't quite enjoy John Oliver's delivery, which may prevent me from ever becoming a regular watcher. I do think what they are doing is quite good otherwise.
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Lyrhawn
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His issue this week is something I've been screaming about for years regarding media coverage.

Why on earth is ANYONE covering the Congressional races when regardless of who wins, nothing will get done for the rest of Obama's term? To say nothing of the fact that the crap going on in state governments is actually Must See TV a lot of the time.

Oliver is fantastic. His (and his writing staff) ability to boil down complex issues to a 5-10 minute primer is maybe the best in the media today. I hope Larry Wilmore is watching and sees that an infotainment show can lean more heavily on info than entertainment and be wildly successful.

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Wingracer
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I haven't seen this weeks show yet (though I will in about an hour thanks to reruns) but yeah, I freakin LOVE this show.
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Mr. Y
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I like LWT as well. I especially enjoyed the one about the Miss America pageant.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
I like that much of it is on youtube and not country restricted

It's pretty brilliant, actually. Oliver and HBO realized that there was a pretty big market for relatively high-brow, complex but riveting discussions of national issues, and they pegged the length at about 13-17 minutes for their central segments. I would wager they get about as many viewers on social media as on HBO itself. They're basically like reading a long, fascinating article from The Atlantic, but better. In comparison, it does make the Daily Show look a little low-brow.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Too true. I don't have cable and wouldn't see the show otherwise, though I don't really watch clips unless someone posts them somewhere. Honestly, if they had to depend on people catching the show every week, I don't know who would even watch it. I guess they make money from YouTube views.

This is quite calculated. They are wagering that making LWT a hit on social media and youtube will translate to more subscriptions to the upcoming HBO stream-only service. I only watch HBO on HBO go anymore, and a lot of people are clamoring for it to unhinge from cable completely. This is the kind of show that will help them do it.


quote:
I hope Larry Wilmore is watching and sees that an infotainment show can lean more heavily on info than entertainment and be wildly successful.
To be honest, I think the issue is that most of the networks are lazy. The people that work for them are lazy. They have to fill a lot of time, and so they somehow cleave "entertainment," from "information," and do a crap job of both. Not a lot of networks would fund the research that Oliver does, and the fact that he does it in a highly entertaining fashion is just icing. He clearly does better research than most cable "news" programs.
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Lyrhawn
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Frankly the research involved isn't insanely hard. Some of what they've done has involved a time consuming process because they've had to wait for things, but two or three history major interns could do what they need for not that much money.

I think the one show a week format helps with that. But Colbert has several long running informational issues like Super PACs that he's investigated a little bit at a time over a longer period to incredible effect. Wilmore could do that to a larger degree more often, and possibly tackle some race issues most of these white guys still generally avoid.

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Y:
I like LWT as well. I especially enjoyed the one about the Miss America pageant.

I didn't care as much about this one. I mean, I'm down for him calling the pageant on false advertising and what not, but as a part of the larger point on the lack of women only scholarships I had a pretty ho-hum response. I don't see women only scholarships as something in need of a spotlight or an increase.
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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I don't quite enjoy John Oliver's delivery, which may prevent me from ever becoming a regular watcher. I do think what they are doing is quite good otherwise.

100% agreed
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:

quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Y:
I like LWT as well. I especially enjoyed the one about the Miss America pageant.

I didn't care as much about this one. I mean, I'm down for him calling the pageant on false advertising and what not, but as a part of the larger point on the lack of women only scholarships I had a pretty ho-hum response. I don't see women only scholarships as something in need of a spotlight or an increase.
I think the larger question is - this is clearly a sexist, objectifying institution, so is the harm done by that balanced in any significant measure by good done via scholarships? Their heavy promotion of the scholarships is clearly defensive, so by taking apart that defense I think the show did a good job of saying "no, there is nothing particularly redeeming about this institution."
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Lyrhawn
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I guess I still don't see that as something that requires demystifying.

Are we saying that sexual objectification and promotion of vapidity is okay so long as we pay women for participating? Or rather, so long as we offer a CHANCE at a prize for participating?

Sure, knocking out their defense from under them is a nice service to perform, but it still sort of suggests that WITH the promised scholarships, the Pageant, as is, is perfectly acceptable.

And I actually don't think most people are aware of the scholarship aspect. Unless they've seen Miss Congeniality maybe.

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scifibum
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"Are we saying that sexual objectification and promotion of vapidity is okay so long as we pay women for participating?"

No, but when an organization does both good and bad things it tends to affect whether people view it as a good or bad organization (or more accurately how good/bad it is). I think the entire episode was essentially "this is a bad organization for reasons 1,2, and 3" and they happened to spend a lot of time on 3.

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Wingracer
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My favorites are when he does segments on subjects I know absolutely nothing about like the Indian and Brazilian elections. Those were solid gold.
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Hobbes
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I've greatly enjoyed him too.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Dogbreath
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I don't think his point wasn't so much "there aren't many woman only scholarships, isn't that horrible?" as "the largest woman only scholarship program requires it's applicants to strut around mostly naked in order to be considered." Which is actually pretty horrible.
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Orincoro
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It was better than that. They quickly discovered that Miss America doesn't actually pay out most of its "scholarship" money.
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theamazeeaz
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And while I can understand why a beauty pageant requires its participants to have never been married or to have bourne a child, both of which only make sense if you think of pageants as advertising availability (though admittedly a bit weird to do pagents as a mom and/or wife), it's absolutely rude and stupid for a scholarship to exclude such people, and if this were, say, a job interview, very very illegal.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It was better than that. They quickly discovered that Miss America doesn't actually pay out most of its "scholarship" money.

Well yes, that too.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
It was better than that. They quickly discovered that Miss America doesn't actually pay out most of its "scholarship" money.

Well yes, that too.
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umberhulk
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0jQz6jqQS0

Good episode with a lot of bizarre footage.

At the same time, if I was an educator in a pro-life state I'm not sure I wouldnt encourage abstinence to a restrained degree.

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