Last Week Tonight Episode Review: John Oliver Discusses Things that Crash and Burn

The one obvious focus for that category is the many and variegated items an enterprise known as Samsung makes for our never-ending pleasure, depending on what you mean by “never.” That part of his show was not the funniest segment—although it was actually quite humorous in its own quirky way—but it is the one I will provide as my weekly sample. That is because the funnier bit was the main one that usually takes up the majority of any production of Last Week Tonight.

In keeping with the subject matter of this modest essay, that segment was also about something sure to self-destruct: the Republican replacement for the “abomination” known as Obamacare. “Ha!” they seem to tell us in their collective wisdom, “You think that was an abomination? Well, nothin’ is precisely the thing you ain’t seen yet.”

Actually, for the sake of the little bit of integrity I may imagine I have to cling to, I should stop blithely referring to the replacement plan as a “Republican” instrument. There are a good many denizens of the gop who reject the proposed new bill on the grounds of insufficient cruelty. Hey, it’s a big tent, right?

Buried within Mr. Oliver’s excellent and well-timed comedy is the germ of the idea that this putative item of legislation is highly unfair to the very people to whom healthcare is a difficult matter to deal with. And it is a germ you certainly do not need a microscope to detect. By way of what the Republican leadership would call a silver lining, this legislation will indeed line your pockets with a great deal of silver at tax time, if you are among the filthy, stinking rich. The host’s most telling argument against this bill’s desirability was that Donald Trump, who will lend his name in big, bold letters to road apples, if he thinks it will get him yet even more recognition, has declined to put his name on the bill.

I should point out that, during his presentation of this segment, Oliver provides a graphic or, rather, a set of graphics that should make any reasonable person, not only L, but actually do so OL. You will know it when you see it, if you did not happen to catch the original broadcast. It had little to do with the issue at hand, but, so what? This is, after all, a comedy show, and the bit in question had a lot to do with comedy.

There was also a short bit on International Women’s Day, which was OK, as far as it went. I won’t say it was bad or offensive, but Oliver’s done better work, like, right on this very show, for example.

All in all, an excellent waste of half an hour.


Last Week Tonight, HBO, March 12, 2017

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Thomas Cleveland Lane

Thomas Cleveland Lane is a semi-retired freelance writer for pay and a stage actor for nothing more than the opportunity to make a fool of himself. Well, he does get a small stipend from the Washington Area Decency League, after playing the role of Hinezie in The Pajama Game, to never, ever appear on stage in his underpants again. When he has not managed to buffalo some director into casting him, Thomas can often be found at his favorite piano bar, annoying the patrons with his caterwauling. Thomas is the author of an anthology called Shaggy Dogs, a Collection of Not-So-Short Stories (destined to become a cult classic, shortly after he croaks). He is also the alter-ego to a very unbalanced Czech poet named Glub Dzmc. Mr. Lane generally resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and was last seen in the mirror, three days ago.