Last Week Tonight Episode Review: John Oliver Takes on All Three Branches

That is to say, of the government. I’m sure all of you enlightened or, at the very least, wheelbarrow-trainable readers out there remember the lesson from your high-school civics classes. The United States government is run by three separate and co-equal branches of government: the executive, the legislative and the judicial, all of which are allowed to pursue their duties as they best see fit, with the permission of the NRA.

Oliver’s opening segment, as it so often does, dealt with the—ahem—executive branch, which is to say Donald Trump. It’s that segment (which will be your weekly peek because the second one is too long and the third, too stupid), where the host skewers the POGHUTUS* about a myriad of issues, almost all of them as righteous as they are amusing. Insofar as I have always admitted to being a liberal who, nonetheless, can be an old fuddy-duddy about a few issues, I found it unfortunate that Mr. Oliver went entirely along with the guidelines for transgender identity. I happen to think there is a serious flaw, which I had hoped Oliver would have noted. Sure, it’s perfectly OK to let a person born of one gender, but now identifying with another, use the bathroom of his or her or whomever’s choice. That is because, nobody really sees anything in a public bathroom. If you need to sit down therein, there is almost always a door to protect your modesty and keep RuPaul from seeing your lady parts. The locker rooms, which are recommended for that same degree of lassitude, are not the same thing. Any of us who have played any sort of sport or even participated in Phys. Ed. in high school, know good-and-well that locker rooms include (group) showers. Any parents with teenage daughters have every right to be concerned about their child being forced to stand naked in the same room with someone who is biologically a male. Sad to say, Mr. Oliver gleefully overlooked that problem in order to get in another well-deserved dig at the president, not of the United States, but a number of beauty pageants.

The second and longest segment of Last Week Tonight took aim at our highly distinguished Congress, focusing on their attempts to repair and replace (and gut—let’s not forget gut) their favorite whipping boy, Obamacare. No objections and a number of chuckles to the points Mr. Oliver made in this portion of the show.

The third segment was another addition of a routine I never thought was all that funny or clever in the first place: imagining the Supreme Court to be staffed by various breeds of dogs. They sort of remind me of that way-overused, never-amusing in the first place routine in the Weekend Update segment of , where and play a brother-and-sister duet, whose lack of musical talent is always an embarrassment. I will say this one small thing in favor of the most recent addition of Oliver’s animal act: it was not as stupid or boring as the ones that went before it…but still no reason to belay that trash sorting you had been promising yourself all day.

But let me not end on a negative note: this show was not bad at all.

* Acronym for President of—God Help Us—the United States

Last Week Tonight, HBO, February 26, 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.