Last Week Tonight Episode Review: John Oliver Takes Us to a Different School



A while back, I titled a review of a show, “ Takes Us to School,” since the main topic was charter schools. I’m sure it’s still clunking around somewhere if you want to re-visit it. A more productive use of your time might be to consider the most recent broadcast of Last Week Tonight, where the topic was school desegregation.

Mr. Oliver started the segment off with a snark to end all snarks. If Lewis Carroll were around today, he might even declare it to be a Boojum. Look it up, and, for those of you who missed the broadcast, catch a duplicate edition. That was some quality material.

The upshot of the entire segment was that we should not risk shoulder separation by attempting to pat ourselves on the back in regard to this particular issue. I will leave it to him to explain the whys and wherefores.

Far more than castigating us for our complacency, the host also made a good case for how and why school desegregation works. We should keep in mind that most public school systems have magnet schools, such as The Bronx High School of Science and Philadelphia’s Central High School, to enable the most serious and gifted among our students to learn at a faster pace, regardless of their race or ethnicity. And even the “ordinary” schools have Advanced Placement courses at one end of the spectrum and Special Education at the other to ensure that no student is either bored or overwhelmed. Oliver does not mention all these items in his segment, but they do serve to buttress his argument that integration works.

Of course the 2016 election is yet to come, so we had to have a segment about that, wherein the horrible disgrace of the Democratic Party ended up giving an undeserved advantage to the far more horrible disgrace of the Republican Party. I know, in the case of the former, it is a sickness that has spiraled out of control but, if his refusal to get help when he should have results in the coming of the apocalypse, then that becomes far more unforgivable than anything he may have done to a 15-year-old girl. See for yourself, below.

Last Week Tonight, HBO, October 30, 2016

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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.