With American Politics being what it is at this current state, I am not surprised to see an explosion of political talk shows pop up as often as they do. Every channel seems to have one, actually most will have at least two now. So with the current political climate giving us the easy dartboard that is Donald Trump, it is no surprise to see shows flying out of the woodwork to dissect every clip that has been said in public. One of those shows is Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
Samantha Bee, who was noted for her work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; a seminal training ground for the who’s who of political satire from Stephen Colbert to John Oliver, has broken free from Comedy Central and presents to us her own brand of Political Comedic goodness. From the very first sketch in the show’s first episode, she comments on the deluge of political shows, commenting on what she could do differently and how she is a woman hosting one of these shows. There’s some great banter about this in the opening sketch but it’s not long until the show just becomes another, still funny mind you, news breakdown show.
With so many heavy players out there in this somewhat niche television genre there’s a real sink or swim vibe to new players (even more so now that Larry Wilmore is wrapping up). Samantha Bee starts off interestingly enough by saying no to a conventional table to camera approach. For too long our commentators of the world have hidden behind a desk easily swiveling to each camera (Australia’s Shaun Micallef nails this as a joke), so Samantha stands proud by the monitors and at first this seems like a great way to harness her energetic comedic chops, but before long I just wanted her to take a break. It’s weird to bring this up as a point but it’s noticeable because of how different that approach is. There’s moments where they can play with new camera angles due to this approach, but the content is funny without her needing to stand to make her different.
Thankfully though her comedy is right up there with John Oliver, and she manages to tackle heavy issues in a very approachable and yet still no nonsense way. However, and this is not a critique of Samantha herself but of everyone in this field, most of this stuff (especially opening monologues) tends to work the moment they happen. It felt like I was going back in history as I watched this season. Not in the way HBO’s drama Newsroom did, but rather in a ‘well that ended up not being true’ or ‘that’s old hat’ kind of way. Like I said, it is not just Bee who will have this problem in releasing their work on DVD or digitally, but it’s something that made some of the show quite a slog to watch.
SUMMARY: Samantha Bee tries, and for the most part achieves in creating a new political comedy show that stands next to tried and tested people like Bill Maher and John Oliver, however releasing old episodes of a TV show that is all about commentating on what is happening now is tough. As a standalone piece of entertainment it’s still worthy of your attention, especially those who want to speed up and have their political insight from someone fresh.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is available now on iTunes – Volume 1 & Volume 2.