- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 09 March 2016
- Written by BRIDGET NOCERA | STAFF WRITER
With this past year seeing some of its biggest changes yet, late night television was still missing something.
David Letterman passed The Late Show torch to Stephen Colbert back in September, and while Colbert can still absolutely hold his own, it’s hard not to miss the energetic spark he had during his Colbert Report days. Speaking of Comedy Central, Trevor Noah is doing his absolute best in leading The Daily Show, but is it even the same show without Jon Stewart at the helm? John Oliver is covering excellent stories on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, but not everyone has an HBO subscription (or the nerve to illegally stream it). And, of course, there’s no shortage of mild, yet funny hosts who most people just wait to watch until the next day on YouTube (looking at you, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and James Corden).
The people needed someone new and fresh. Someone who, in this landscape where everything is starting to look uncannily the same, breaks the established mold. Someone who knows their platform is important and takes every minute of it to make a statement. Someone who isn’t afraid to make people uncomfortable, or make themselves look a little crazy. Or really, someone to finally say, “You know what? I think I’m kinda done with sausages.”
Insert comedienne Samantha Bee.
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, which began on Feb. 8 on TBS and airs every Monday at 10:30 p.m., is the weird, startlingly honest, and hilarious late night show that the current television scene has been sorely missing until now. Full Frontal, the only show on late night with a female host, is political satire at it’s most biting and gutsy.
The success of Full Frontal can be owed to the one and only Samantha Bee, who is incredibly game for each and every joke or skit. She’s not afraid to act manic or foolish, breaking the stereotype that a host (more likely, a female host) should keep perfect composure. Every minute of the much-too-short Full Frontal is full of constant jabs, and Bee refuses to waste even a second of that time. She grabs your attention by the first moment and never lets you go, making the show endlessly entertaining.
For any fan of late night television, or more specifically, The Daily Show, Bee’s comic ability should be no surprise. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Bee was performing in a sketch comedy troupe when The Daily Show hired her. After becoming a correspondent in 2003, she helmed an impressive string of interviews, sketches, and other pieces that solidified her as one of the show’s best assets (her “Passion and Intrigue on The Five” one-woman show sketch is a career highlight). When she left the show in April of 2015, just four months prior to Jon Stewart’s departure, her 12-year run made her the longest-serving correspondent, and many called for her to succeed Stewart at The Daily Show desk.
Despite not taking over The Daily Show, her deal with TBS, with the ability to create and control her own political satire show, has allowed her much more leeway to do what she wants. The pieces Bee seemed most passionate about while a Daily Show correspondent all involved certain issues: feminism, abortion rights, race and gender discrimination, and more. Full Frontal has been able to focus on these issues and more, even in just its first few episodes. A documentary-style look at Jeb Bush’s failing presidential campaign, Bee’s trip to Jordan to interview Syrian refugees, and her “Job Fair for Future Women” are all original, frank, and unexpectedly scathing looks at contemporary issues with a new perspective.
If there is one negative that Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is faced with, it’s the show’s weekly schedule. Airing only once a week does have it drawbacks, no matter how inventive the show can be. It’s hard to cover topics that numerous shows have already commented on throughout the week, and it’s not always a viable option to ignore it all together. It’s an easy problem to fix though, and Full Frontal is already on it. Instead of focusing on the news of the week or day, the show has begun dedicating more time to stories that do not usually get covered, or looking at a smaller part of a bigger story. If Full Frontal can master this, there’s no telling how good it can get.
There is no doubt that Full Frontal with Samantha Bee is a hilarious show that brings a whole new perspective to an overly saturated landscape. Bee is fantastic, and the show seems to be bursting with new ideas. While the tagline for the show is “Watch or You’re Sexist,” it should really be “Watch or You’re Missing Out on The Best New Show on Television.”
IMAGE TAKEN from nytimes.com