Saturday, May 12, 2007

Colbert Report

I can feel confident when I refer to myself as "The TV Sherpa" because I have over 50 years of TV watching experience. I recently came across this photo of me when I was 1. I'm not even sure the TV was on. It's hard to tell because the TV wasn't the greatest, nor was the camera. I'm pretty sure the camera was a Kodak Brownie, but who knows about the TV. Anyway, I have been watching plenty of TV lately, keeping up my usual grueling schedule of 16 hours per day. Yes, I am willing to do all this to bring everyone the reviews of the best (ok, sometimes "best" is an overenthusiastic term for the dreck I often watch) of TV shows not on the major channels. TV was once described as a vast wasteland. I consider it a sun soaked beach, and I walk along it with a metal detector. I find a lot of rusty bottlecaps, but I also find some cash and fine jewelry.

One of my all-time favorite shows is The Colbert Report. This spin off of The Daily Show with John Stewart is a send up of various "newsy" type shows. I'm sure there is a term for these shows. Infotainment may not quite be it, but it works on some level. Colbert (leave off the "T" both in his name and in report) himself has a very dry, sincere, yet almost deadpan delivery at times that works well when doing a spoof type show. He will stare into the camera, and address the audience as "Nation." He refers to us, his audience as "Heroes." Other times, he just goes so over the top that he is hilarious. Colbert does numerous "threatdowns." These are various threats to America, such as nuclear proliferation and bears. And he ranks them according to severity. Bears are either at the top, or very close to it. He is right on any story involving bears vs. man.

Almost daily, he has guests on his show, and these interviews are instant classics. Stephan manages to spin whatever they say to fit his faux "agenda" and "wins" every debate. The live audience seemingly cheers every utterance. Another very funny addition to this show is the "Dead to Me" list. On it, he has several groups that are, well, dead to him. He also does a segment "Better Know a District" in which he meets with the representative of a district and focuses on some tiny, unimportant detail. Again, it comes off much better than I could describe it. My favorite segment is "The Word." He will give his take on some subject, which is the word for the day, and on the split screen will be text disputing whatever he says. No way could I ever accurately portray the effect with mere words on this page. It has to be seen to be experienced properly. Colbert keeps the show fresh by having a tremendous mix of different segments. He avoids letting things become stale by repeating them ad nauseum. Every show is familiar, yet fresh and new. A perfect blend for this Sherpa.

The Colbert Report is on Comedy Central Monday to Thursday at 11:30 EST, immediately following the Daily Show. It is reported the following day several times throughout the day.

I rate it a perfect 10.

It's been a while, so here's a quick review of my ratings system:

10--a prime show. The Sopranos or 24 would rate a 10.

9-- definately worth watching. Think South Park or Seinfeld re-runs. Not as funny as the first time, but still great TV fare.

8-- Pretty darn good stuff. If you can't be home, you'd consider setting up the VCR. Some solid 8's would be Earl, or Everybody Hates Chris.

7-- Not quite good enough to tape. But you can look forward to watching. The Office is the first show that comes to mind as a 7.

6--Now we get into the shows that are ok, but only a first choice if other shows are re-runs.You won't mind watching a 6 at a different time. Britcoms are 6's.

5-- Think of a movie you liked, but have seen a dozen times or more.You'd choose the movie over the program, then the program is a 5. Mash and almost everything on TVLAND has become a 5.

4--Crappy show, but with some redeeming quality, like it features hot chicks. Any show with Pam Anderson would be a 4.

3--Only worth watching if the only alternative is infommercials. Fishing shows are 3.

2-- About the same as a good infommercial. QVC is a 2.

1-- Infommercials, unless they are The Knife Collector Show. They sell swords!