Ever since 2005, Stephen Colbert has been ruling late night television on Comedy Central. Next year he will be leaving his post after ten years to take over for David Letterman on Late Show. This is a drastic change for Colbert, whose current show is a satirical version of The O’Reilly Factor. Will his current rapport with his audience get in the way of his success as himself on CBS?
Letterman announced his departure not even two months after Jimmy had taken over for Leno. I cannot say that I was surprised that by Letterman’s retirement. Everyone knew Fallon was going to be some serious competition. Fallon is more relevant and appealing to the precious 18-49 audience. He has a social media savviness that Letterman doesn’t have. So when Letterman “unexpectedly” announced his retirement, CBS needed a host that would supersede Jimmy’s popularity. Colbert already has a large and loyal audience from his show on Comedy Central, which make him a very good choice for Late Show.
After fourteen years, seven seasons, four movies, a cancellation, and a rebirth, Futurama has aired is series finale on Comedy Central. It has been a long and strange journey for the Planet Express crew, but that journey has finally reached its end. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, I suggest you stop reading here because this review contains spoilers.
“Meanwhile” started with a trip down memory lane, as the Planet Express crew delivered a package to the Moon. This of course is an ode to the crew’s first delivery from the second episode in the series. While on the moon, Leela is sucked into space and lost forever. Fry decides he can’t live without her and decided to marry her. The Professor invents a “Time Button” that allows you to go back in time ten seconds. He uses the seemingly useless device to play a trick on Zoidberg, but Fry realizes he can use the time button for his proposal.
Fry uses the button to get the perfect ring for Leela and tells her to meet him at the top of the Vampire State Building with her answer. When she doesn’t show up, Fry attempts to jump off the building only to realize his watch was wrong and Leela was on time. Fry falls into a time loop, which has him splattering on the pavement over and over again. While attempting to save them, the Professor is killed. It isn’t until Bender comes to the rescue with his air bag. The plan backfires, as Fry is saved, but he destroys the time button leaving everyone in the world frozen in time.
Ten years after creating one of the most recognized television families of all time, Matt Groening and company introduced us to a new kind of animated series. Futurama had a few similarities to The Simpsons. They both aired Sunday nights on Fox. The type of design and animation were similar. They even contained the same pop-culture referencing humor that has become synonymous with current generation comedies, such as South Park and v. Although they shared a few similarities, Futurama was very different from The Simpsons.
The Simpsons was and will always be one of Fox’s most beloved and successful series. Futurama may never reach that status, but it will go down as one of the funniest and original programs that Fox had the audacity to cancel after only four (almost five) seasons. Luckily after a successful string of straight to DVD releases, Comedy Central resurrected the cult series for four more seasons.
With the final episode airing this week, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit some of the things that made Futurama the under-appreciated heartwarming show that it is. Starting with some of the soul crushingly sad moments from the shows impressive seven-season run that spanned over fourteen years.
The series finale of Futurama airs on Comedy Central this Wednesday at 10 pm
5. When Fry is Late to Dinner with Leila Because of Time Travel
Season 6, Episode 7: “The Late Phillip J. Fry”
Fry never has any luck with time travel. One of the latest examples was in last season’s episode “The Late Phillip J. Fry.” Professor Farnsworth invents a time machine and before a date with Leela for her birthday and Fry, Bender, and the Professor end up going on an adventure through time. Unfortunately for Fry, the Professor fails to invent away to go back in time, only forward. They continue to travel further in time until they kind find a year where backwards time travel exists.
Back in the present, Leela is stood up by Fry, and is never seen again. The audience sees a dismal future that does not contain Fry, Bender, and the Professor. Leela’s future is successful, but loveless. She is mad at Fry for leaving and not explaining why. Years have passed a birthday card appears out of nowhere and hits future Leela in the face. The card is from Fry and it explains why he disappeared. Leela goes back to the restaurant and leaves a message for Fry to hopefully see in the future. Fry sees the heartfelt message left by Leela and says, “I made it, Leela. Sorry I’m a billion years late.”
Fry, Bender, and the Professor are unable to find away back to their time. They travel to the end of time and watch the destruction of the universe, only to realize the universe keeps restarting in a non-stop loop. By going further in time, they could get back to the time before they left. They come back in time to kill and replace themselves (avoiding a time paradox, according to the Professor). Fry gets to go on his date with Leela, and everything is right with the world.
The Jeselnik Offensive, hosted by Anthony Jeselnik, makes a point of being offensive. Actually, that’s the show’s entire schtick. It gets old fast. You shouldn’t be uncomfortable to laugh at a joke when you are alone, yet Jeselnik loves uncomfortable laughter. Jeselnik’s onstage persona is extremely punchable. It’s a mixture of Daniel Tosh, Craig Kilborn, and British comedian Jimmy Carr, who is one of the few people to pull off shock comedy well.
Most of his jokes are offensive because they are not funny. Asking your audience to turn off Amber Alert on their phones is in bad taste. Following it up with a joke about Usher’s son almost drowning in a pool is horrible. When he finally does get to a joke in poor taste that would be funny coming out of a comedian who would show some remorse, he’s already gone way too far.
An hour of stand up comedy can be hard to sustain, but Amy Schumer certainly did not show it. In her first solo television event, Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff, Schumer demonstrated that no matter how inappropriate she was being and no matter how uncomfortable the crowd got, she could still make them laugh. Schumer is a relatively young comic who still seemed to be establishing her identity in show business. On Saturday night, she finally got the chance to be the center of attention and did not disappoint. As the title of the special suggest, the humor is sexually explicit. It may dissatisfy some viewers, but the special clearly solidified Schumer’s audience type.
The special started off slow, but it picked up nicely. Schumer’s comedic style involves a lot of shock value and it is presented in such a way that it’s not always funny as much as it is simply offensive. It all depends on the premise of the joke. The good news is that there’s plenty of humor to make up for the weak points.
The Burn with Jeff Ross premiered on Comedy Central last night. Ross is is known for his ability to “roast” various celebrities, earning him the title of Roast Master. It seems like giving him a talk show would be a good idea. It certainly would be if he was at all funny. The show isn’t hard to watch or cringe worthy. It’s just boring. The Burn is meant to be a show that satirizes the lives of celebrities and pokes fun at current events. Ross did not do that at all. He made cheap puns at which the audience seemed to be prompted to chuckle. He insulted the celebrities mentioned in an attempt to be playful. They would be more enjoyable if the punchlines were funny or well thought out, but they just fell flat.
John Oliver’s NY Stand Up Show began its third season on Comedy Central last night. John Oliver hosts this show, which features short sets from both established and up-and-coming comedians. It once again succeeded in showcasing one of the barest forms of entertainment. There is something very enjoyable in watching one person share his or her observations in an attempt to make strangers laugh. This is the ultimate form of creative control.
John Oliver is a British comic and is well-known as a correspondent on The Daily Show. As host of this show, it almost seems he wants to be portrayed simply as the opening act. The truth is, he deserves more credit than that. Not only is he funny, but his show gives comedians a chance to gain a larger audience.
DirecTV is currently fighting with Viacom over their carriage agreements. If a settlement is not reached by tonight, 20 million DirecTV subscribers will lose 26 (including SD and HD) Viacom channels.
The 17 networks affected (without their corresponding HD channels) are:
- VH1 Classic
- Nick Jr.
- TV Land
- Comedy Central
Futurama opened its seventh season with two episodes on Wednesday night. Using futuristic settings to bring a satirical commentary on current popular culture, the show seems as good as ever. In its second season on Comedy Central, it seems more likely than ever that it will enjoy success for years to come.
The hour opened with a hilariously overblown red alert from Professor Farnsworth summoning the Planet Express crew. As it turns out, he installed a new soda machine. The crew was thrilled. This opening scene was very enjoyable and loyal to the usual dynamic of the group having disproportionate emotional reactions to what is happening around them. This seemed from the start like it was going to be a great episode.