While the many men of the late night show landscape continue to rule the format in 2016, a newcomer stormed the scene last month. Samantha Bee isn’t new to television. She was a breakout star on the Jon Stewart-led Daily Show. But her new basic cable show on TBS Full Frontal stands strong as new voice of political satire. In short, you should add this to your weekly viewing schedule.
Full Frontal is young. There have only been five episodes, but each one is seemingly stronger than the last. That’s an impressive feat when it premiered well to begin with thanks to a perfect mockumentary that gave a behind-the-scenes look at the now defunct Jeb Bush campaign. The show is as clever, insightful and laugh-out-loud funny as shows that have a similar brand of topical comedy like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and her previous employer The Daily Show.
Bee burst onto her set in those first episodes like she was meant for it. She’s comfortable in front of her live studio audience and modern set of large TV screens that hilariously prompt her unique brand of political satire. With shows like Real Time with Bill Maher, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore and of course all the aforementioned it’s hard to believe there’s room for another left leaning comedy show about modern politics. Bee keeps it fresh by creating a mix of talking points that tackle the news of the week, as well as original interviews on topics that aren’t getting that much in-depth coverage elsewhere. It’s not quite as obscure as John Oliver’s recent discussion on ghost governments, but it’s content that can’t be found elsewhere.
In week two, Bee unveiled the footage from her recent trip to Jordan to speak to Syrian refugees there, plus talked to the a representative from the State Department about the vetting process of similar refugees. Episode four tackled the red tape surrounding abortion laws in southern states. Texas has shut down many of its abortion clinics thanks to legislation that makes it nearly impossible for clinics to adhere to unrealistic guidelines. That episode featured an excellent and alarming one-on-one interview with Bee and Texas lawmaker Dan Flynn. Check out clips from that episode below.
Will right wing viewers enjoy Full Frontal? Probably not, but Bee and company research the show’s topics rigorously enough that it may turn some right heads left. Comedy is a pretty universal language. It’s possible that conservatives are able to enjoy the show without agreeing with it, but I doubt that there’s a Fox News feature in Samantha Bee’s future.
Early indications are that Full Frontal is a new mainstay in the realm of comedic late night TV thanks to strong early ratings and a quality run of the first few episodes. Now the battle is getting her on more than just once a week.