For many of us, the rancorous 2004 presidential election would have been unbearable without Jon Stewart to help cushion the blows. "The Daily Show's" blend...
For many of us, the rancorous 2004 presidential election would have been unbearable without Jon Stewart to help cushion the blows.
“The Daily Show’s” blend of high-brow satire and low-brow comedy brought a much-needed anarchic spirit to the partisan proceedings. Now that the show’s election coverage has been released on a three-DVD set, it does raise one question: Why would we want to live through all that again?
As it turns out, you don’t have to be a masochist to enjoy watching “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004” (Paramount, three discs, $39.99) — or even a liberal, for that matter. It’s no secret which way “The Daily Show” leans politically, but this is equal-opportunity satire.
Stephen Colbert, for instance, calls Kerry “a bland career politician who couldn’t make an ice cube melt in the small of Halle Berry’s back,” and his send-up of John Edwards’ “my father was a millworker” shtick is one of the funniest things in the set. (Colbert’s own father was “a poor Virginia turd-miner,” he tells us.)
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“Indecision 2004” includes four episodes from the Democratic Convention, four from the Republican Convention, one following the first Bush-Kerry debate, and the election-night special, “Prelude to a Recount.” Fun extras include a Schoolhouse Rock!-style primer on midterm elections, the Swift Boat parody “Continental Skiff Boat Oarsmen for Veracity,” and John Edwards’ announcement of his candidacy. (“We’re a fake show, so I want you to know this may not count,” Stewart advises.)
Evidently fake news doesn’t age at the same rate as the real thing, because nothing here feels stale. On the contrary, Stewart’s topical satire feels more urgent as the country’s political memory grows shorter. Perhaps we should bury “Indecision 2004” as a time capsule, so future generations can understand absurdities we won’t be able to explain.
Mary Park is a Seattle-based writer: Mary Park firstname.lastname@example.org