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S01.E15: Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

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In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces.

 

Fifteen episodes already!

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Tonight at 11 on @HBO we'll be covering exactly what you'd think we'd be covering from this week's news.

This is the last new episode until Sept. 7.

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I attended a taping of tonight's episode. No spoilers, but I will say that I have attended tapings of MANY TV shows, including multiple Letterman, Conan, Colbert and "Daily Show" eps, and this was the worst-organized, most unpleasant experience I have ever had at a taping. You'd think after 15 weeks that they would have gotten it down by now. We were ushered into a TINY, poorly ventilated room where we had to wait for over an hour (we had been told to arrive no later than 5:15 and that the taping would begin at 5:45 -- it started at 6:45). It took FOREVER to get the audience seated. It's a large audience, probably over 200 people. Since some of the seats off to the side are, I guess, considered "bad seats," the audience person filled us in according to time of arrival, so people who got there earlier were seated more toward the middle. Which is nice, I suppose (I was pretty early), but it just took ages. The warm-up comedian was OK -- he mainly seemed interested to hear if there was anyone visiting from a foreign country. By the time I finally got out of the holding pen, I was feeling pretty faint. The studio was fairly warm by TV show standards. John Oliver took 4 questions -- someone asked the question I was hoping to hear, whether or not Andy Zaltzman would ever appear (answer: "maybe"). Somebody asked what the difference is between LWT and hosting TDS, and he said that Jon Stewart wasn't there to help him out if he "broke" the show. Another person asked what he misses most about TDS, and John pretended to be mock-upset that we were making him sad right before the show taped.

 

Best parts: we got to see a tiny bit of the Carlos Danger dance, and he did a Fred Armisen-as-Joy Behar imitation that was pretty funny (leading into the taping of one of the YouTube extras that will go up during the 2 dark weeks). And the show itself was typically excellent. It went very smoothly with just one tiny retake at the end. I doubt I'll go back to be an audience member unless I've heard that they've worked out the kinks. If they were busy doing last minute rewrites, rehearsals, etc., it would have been nice to HEAR that, instead of just leaving us to sweat in that cramped room with no updates from the audience coordinators.

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Sorry to hear about your wait to get inside, trow. But at least the taping went alright. And at least someone asked Ollie about whether we'll get a chance to see Andy on his show (so you're saying there's a chance?!!). One question: was that turd in the photo pixilated for you guys? Or were you forced to see it in all its "glory"? Because if it was the latter, you have my deepest sympathies.

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That's really interesting trow125. I went to a taping in June, on the hottest day of the summer I think, and studio and holding room were pleasantly cool and we didn't have to wait very long at all. Also, we had access to snacks and could bring water into the studio. The staff was also very professional, and my friend who has also been to many different tapings was pleased with the experience. I wonder if they've changed staff recently? Sorry to hear your experience was bad. Someone asked If Andy Zaltzman would come on at my taping too and John said he hoped so.

 

That little girl who pitched the shut out in little league is awesome. I'm going to have to look her up. Another strong show.

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Sorry to hear about your wait to get inside, trow. But at least the taping went alright. And at least someone asked Ollie about whether we'll get a chance to see Andy on his show (so you're saying there's a chance?!!). One question: was that turd in the photo pixilated for you guys? Or were you forced to see it in all its "glory"? Because if it was the latter, you have my deepest sympathies.

 

We only saw it on the (relatively small) monitor, and it looked like the typical cartoon representation of a turd -- my husband & I actually mentioned it later, and he said it looked like "soft serve chocolate ice cream" (sorry for that image!). And you're telling me THAT was pixellated and the full frontal nudity a few weeks ago was not? Hmm. I didn't think HBO ever pixellated anything!

 

BTW, I think everyone will really enjoy the web extra videos, which will go up at 11 PM ET on the following two Sundays. The one for the 31st is bonkers. I'll tell you more about the filming of that after it's been released.

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Another good episode. I really liked that John covers two mainstream topics so quickly and succintly. I always enjoy some additional gender analysis and especially on this show. 

 

I'll miss the show when it is on hiatus, but looking forward to the web series and hearing more about the taping @trow125 . Thanks for sharing!

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 And you're telling me THAT was pixellated and the full frontal nudity a few weeks ago was not? 

No, it wasn't pixilated. 

 

I wonder what was going on that led to the bad experience you had. One thing is that it sounds like the A/C wasn't functioning properly, since both the holding room and the studio weren't cool. Maybe they were trying to fix that before the show. *shrug* In any case, it would have been nice if they'd explained or apologized to you all.

 

Good show. I really don't understand people defending the police or how the authorities are handling this. Also, I guess the show didn't have time (or it happened too late) to include the speech by Capt Johnson (of the Missouri Highway Patrol) at the rally in Ferguson. It was fantastic and much needed, though I'm sure there are some people you are criticizing him for "bringing race into this."

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Good show. I really don't understand people defending the police or how the authorities are handling this. Also, I guess the show didn't have time (or it happened too late) to include the speech by Capt Johnson (of the Missouri Highway Patrol) at the rally in Ferguson. It was fantastic and much needed, though I'm sure there are some people you are criticizing him for "bringing race into this."

 

What person could be so stupid as to imagine or suggest that race was not "in this" to begin????????

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What person could be so stupid as to imagine or suggest that race was not "in this" to begin????????

 

From all reports, just about anyone and everyone in charge of the situation there.  Oliver's line about a white guy snorting cocaine sounds like it was spot-on.

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I know it's been 10 years, but "let's make the jail cells more colorful" was a perfect opening for a Martha Stewart joke and they didn't do it!

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No, it wasn't pixilated.

 

Well you're a braver person than I am for seeing through it. I find I quickly turn away from anything fecal related in a heartbeat.

 

A fine show last night. Given they're off for the next two weeks, I wonder if they had planned on showcasing pay inequality between men and women before they turned their attention to Ferguson, Missouri and all the bullshit that went down the past week.

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I am generally repulsed by all human secretions; saliva is in my top 3.  :-)

 

I worked for an upscale sleepy little California beach town who did a booming business in asset forfeiture toys, back in the day.  They got an armored swatmobile and a "mobile command center"  back in the late 1980s.  They still haven't had an emergency requiring either vehicle.  (But then, this was a place that bought a fire ladder truck when there were no structures over 2 stories permitted).

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I'm sorry the taping was such an uncomfortable, unorganized experience, trow, perhaps John Oliver was aware of the problem, even if it wasn't explained leading to the comment about Stewart not being there to help if John broke this show?

So, this is as good a time to mention as any that I'm currently in a suburb of St. Louis. I'm not from here and sweet lords of mercy (and the power of the universe) here's hoping we're not staying here much longer. The episode was good, the situation is horrible and it's particularly difficult to laugh at when we're so close to it. That said, I admire John's piece on it :)

I don't have a problem with the speech given by the Captain in the State Patrol being left out. It was an excellent speech, but it sadly couldn't fix much of anything because this is a situation that has been going on far too long. The shooting just brought it to a head. The racial balance on that police force (which is also Dellwood as well as Ferguson) really illustrates that the shooting was a catalyst, vs. the entirety of the problem. The speech was wonderful, but it had as much impact as spitting on a forest fire does when trying to put out an inferno.

I have to say, it's pretty disturbing how little things are actually disrupted in St. Louis. Ferguson isn't just proximate, it's part of St. Louis County. We've got the freaking National Guard here now.

John Oliver did a really good show on a topic that's super difficult to hear about right now -- I think for everyone, but particularly anyone nearby -- and I felt like crawling under the couch when he said they were off for two weeks. Thank goodness TDS is back tonight.

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John Oliver did a really good show on a topic that's super difficult to hear about right now -- I think for everyone, but particularly anyone nearby -- and I felt like crawling under the couch when he said they were off for two weeks. Thank goodness TDS is back tonight.

 

Regrettably, we still have another week to go before TDS returns. It'll be back the day after the Emmys (Aug. 26).

 

I watched the YouTube clip about Ferguson -- since I usually watch on HBO I hadn't seen it on YouTube before, and I noticed that the "f" words were bleeped (though "fuck" was still visible on the mailbox and I think they forgot to bleep one toward the end). Maybe the turd was blurred on YouTube but not on HBO?

 

Also, there was a SWAT raid on an alleged pot dealer two doors down from my house last year, at around 5 AM one weekday morning. I live in an extremely quiet suburb so it was very odd to see all of those armored vehicles and cops in riot gear on my leafy little street. Apparently they were worried he would try to flee. He's still living there (in a garage apartment), so I guess it was all for naught. John's piece definitely brought back memories of that morning.

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Regrettably, we still have another week to go before TDS returns. It'll be back the day after the Emmys (Aug. 26).

Gah and argh. Okay, thanks though! Good to know.

If anyone needs me I'll be under the sofa with a collection of dust bunnies and despair.

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Also, there was a SWAT raid on an alleged pot dealer two doors down from my house last year, at around 5 AM one weekday morning. I live in an extremely quiet suburb so it was very odd to see all of those armored vehicles and cops in riot gear on my leafy little street. Apparently they were worried he would try to flee. He's still living there (in a garage apartment), so I guess it was all for naught. John's piece definitely brought back memories of that morning.

 

In the documentary How To Make Money Selling Drugs they interview a former state trooper (I want to say from Texas but I'm guessing) who made his career through minor drug busts on highways and moved up to "SWAT raids" (he called them "no-knock raids") on drug busts.  He described "no-knock raids" as the scariest thing imaginable for the targets and was near tears remembering the hundreds of raids he had conducted during his time on the force.

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I thought the little shout out to Robin Williams in the opening credits was very sweet. I missed it the first time, and only saw it on rewatch.

I know that it has to exist out there, but feel compelled to ask: is there a place on-line that has the credits 'explained'? 

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I had no idea they swapped out images in the open. I usually ff through them. Hmm. Now I'll have to notice. (Shades of the names on the TDS globe!)

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I had no idea they swapped out images in the open. I usually ff through them.

Same here. I guess I'll have to start watching them.

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The new image is always the final one -- it's a bit of an Easter egg to viewers who either look quickly or pause their DVRs, sort of like the ever-changing word or phrase in Stephen Colbert's opening credits. The rest of them are usually the same.

If you want to see it in a large format, go to this web site -- you can pause it to your heart's content, and the lettering is legible.

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Hee! Tyranus Secondus over a picture of Kim Jong-un!  

 

Thank you for the link, trow because prior to that I'd only seen Hostus Mostus and like Totale I've gone an obscenely large screen.  

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