Sunday, August 19, 2012

Real Time With Bill Maher #255 08/17/12

Chelsea Handler
Bill Maher is baaaack and he is as “badass” as ever.

On August 17, 2012, (episode 255) as usual, Bill had a smack-down rundown of the news in his opening monologue.  Paul Ryan got most of the abuse. Best line:  “Paul Ryan is an English-speaking version of Sarah Palin.” Pow! Double whammy!

Bill said Paul Ryan rails against government, but has worked his whole life in government and the only job Ryan ever held in the private sector was driving the Oscar Mayer Wiener Mobile while in high school.  Later on, he mentions that Chris Christie is going to be the keynote speaker at the Republican Convention. They lured Christie there by having Paul Ryan drive the Weiner Mobile. Pow! Double whammy!

There were three guests on the panel on the 8/17/12 show.  Alex Wagner who hosts the MSNBC show “Now with Alex Wagner,” a charming liberal; Mark Cuban who is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, a sensible middle-of-the roader; and Reihan Salam, who is a CNN contributor, a frothing-at-the-mouth conservative. They were later joined by Chelsea Handler, a smart and sassy comedian.

One of the problems I have with the Bill Maher show is that often the lone conservative is an obnoxious loud-mouth who dominates the show. He interrupts the others, talks over them, and generally makes civilized conversation impossible. Reihan Salam performed that role on this panel. Finally, Chelsea Handler had enough and told Mr. Salam, “You need to calm down.”  The audience cheered.  I just about jumped off my couch as I cheered at home. Chelsea, I love you!  You actually got that man to sit down and shut up and let someone else talk.

The worst shows are when Bill has two conservatives. I have to turn it off. The best shows are when he has three liberal-leaning guests. The conversation is great—intelligent and witty. I usually learn something. Are you listening, Bill?

However, I think this confrontational show is the kind of show Bill likes. On the 8/17/12 show he was talking about election politics, but his comment illuminates how he picks his panel. “The people want The Hunger Games. They want a bar fight.”  And that is what we get on his show most weeks.

“New Rules” is one of the best parts of the show. It closes the show and it is always outrageously funny.  Bill gently bends “The Rules” from jokes to serious (yet still humorous) commentary. On the 8/17/12 show he commented on the Republicans’ plan of voter suppression—suppression of the voters who are most likely to vote Democratic. He said the Republican get-out-the vote philosophy was, “You’re here to vote? Get out!”  Then he suggested we bring back literacy tests for the tea-partiers.  Question #1: What was the name of the World War that preceded World War II? He expects that that one would remove most tea-partiers from the voter rolls.

It was a good show.  I’d give it a 7 on a 10 point scale where 5 is “So-So” and 10 is “Amazing!”  Bill, Mark, and Alex were able to refute Raihan pretty well, and Chelsea delivered the knock-out punch. Chelsea is a delight; she fairly sparkles. Bring her back, Bill!

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P.S.  My focus on this blog is usually drama, comedy and dramedy shows, but maybe once in a while I can include some other types of shows, like “Real Time with Bill Maher” or a made for TV movie.