The Daily Show: Indecision 2004

Synopsis: The 2004 Race for the White House was one of the most memorable presidential elections of the last five years. Now relive it again – and again – and, that’s enough – with this exquisitely packaged heirloom collection.

This set brings together some of the most repackageable moments from Indecision 2004, including Election Night ’04: Prelude to a Recount, Democratic National Convention: Race from the White House, and Republican National Convention: Target New York.

The Daily Show: Indecision 2004 8.0

eyelights: Steven Colbert, Joe Biden, John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zell Miller
eyesores: Samantha Bee, Rob Corddry

Another year, another election. No wonder people don’t vote – there’s always someone campaigning somewhere and all you want to do is tune their blather out. It’s totally out of control, and I’m wondering if maybe we should just put restrictions on elections and voting, such as:

-only having elections every seven years, seven months and seven days. Seven is a lucky number, so maybe we’d elect someone decent for once – someone smart, unbiased and somewhat selfless. Plus which the consistently changing election date would keep us on our toes.

-randomly swapping the parties that candidates represent to see if people will still vote for them – or just vote for their favourite party irrespective of who the candidate is. Would George Bush have won four more years as a Democrat? Would Stephen Harper have gotten a majority for the Green Party?

-having all the elections (regional/state/national/etc.) on the same day. Sure, it’d be a cluster!@#$ trying to keep up with all the candidates and issues and the voting process would be an excruciatingly lengthy one, but it’s a small price to pay for democracy – and for the luxury of not having to worry about it for at least four more years.

-being required to have a higher IQ than one’s candidates to be eligible to vote. Let’s face it: MOST people are either idiots or are relatively-smart, but uninformed people. Then there’s the rest of us. I figure that, if the voters were smarter than their candidates, at least there’d be a good chance that they’d pick someone who could do the job. Finally.

-no more lawyers, business people, military or clergy in public office. They’ve all caused enough damage as it is. Let someone else do some damage. Maybe we should elect a kindergartener for once. Seriously, if our politicians had enough heart and patience to care for children all day long, were able to handle a bunch of random mental midgets for hours on end, and could find compromises between them, they could probably hold office too.

Um, yeah. I don’t know what’s gotten over me. Must be election fever. Sorry, folks…

Let’s change the channel: why don’t we recap the 2004 election before going ahead with the rest of our upcoming election-themed programming?

2004 was an election that many had been eager to hold for years. George W Bush was considered by a solid number of people as an illegitimate President because of that silly kerfuffle in Florida back in 2000. For some, the 2004 election was a way to rewrite history and get the so-called “bum” out of the White House once and for all. Legally. Granted, it didn’t turn out quite that way, but that was what millions of people were hoping for.

The Daily Show covered the 2004 election campaign and peppered it with its usual wit throughout. It was a success (hardly surprising: ‘The Daily Show’ has won 17 Primetime Emmys – two of them for the 2004 season) and it was released as a boxed set, featuring the highlights as well as a few new bits. Perhaps someone wanted to boast about their success, or wanted to shove this bitter reminder in the now-hopeless Democrats’ faces. Either way, it’s a great set.

The episodes
Day 1 of the Democratic Convention: A very funny overview of the convention highlights, including intros by each correspondent, with one key misstep: the tour of Boston with Rob Corddry. It was sort of lame. 7.75

Day 2 of the Democratic Convention: More convention coverage including a small spotlight on an up-and-coming Senator by the name of Barack Obama. This episode also features a surprisingly amusing interview with Senator Joe Biden. 7.5

Day 3 of the Democratic Convention: This one features a farcical “tribute” to John Kerry, as well as a hilarious bit by Steven Colbert and a memorable speech by Rev. Al Sharpton. 7.75

Day 4 of the Democratic Convention: The final episode of this set takes the p!$$ out of John Kerry’s acceptance speech, and features a fairly humourous commentary by Lewis Black. 7.5

Day 1 of the Republican Convention: A hilarious resume of the convention thus far by Steven Colbert. He also does a tongue-in-cheek tour of New York City that had me chuckling. The featured guest is Ted Koppel, whose banter with Jon Stewart had its droll moments. 8.0

Day 2 of the Republican Convention: This one was something: it featured a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger that was as creepy as it was bold. Jon Stewart’s remarks on Ahnold’s chilling tubthumping were awesome. Then the White House’s Director of Communications was interviewed by Stewart. 8.0

Day 3 of the Republican Convention: A special video “tribute” to George W. Bush was featured on this one. Obviously, in The Daily Show’s hands, it was a rip-roarer. Then there was Zell Miller’s fiery tirade, which ended with Miller challenging newscaster Chris Matthews to a duel. Then there a pleasant but bland interview with John McCain 7.75

Day 4 of the Republican Convention: Bush’s acceptance speech was the focus of this episode, and the show closed with an overview of the week by Rob Corddry. For some reason, this was the weakest show of the bunch. Ho-hum. 7.0

The special features disc offered a series of short snippets with all of the correspondent (as well as John Edward’s official announcement of his candidacy on the show), and the following episodes:

The Squabble in Coral Gabbles: This one takes place on the first Presidential debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry. There were some outrageous moments, especially Bush’s frequent stumbles, which made him look like a total amateur. Obviously, the footage was cherry-picked by the The Daily Show staff, but these lapses into grade-school calibre debating from the President himself was anything but inspiring. We laughed our @$$es off during this show. 8.5

Prelude to a Recount: This special, hour-long, Election night coverage was quite amusing because it started with a recap of the last election, as though the election were a Dynasty-style soap opera. The coverage itself was middling because it depended on receiving poll results at a regular pace – which didn’t happen. By the show’s end, the numbers had barely moved. They had moved enough, however, for the mood of the studio audience to have grown sullen. There were a number of amusing guests, however, including Steve Carell and Rev. Al Sharpton (who looked so burned out from campaigning that his no-holds-barred loquaciousness was quite impressive). 7.0

The Daily Show’s main crew
Samantha Bee: Although my partner found her funny, I found her uninspired; I guess I just didn’t get it. I found that her bits rarely had teeth and it often had very little to do with what was going on in the rest of the show. She did shine quite spectacularly during the last two episodes, however, which redeemed her in my eyes. 5.5

Steven Colbert: Well, what can I say? I’d watch the show strictly for him. I love his personage of an uncompassionate conservative d!ckwad, who also happens to highlight the flaws in this philosophy through exaggeration or by saying quite the opposite of what he means. I find most of his bits rather clever, actually, and his delivery absolutely poifect. 8.5

Rob Corddry: Perhaps too dorky for my tastes, and sometimes abrasive. I like his style, I like his verve, but I just didn’t like the jokes – I rarely laughed. And sometimes, I just wanted to skip his bits. It’s unfortunate, because I do see talent in his performances. I just didn’t connect. 5.5

Ed Helms: He was a hit and miss one for me. I actually never disliked the character, but I often found him rather flat. I got a few chuckles out of him from time to time, however. 7.0

Jon Stewart: Overall, I was quite pleased with Jon Stewart’s hosting of the show. He was sharp, seemingly well-prepared for his interviews, knew when to mug the camera for effect and was quite funny throughout. 7.75

I also quite enjoyed the announcer’s comments before and after the commercial breaks. They were often sarcastic and I had to rewind a few times because they came flying by so quickly that we missed them.

Suffice to say that I enjoyed this humourous coverage so much that I wish I could tune in for this year’s election. Hopefully they’ll release this one on DVD as well (although since the 2004 election coverage has been the only one thus far, I highly doubt it).

I got my first real taste of The Daily Show through their book, ‘America’, and through Steven Colbert, and I must say that they are quite a crew. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and many people choose to tune in to them instead of the real news.

…which ‘The Daily Show’ isn’t. By the way. (Just sayin’, ’cause some people actually don’t seem to know that).

Date of viewing: various, but completed on October 23, 2012

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