Nat’s Best of 2016: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
I almost didn’t bother writing about what I considered the best of this past year because I’m not-so-secretly yearning for a giant meteor. OK, that’s melodramatic, but right now everything hurts, and there’s no end to said hurting in sight. As someone who devoted six years of her life to studying political systems, both in the United States and around the world, this year has been agonizing for me, both personally and professionally. I’m stuck in a perpetual state of anxiety because all of the norms that governed political behavior have been thrown out the window; I’m questioning everything I thought I knew.
Because of this, I’ve been trying to find ways to distract myself from the suffering and, for me, one of the best ways to do so is humor. This brings me to my pick for the best of 2016: TBS’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”
I’ve been a fan of Samantha Bee’s since she was on “The Daily Show.” She’s sharp, she’s passionate, and she’s funny as hell—all qualities that are prominently on display in “Full Frontal.” Whether she’s slamming the NRA for making it impossible to rent or buy an Eddie Eagle (the NRA’s mascot) costume while allowing her to buy an absurd amount of firearms or ripping on Ted Cruz, Bee kept me laughing even while my political anxiety grew. When we officially entered the darkest timeline, “Full Frontal” still managed to find the humor in the pain a lot of Americans felt. The post-election episode is a bittersweet moment; Bee was an ardent Clinton supporter, and to see her out there cracking jokes the day after the election helped me start processing what had just happened and reminded me that the show that is my life must go on, as well.
Is “Full Frontal” perfect? No. I’d argue that “The Daily Show” under Jon Stewart wasn’t perfect either, though. Is watching “Full Frontal” an adequate substitute, for example, a subscription to a major newspaper? Of course not. The show certainly seeks to inform (they did a particularly eye-opening segment on Catholic hospitals and pregnancy termination), but they’re not CNN, nor, I’m guessing, would they want to be—but who’s to say we can’t learn something while being entertained? Bee and company seem to understand that when you’re caught in the storm, all you can do is hold tight, try to laugh about it, and know that you’re not alone.
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” airs on TBS 10:30pm on Mondays (though I believe they’re moving to Wednesdays for the second season) and all episodes are available online via the “Full Frontal” YouTube channel.