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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that nothing is sacred on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It skewers everything to do with politics -- Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal -- to great success (and with heaps of glee). Despite referring to his show as the "fake news," Stewart is one of the few folks out there who puts stories in context and points out the constant contradictions coming out of Washington and corporate America. But younger kids won't get or appreciate the humor -- and given the sometimes-crass subjects, that's probably for the best.
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What's the story?
THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART reports on the day's events, with host Jon Stewart and his crew painting a painfully hilarious picture of life in America and putting it in perspective with the world at large. There's no denying that the show is funny, combining Stewart's at-the-news-desk reports, taped field pieces, and in-studio interviews. The pre-taped segments mix deadpan humor with insight into issues that other news programs would never cover. In one episode, for example, correspondent Jason Jones visited small-town Ohio to interview a political candidate who wanted to legalize drunk driving. Instead of approaching the topic in a sobering (pardon the pun), earnest manner, he managed to capture the absurdity of the whole process by mining it for laughs.
Is it any good?
The genius of Stewart and the rest of the cast is that they get viewers to ponder huge issues -- back to drunk driving, for instance, which is a problem long cast aside as a rallying point now that many other causes have taken center stage -- without boring them with too much gravitas and zeal. The guest interviews are first-rate, too: irreverent, off the cuff, and candid. They reveal more about the actors, politicians, and celebrities who chat with Stewart than any five-minute appearance on a pandering late-night talk show.
In short, there's not much to hate about The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and a lot to love. No wonder it has uber-loyal fans who watch it unfailingly. Too bad the real McCoys -- the six o'clock news broadcasts -- aren't anywhere near as entertaining. Nevertheless, thanks to its subject matter (which is mature in all senses of the word), the show is best for older teens and grown-ups.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about current events and what's going on in the world around them. How do The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's "reporters" use sarcasm to make their points? What are their points? Is the daily news truly that funny in real life? What makes it so?
Stewart often refers to what he does as the "fake news," but many of his fans say they get most of their news from his show -- is that responsible behavior? Does Stewart have a responsibility to those viewers to present his information accurately, or does humor trump that?
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