John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Takes on Sugar, Doug Ford

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight Takes on Sugar, Doug Ford


John Oliver, the British Daily Show alum, has had his own show for quite some time now and he jut gets better with each successive episode. Catering to the outrage-lovers who watch HBO, he attacked the very reason America celebrate Halloween at all: candy. The main part of his show was taken up with talking about the excess of sugar America eats and the attempts of the sugar industry to keep people from knowing just how much they are consuming. He also spent time talking about what the Russians did last week, how the media talks about Ebola, and interviewed Jane Goodall who politely told him to shoo in Chimpanzee speak. Overall, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight’s take on Sugar and even the Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford (who is absolutely a relation to Rob Ford) was a great way to start the week.

Oliver started off with a recap of what had happened during the previous week, specifically the news that a Russian sub had been detected off the coast of Sweden. The British host noted that the confusion that is Ikea’s store experience is enough to make anyone want to attack Sweden, but in this case he had to be a little skeptical. A grainy picture of a possible submarine in the water was just a little too ridiculous for him to ignore. “It could be anything!” he exclaimed, including Jaws or the Loch Ness monster. As a former resident of the United Kingdom, Oliver was able to give the Swedish people a tip about investigating the picture: do not give up the search after a week. Scotland should be their example on this, considering the effort the country has put in to finding Nessie since the first blurry photograph of the monster was revealed. Besides, maybe Nessie was in Sweden for a vacation and it was not the Russians at all.

Next, Oliver took on the media’s portrayal of the New York doctor now in quarantine with Ebola. After tracking his movements to a bowling alley, he told the audience that of course he had been to a bowling alley in the middle of the week. As a white male in his 30s, where else would he be? Next he noted the upgrade in the doctor’s relationship status as the media said he had a girlfriend and then a fiance. Once again, the media should have assumed he was engaged. As a 33-year-old doctor, any woman in a relationship with him would have “locked that s— down.” Finally, he applauded the common sense advice given by the media to not eat strange mucus on the subway while there are fears of Ebola. Of course, Oliver reminded his audience, once Ebola is gone, everyone can go back to eating random bodily fluids off the street as usual.

The main segment John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight episode took on sugar, which may have contributed to Doug Ford and his brother’s obesity. Except for the fact that researchers cannot agree on whether sugar contributes to conditions like obesity and diabetes. Of course, most of the researchers who find no evidence to support tha theory are funded by the sugar industry, but without a consensus, the fate of the Fords will simply be indeterminable. The FDA has been trying to regulate all the added sugar that producers put in their products, but there is a problem with what measurement to use. The sweetener industry has asked that a simple measurement like teaspoons not be used since it would damage the factual nature of nutrition facts, which are usually measured by the metric system. Oliver very helpfully had a solution: measure the amount of added sugar in a product using Circus Peanuts. He encouraged his viewers to use the hashtag “Show us your peanuts” to drive the change, stating that if people were going to be forced to have brown, bumpy, misshapen peanuts in their mouth, they should at least know how much they were going to ingest.

The last long segment of the show was an interview with Jane Goodall, a smart person who agreed to be interviewed by a not smart person in a segment called “People Who Think Good.” Goodall’s research gave her great insight into how Chimpanzees live, including their use of tools and the vocalizations they use to communicate with each other. What Oliver really wanted to know, however, was whether Chimpanzees make good pets. The good-natured activist put that idea down immediately, looking more than a little disturbed that anyone would want one as a pet. She did, though, offer some advice on what to name a Chimpanzee, her favorite option being “Poo Throw Hitler” because she does not like him.

Finally, the show wrapped up with a bit about Toronto’s mayoral election. Oliver honed in on Doug Ford, the brother of outrageous mayor Rob Ford, who afforded the world much amusement during his term in office. But while people eventually felt bad for laughing at a man with a drug problem, Doug Ford was an idiot without the influence of substances. The way he offended the Jewish community in Toronto not once, but twice had the Brit giggling. He found Doug Ford so hilarious that he made an impassioned plea to the city of Toronto to elect him as mayor in order to give everyone else who does not live in Toronto a laugh. After asking his Last Week Tonight viewers to ask about the sugar industry’s peanuts, John Oliver’s impassioned plea for more of Doug Ford’s comedic mishaps was the perfect take on the true nature of politics as an entertainment business.

Opinion By Lydia Bradbury


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