The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Indecision 2004
Though it seemed improbable, The Daily Show has entered the DVD game with this brilliant collection of episodes from the 2004 U.S. presidential race. Four nights a week, the cast and writers at the Daily Show employ satire as a coping method in their faux newscasts to help America deal with just how fucked up its news is. With the bulk of its material derived from topical stories, it seemed unlikely that the show could put out a home video collection that wasn't a dated cash grab. Indecision 2004, however, captures the show's sharpest, funniest and most influential moments. Few U.S. election campaigns have been as embittered as the 2004 edition, which split American opinion almost in two. Though Jon Stewart spent the dog days of the campaign openly ridiculing conservatives and the Bush administration, this collection evenly offers coverage of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions with four episodes devoted to each. In some respects, the show doesn't go beyond the stereotypes about the respective parties' affiliates. Democrats like Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and John Kerry are portrayed as well-meaning but pathetic, while their Republican counterparts seem evil (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zell Miller) or idiotic (George W. Bush, Schwarzenegger). The sub-headings say it all, with coverage of the DNC dubbed "The Race from the White House" and the more ominous "Target New York" for the RNC. When these episodes shine, they skewer everybody — from journalists to politicos. As the show does so well, here it reports on mainstream media outlets, scrutinising their fluffy coverage and parodying them for it. Where the major networks latch on to politicians' claims about humble origins as genuine human interest stories, Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert tells a heartfelt tale about being the son of a "turd miner" and the grandson of a "goat ball licker." A poll released in early 2004 found that 21 percent of people aged 18 to 29 cited the Daily Show as a regular source of presidential campaign news. It might seem absurd that some Americans felt informed by watching a fake news show but seeing Stewart and his stellar staff shake the spin out of election news stories is about as factual and fun as it gets. Plus: "Election Night '04: Prelude to a Recount," "The First Presidential Debate," more. (Paramount)