TV Review: “Newsreaders” – Headline Comedy

Written by Guest January 25, 2013


“We read the news…”

Shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” have dismantled the usual newsroom concept, providing a humorous spin on modern events. Both shows are interested in how people learn of and process current events and are able to turn out consistently funny episodes year after year. “Newsreaders” takes this concept, removes any attempt to capture reality and very successfully lampoons the news magazine programme.

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“Newsreaders” is the second spin-off of the brilliant Rob Corddry and David Wain helmed medical comedy “Childrens Hospital”. Like the first spin-off, the action show parody “NTSF:SD:SUV::”, “Newsreaders” originated as a seemingly one-off joke in its home series. In the middle of the second season of “Childrens Hospital”, a mock-retrospect documentary revolving around the cast of “Childrens Hospital” preparing for a fictional cancellation. The documentary style allowed for the supposed history of the series to be explored further and for a strong batch of fresh jokes.

“Newsreaders” airs Thursday’s at midnight on Adult Swim. Like it’s sibling shows, each episode length averages around eleven-minutes. The amount of humour packed into these short episodes is amazing and does not wear off its welcome. The genre of exposé journalism and the search for what is considered “newsworthy” provides great framework to centre the shows outlandish plots.

Disclaimer: Not a legitimate source for accurate news.

Disclaimer: Not a legitimate source for accurate news.


“… so you don’t have to”

At the centre of the series is “Newsreaders” host Louis La Fonda played by Mather Zickel (“I Love You, Man”) as he explores an issue through interviews and investigation. The “Newsreaders” team is rounded out by other characters portrayed by actors such as Alison Becker (VH1’s “Top 20 Video Countdown”) and Ray Wise (“Twin Peaks”). Like “Childrens Hospital” and “NTSF:SD:SUV::” the calibre of guest stars provides a large amount of the humour. The premier episode features news legend Dan Rather and “Mad Men” cast member Aaron Staton in comedic roles. Future episodes will feature Ed Begley Jr., Lizzy Caplan and Jane Seymour.

Where “NTSF:SD:SUV::” struggled initially in creating a grounded reality to launch the series with, “Newsreaders” works because it feels like it could be a real show. The first episode focuses around an investigation to discover how an automobile company’s van market is able to take off due to exposure in the amateur porn industry. Despite how outlandish the plot is, the initial presentation is deadpan and once the layers are pealed back the humour is able to steadily flow. The show draws its humour from the combination of the cast, concept and plot. If one of these does nothing for you, then you may not be able to fully enjoy the show.

Despite the series having just premiered, two previous “Newsreaders” episodes of “Childrens Hospital” show that this format of series has potential for longevity. It does not have as much of a rocky start as “NTSF:SD:SUV::” did, but it lacks the comedic punch that “Childrens Hospital” had when it first premiered. “Newsreaders” has potential to be a staple in the enlarging David Wait and Rob Corddry repertoire of Adult Swim satires. Like “Childrens Hospital”, the length is not intimidating making it a show that is easy to test out. The potential “Newsreaders” hold and the hilarity of the premier make it a series definitely worth checking.

My Rating: 8/10

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