The Colbert Super PAC Arc

This is a very personal reaction, but I find myself tiring of The Colbert Report‘s arc about the Colbert Super PAC. There’s been some good material that came out of it, and the idea behind it is a good Colbert combination of in-depth political satire (Colbert often takes on political topics that are extremely significant but too arcane even for The Daily Show, and campaign finance is one of them) and blurring the lines between reality and fiction. But it’s been going on and on and on, eating up so much of the show’s time, that I almost dread him bringing it up. Maybe it would be different if it were a less complicated subject, but the amount of explanation it requires means that the comedy value is becoming limited.

Also, as Daniel Walters pointed out on Twitter, the complexity of the process may be obscuring the satirical point the arc is supposed to make. The subject is the domination of politics by money in an era when corporations and people can give unlimited donations and not have to disclose them. But the point is a bit obscured by a lot of the material about the formation of the PAC, the donation process, and the individual donors – it comes of as relatively harmless business-as-usual, which may in fact be the way politicians see the fundraising process. By hammering away at the PAC story so often, he gets us used to the very thing he wanted to get us angry about.

Now, I said that’s a personal reaction because the value of dealing with this subject (which, as I said, nobody else deals with in this kind of depth) may outweigh the repetitiveness of it, and anyway, repetitiveness is part of any arc on a talk show, where the host always has to recap things for the benefit of casual viewers. And the PAC story may pay off as Colbert involves himself in more complicated ways with the 2011-12 election season. But right now I feel like I’d be laughing more if he would let up on the subject and try some wackier stuff.

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