In his new gig as host of Late Show, Stephen Colbert is bringing some of his patented whip-sharp wit to skewer our Must See TV-level fascination with Donald Trump. To some, Trump is a “tellin’ like it is” hero, and to others a brilliant train wreck (I’ve covered why that is in a previous post). But there’s no denying he is a delicious dish of delight for comedians, and Colbert and his writing staff have found a unique take on the media’s Trump obsession by linking it to binge eating.
Trump recently reported that while he loves Oreos, he will never eat them again. Never. They moved their headquarters from Chicago to Mexico, a very personal betrayal, so Trump is now going to have to find another, more American cookie to eat as his midnight snack.
Colbert likened his own lack of control in making jokes about Trump to a lack of control in eating snacks like Oreos, and proceeded to gorge on Oreos while dissing Trump. While this makes a great bit, like most great comedy, it also presents a bigger question: Are we over-indulging on Trump coverage the same way we over-indulge with everything in this country? Are we treating this election like a Netflix series we can’t stop watching?
In the 2008 election, the comparison at the time was that it felt like a reality show. Who would get the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton? Who would win the general election, Obama or John McCain? It played out like a reality series, and like many shows of that genre, it ended with us voting for our favorites.
But television tastes have changed since then, and we live in the age of “I just watched every episode of House of Cards/Orange is the New Black/Kimmy Schmidt this weekend and I’m half ashamed and half proud.” If this is how we consume entertainment, and news is increasingly packaged as entertainment, then it’s not terribly surprising we are pushing “play next” on the Trump show.
Binging on anything is never a good idea, even if it seems pretty harmless. As Colbert says at the end of the bit, “I’ll hate myself in the morning,” and it’s my feeling America might have the exact same feeling when it wakes up from binging on Trump. Have a glass of water, America, and maybe read a book instead. It’s good for you.
OREO PHOTO CREDIT: Mandel Ngan/AFP
TRUMP PHOTO CREDIT: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images