I'm not the biggest fan of Stephen Colbert, I am much more on Team Stewart, but when I found out that Colbert was going to be broadcasting for a week from Iraq, I was intrigued. Could this be the event that changed my mind about him? Would I finally gain some respect for the man/blowhard character? After finally finishing all four episodes on my DVR, I have to say that the answer to those questions is "not really..." I still don't really get him or the appeal, but at the same time, I do appreciate what he did during his week in Iraq.
The show was clearly designed for the troops in the audience (and i'm still trying to figure out how they got tickets...). He utilized all of his segments like "the word" and "tip of the hat, wag of the finger." I felt like he was trying really hard to be even more of his character because that is obviously what the troops wanted to see. While they couldn't really discuss current news because they were taping three days ahead of the broadcast day, they might not have discussed current news away. The closest that Colbert came to the current news was to continually parellel how well Iraq is doing in rebuilding and what a crappy job the U.S. is doing at home. He made many comments about how when the troops were done with their work in Iraq they would be well prepared to handle the situation back home. I thought this was a very clever contrast.
It was obvious though that the week was about two things: putting on a good show for the troops and showing the rest of America that he could put on his show from a war zone. Honestly, him and his staff were almost technically flawless this week. A major feat when they only had about half of their normal staff members and technology. I was really impressed by how seamless everything was.
Some highlights for me were definitely the Tom Hanks/Stephen Colbert care package involving a puppy, ice cream, and an ice sculpture shaped like a puppy eating ice cream. The segment was very cute, and it made me love Tom Hanks even more. In that same vein, I really enjoyed all of the shout outs from the politicians. Except for Sarah Palin who has had way too much exposure this week with the whole Letterman thing, but anyway.
I also really enjoyed Colbert's flight in the fighter plane. Usually I'm not a fan of watching people vomit into paper/plastic bags, but for some reason I was in total hysterics when Colbert was flipping around in that plane losing his lunch. You could tell that he literally looked at his producer and said, "I'd probably vomit if I went up in one of those planes...lets do it!" And he did, and it totally worked.
At the end of the day (week?), Colbert did not really change my opinion about him. I don't feel like I'm going to enjoy watching his show anymore next week than I did the week before this one. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate it, its just the last thing I turn to when I've watched everything else available to me on the DVR. That said, his support for the troops was very real and I appreciated it a lot. Also, the last moment of the last show, when he thanked his crew was very touching as were his last words to the troops. Something along the lines of "to say thank you would be insufficient and to say holy sh*t would be inappropriate." Very true and actually very honest and well said. I guess that now, while I still don't love him, I do have a little bit more respect for him.
So, Sir Dr. Colbert, I tip my hat to you.