The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is so laugh-out-loud funny that Indecision 2004--which could have been a dated recap of a time many would rather forget--is instead a hilarious time capsule of the follies and foibles of the 2004 presidential election. What also helps is that many of the issues being lampooned, such as the Iraq war, are still in the news in 2005. The 10 episodes included in the three-disc set are the four reporting on the Democratic National Convention, the four from the Republican National Convention, the episode following the first Bush-Kerry debate, and the hourlong election-night episode, subtitled "Prelude to a Recount." The Daily Show mimics the format of a news program, with Stewart as the anchor and his troupe of "senior correspondents/analysts"--Stephen Colbert, Rob Corddry, Samantha Bee, and Ed Helms--filing their "reports" from the field. Stewart is always quick to dismiss his show as "fake news," but an increasing number of people have taken to the Comedy Central staple as the way to get their news. Political news is mostly sound bites anyway, so Stewart piles the video clips together at their most incongruous or contradictory, then follows up with a wisecrack or a marvelously deadpan look of disbelief. As further proof of its impact, The Daily Show won a 2005 Peabody Award for electronic media excellence for its "satire that deflates pomposity on an equal opportunity basis." (Stewart admitted during the campaign that he himself was voting for Kerry, and his audience is very anti-Bush, but he takes the opportunity to skewer anyone who deserves it.) He also attracts a number of "legitimate" guests. Appearing on these episodes are Ted Koppell, Joe Biden, Chris Matthews (shortly after he'd been challenged to a duel by Zell Miller), Al Sharpton on election night, and a wry John McCain not looking like the combative party zealot that had appeared at the convention podium the night before.
In addition to the 10 episodes, the three-DVD set has more reports by Colbert (whose survey of Democratic minority groups has something to offend anyone), Corddry, Bee, and Helms. There's also John Edwards's 2003 announcement of his presidential candidacy on The Daily Show, the Schoolhouse Rock! spoof about midterm elections, a surprisingly musical four-correspondent rendition of the national anthem, and other lunacy. --David Horiuchi
Daily Show ~ Indecision 2004