By Juan Calvillo
“The Problem with Jon Stewart” is an investigative documentary series exploring current events with a humorous approach. The show’s style, which likely stems from Stewart’s time at the “Daily Show,” gives vital information on topics that are not usually the larger focus of daily news outlets. Despite using humor to make the show more palatable, Stewart’s use of facts and information never fails to make an impact.
Military burn pits are the focus of the first episode. Soldiers use these burn pits to get rid of everything from trash, rotten food and debris to human excrement, bodies and more. The lasting effects of these burn pits on soldiers and the lack of action from the government are highlighted in this episode.
The show tries to find a way to help veterans in this situation by highlighting a website that informs on burn pits, https://burnpits360.org/. This organization’s purpose is to help veterans with problems stemming from burn pits.
Former military personnel make up a panel that Stewart uses to show the varying health effects burn pits have on those that work with and near them. Each soldier, and members of their families, goes into details of their diagnosis ranging from bad to life threatening.
These uncomfortable conversations with people affected really materializes veterans’ struggles when it comes to receiving care for any ailments they claim to have, by putting a face to the issue. One of the interesting parts of this new series is that Stewart interviews a high ranking government official asking for information about what rarely seems to happen in government, actual commitment action.
He interviews the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Denis Richard McDonough. The interview covers why veterans are not receiving the help they justly deserve.
While the interview is never tense, the lack of answers might come as a shock.
Stewart is on point in his new series. Not only does he use one-liners in his introduction monologue, showing the strength of his writing team, but his ability to adlib during his interview segments is impressive.
“The Problem with Jon Stewart” makes use of the tried and true segment style of TV shows. This gives Stewart and his team the chance to create hilarious “commercials.” The comedic timing Stewart has with his delivery, produced commercials and on-point writing, is perfect for a show of this nature.
Stewart is amazing at skewering politics. There will be some viewers who see him as too much of an elite or liberal. Other viewers may not fully appreciate the problems Stewart and his team tackle. There are moments where the writing may come off as too invested or too passionate about the topic, and future topics no doubt, being discussed during the episode.
Fortunately for the series and the audience, Stewart has always had a charming and honest personality. It’s his personality that allows him to be both credible and not use emotion to blackmail viewers into caring. The show puts in an impressive amount of energy into researching the problem they are tackling. It also puts that same energy into talking with those affected and trying to find possible fixes, making the show a relevant watch for audiences.
“The Problem with Jon Stewart” is entertaining and informative in a time where most shows can not balance one or the other. Episode one is now streaming on Apple TV+, with new episodes dropping every two weeks. The next new episode will air October 14.