Adam Conover spent years with truTVs Adam ruins everything Featuring in-depth research, a funny approach, and a rotating troupe of comedy players to bring audiences a dose of reality on all sorts of topics. on The G Word with Adam ConoverProduced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, he applies his know-it-all attitude to the way government works.
opening shot: Adam Conover is lying on a couch. “A comedy series about government, hosted by me, produced by you. I have concerns.” Conover stands and sits across from executive producer Barack Obama, who seems to enjoy doing his taxes.
The essentials: In the six-part limited series, Conover discusses the good and bad sides of various government agencies and how regulation has helped Americans and gotten in the way of innovation and other things over the decades. He starts with food and how USDA inspectors and veterinarians help ensure the meat we eat is safe.
In a rare scene, he tours a Cargill meat processing plant and speaks with company executives and the various USDA representatives who work there full-time. There he finds out just how complex the job of inspectors is and why companies like Cargill might not like having them there, but know it’s necessary to ensure the food safety of their products.
But then Conover goes into the idea of government subsidies for grains and corn, and how that has not only affected the abundance of products like corn syrup and processed corn-based foods in the average American’s diet, but how it has even affected the structure of the diet, according to the USDA -Food pyramid when it was introduced to the public in the 90’s.
What shows will it remind you of? The G Word with Adam Conover is structured similarly to Adam ruins everything except there’s no “brand” that he explains things to like in the old series. There’s also room for a personal reporting segment, which the old truTV series never had.
Our opinion: Other topics Conover is tackling with series producers Jon Cohen and Jon Wolf The G word are weather, money and illness. In an episode about the future, he examines the government agency whose inventions have led to most of the technology we enjoy today. And in an episode about change, Conover turns to Obama, the man with the famous “hope and change” mantra, to see how someone in government can make a difference.
your delight in The G word really depends on what you think of Conover’s know-it-all personality. In comparison, he has taken a step back Adam ruins everything, and he’s good at playing that role for laughs — like when he chides Obama for being referred to as “President Obama” when he no longer has the job. We’ve been fans of his for years, and we’re glad the format of his previous show has remained more or less intact, including the annotations in the corner supporting the facts and stats he posts there.
As with his previous show, Conover does not pretend that every episode of The G word is a comprehensive examination of a specific topic. In fact, if you are knowledgeable about the subjects he is talking about, none of the information he imparts will be new to you. But he does such an entertaining job of skewering the general knowledge of a subject via mini-sketches created by a rotating group of players that it doesn’t really matter whether you learn something new or not.
gender and skin: none.
farewell shot: In a preview of the next weather-themed episode, Conover says, “If the government doesn’t work to our advantage, there could be a catastrophe.” He looks to the left and sees a tornado coming his way.
sleeping star: Stand out SNL Rookie James Austin Johnson is among the rotating players who play in the mini-sketches that play while Conover gives his explanations, and of course he does a good job. And, of course, Obama gives another performance full of comedic timing experts that is remarkable for a politician.
Most pilot line: “Who exactly is touching all of our flesh?” asks Conover. “Do you think it’s gross or hot that I put it that way?” At least he got the “touch our flesh” joke out of the way early on.
Our appeal: Stream it. With some funny moments, well-researched information and an entertainingly fast pace The G Word with Adam Conover entertainingly tells people how various government agencies are helping Americans, but isn’t afraid to confront them when they’re working against our interests.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he doesn’t fool himself: He’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.