Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Onion News Network

Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Is 'Totally Badass'

The Onion News Network
"Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty is 'Totally Badass'"

The Onion is probably the most widely known satirical newspaper in circulation. Its headlines are poignant and clever and the articles that follow can often be funny but typically prove that it is unnecessary to go beyond the headlines. When The Onion began their website it seemed to be only a matter of time before they jumped on the viral video craze and brought their satirical talent to broadcast parodies. These videos show the depths of The Onion writing staff’s talent and their ability to go beyond just the headlines.

A personal favorite is a video from a News Room segment that covers a Supreme Court ruling over the death penalty. The Onion has never failed to attack the conservative side of the government and here they take a jab at the right wing stance toward death penalty. To a certain extent they are putting the Supreme Court on the same level as an adolescent boy who’s entertained purely by action movies. While The Daily Show and The Colbert Report pride themselves on being fake news shows, The Onion has the ability here to fully embrace that concept without the distractions of a studio audience. The deadpan faces and serious delivery of the story add to the absurdity and comedy of the entire piece. The attention to detail in this clip, specifically the courtroom sketches add another element of legitimacy to style.

This clip works because it reaches into the absurd while maintaining a purely serious tone. While the writers probably give the Supreme Court a little more credit with their intelligence, this heightened sense of reality is effective in that it uses the most trivial arguments for a major issue. They are not only trying to make use laugh but also ponder, the millionth time, where we stand on death penalty, but with this clip they have made it a little easier to delve into that topic.

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