Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

On Full Frontal, Samantha Bee apologizes for her bad words, waits for the outrage over Trump's cruel actions

Illustration for article titled On Full Frontal, Samantha Bee apologizes for her bad words, waits for the outrage over Trump's cruel actions
Screenshot: Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

After calling Ivanka Trump (presidential daughter and, Samantha Bee was careful to point out, advisor) a “feckless cunt” for doing precisely nothing to curb her father and boss’ family-sundering immigration policies, Bee became the 24-hour cable news cycle’s newest shiny thing, to her regret. On her first Full Frontal since a sitting president urged a network to fire someone for being mean to his family on the TV, Bee dedicated a pre-credits address to the controversy, following up on her statement apologizing to Ivanka earlier in the week. And, being Bee, the host followed a sincere, possibly network-mandated on-air apology with both a clarifying dose of perspective, and a show’s worth of comical asides undercutting the hysterical response to her “potty mouth.”

As far as the apology went, Bee did, indeed express regret for using the word “cunt,” a word she notes she’s used on the show “many times” before. But, she noted, her ongoing comic attempts to reclaim woman-haters’ favorite slur “crossed a line,” in that she used the epithet as an insult. Bee continued to unpack the concept with a subtlety unlikely to register as feverishly with the general public, admitting that, by using the word, she hurt a lot of women who are less interested in a rhetorical reclamation of a loathsomely hurtful insult than in just wanting to never hear it again. Bee also noted that a lot of men were also offended by what she said, then, following an expertly measured comic pause, stated, “I don’t care about that.”


Bee also regretted the fact that the ginned-up conservative outrage cycle assured that no one would pay attention to the Trump administration’s wantonly cruel immigration policies toward children, which is what the segment in question was actually about. Noting that “none of you saw more than four letters of that show,” Bee reprised her attack on the fact that Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen, and ICE head Tom Homan have callously ripped over 11,000 (coincidentally non-white) children from their parents at the border. With the running bit about a panel of TBS censors in the studio throughout (and the word “girls” in her theme song comically censored), Bee restrained her profanities but not her anger, as she reported on the secret abandoned Texas big box store detention center where hundreds of children are being warehoused. (And where a United States senator was turned away by police for daring to try to inspect their conditions.) At the end of the episode, Bee made a pointed nod to the fact that she’s not going anywhere, dodging anagram-hunting critics by telling viewers “See you next... Wednesday.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.