This video may not seem like Colbert’s best work at first, but I think it’s an excellent, full, powerful critique of vapid culture that we see from government to the marketplace, and the sad triumph of marketing over creativity and ideas. In September of 2008, we had a big financial crisis. It was also the middle of the presidential campaign. Republican John McCain suspended his campaign to go to Washington and do something, but it looked to many people like an empty stunt. Books have come out since then that McCain didn’t offer anything of substance to the government response.
Colbert imagines that maybe the whole campaign shutdown was for the premiere of some romantic comedy full of worn plot points and actors we’ve seen before. Colbert asks to hear the theme song again, which is insufferable ode to Nickelback. It’s a timely, powerful little weave of surprisingly rich metaphoric details. Notice all the dumb and shifty praise for the movie that Colbert picks out from reviews. Even the comment at the end about a strange flavor of tea sends a subtle message about phony commerce.