‘Last Week Tonight’ Skewers GM and Mary Barra
In the wake of GM’s Thursday recall of 2.7 million more cars, Oliver sat in awe of the cumulative figure of 11 million units recalled, stating: “At this point, we are approaching a total recall, which is, of course, where you return your car to your local three-breasted GM representative.” If you’re a child of the 80s like me, you’ll know this to be a reference to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film and, arguably, its most memorable scene. If you aren’t a child of the 80s/are only familiar with the far-less-fun Colin Farrell remake of Total Recall, Oliver supplies you with a handy-dandy graphic of said three-breasted alien. Hence, NSFW.
Oliver goes over the litany of catastrophic problems plaguing the various GM vehicles and directly responsible for at least 13 deaths. At GM’s admission that 13 people have died in their vehicles when compared to the 303 accident-related deaths listed in government files, Oliver states the obvious: “Here’s a sign that your corporation is in trouble: when the statement ‘our product only killed 13 people’ is your defense.”
Oliver addresses the $35-million-dollar slap-on-the-wrist doled out by the DoT on Friday, noting that the amount is less than a full day of revenue for the company. He is understandably baffled that GM withheld information for 13 years and becomes even angrier at the fact that “GM doubled down on their awfulness” by threatening families of victims with countersuits.
But perhaps the best moments come when Oliver can barely contain his astonishment at the list of ridiculous “Judgment Words” unveiled by the feds on Friday. The list, found in a Powerpoint presentation from 2008, is full of terms such as “Kevorkianesque” and “grenade-like,” which Oliver likens to the safe words uttered by copulating demons.
Oliver also tackles the casual sexism that occurred in the wake of Mary Barra (“apparently unfathomably a woman”) being named CEO before chastising her for sounding “less like a person expressing sympathy in a human manner and more like the distress message from a doomed spaceship in a sci-fi movie.” Liberate tutemet General Motors.
If you aren’t watching Last Week Tonight, get your first taste with the clip above. Come for the clever suggestion that Mary Barra is a character in the Dead Space video game franchise, stay for the wonderful advertisement at the end that uses GM’s banned bloody buzzwords.