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  • Not giving this more than a 5 'cause I'm a snooty, snot-nosed elitist wannabe who expected a show like this to be more grounded, exacting, and informative. While being funny and warm and endearing, as one rightfully expects from Ferguson, Join or Die seems too mired in its limitations-on-behalf-of-format.

    He has one actual expert and two funny people as guests. The premise identifies 6 exemplars of the theme (e.g., biggest political blunder), and has to winnow them down to one. The panel of experts gets it down to two and the audience executes the coup de grace.

    Y'know, the composition of the panel doesn't bother me so much. The problem is that the token expert tends to get seriously short shrifted. Half the nuggets of insight into the rubric are already known to me; I'm appreciative of the other half; but I'm dismayed that some other serious considerations of the subject don't get raised, and niggle at the thought that they weren't raised because the time it would take to raise them "has to be" spent springing middle-brow quips.

    For instance, it grated my sensibilities when Ferguson himself asked a question of the expert, only to derail an actual answer to the question asked in deference to an impulse to curry a bubbling, barely humorous inanity.

    I was rather touched and dismayed in the first episode when the expert mischievously took a poke at the paper-thin political blunders theme by mentioning that "blunders" like the O'Donnell campaign diminish to nothingness next to real, monumental, and arguably made-to-order blunders like the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Craig immediately went into a sort of mini-damage-control mode, as he fully understands the parameters and range of his format and needed to nip this heresy-against-format in the bud, toot sweet.

    Well, that about says it, right? If you find the format to be in your comfort zone, then you'll love Join or Die. I just sort of think it sad that Craig is accepting a status quo that obviates the addressing of very real issues--so real that they threatened to take down the very country to which he has sworn his fealty.

    The rather stilted format decision to keep it a bit too light takes a bite out of Join or Die, in my book. Perhaps a good way to highlight this shortcoming in my mind is to size it up against very, very decent infotainment products, such as "Adam Ruins Everything" and "Drunk History". I understand that the difference is that these two shows are produced artifacts, and Craig's new addiction--the live show format--may well limit his ability to create a firehose-of-info effect.

    But... There's got to be a way. I just feel that these first two installments of Join or Die are NOT THAT WAY.

    I'll continue to watch, in hopes that he finds... that way. 'Til then, I can't give it very high marks.
  • jellyneckr19 February 2016
    Craig Ferguson is the most underrated comedian in America. "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" provided the best late night entertainment had to offer for a decade, and he remains the funniest comic I've ever seen perform live. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan. His new show, "Join or Die with Craig Ferguson", is likely to please those like me who are fans of Ferguson's, as it seems like a natural extension of "The Late Late Show." The show has Ferguson doing a bunch of his usual jokes and accents in a monologue that introduces the topic of the given episode, then the show transitions to the discussion period with three celebrity guests. The three celebrity guests and Ferguson then discuss the historical topic of the episode with various side stories and lots of crude jokes. At half an hour, there are times when this second part of the show seems to go on a bit too long, though the majority of each episode is highly entertaining and occasionally hilarious. Ultimately, the success of the series will depend on how interesting/funny the celebrity guests of each episode are. Ferguson makes for a perfect host, but the three guests do most of the talking during the panel discussion, for obvious reasons. As long as the topics and guests remain engaging, the show should be able to remain as enjoyable as it is now. The format and content of "Join or Die" may not be ground-breaking, but the show itself is very funny and well worth checking out. 7/10
  • Craig Ferguson is still one of the funniest people on the planet.

    But, this format is terrible.

    It started well, with a familiar feeling cold open, that made everyone laugh.

    But, enter the panel, to discuss "the biggest political blunders in history"..... and apparently that doesn't really mean "history" - it rather means "within the past 20 years, because nobody remembers further back".

    Add to that, that the short format means you never really get any in-depth discussion, because you need to hurry it along, to the rapidly approaching end of the short show.

    It leaves you with a feeling, that it might as well be a TMZ panel discussing the latest Kardashian story..... shallow, mildly entertaining and quickly forgotten.

    I hope the format changes.... both in length and in depth, because otherwise this will be a one-season run, for one of my favorite comedians, unfortunately.
  • I absolutely adore Craig Ferguson, and I had high hopes for his new show, but it just isn't well-done, because the format requires an hour, and the 22 actual minutes of the half-hour TV format is barely long enough to introduce the panel and make a few jokes. Then they just rush through everything else, and it's a pale imitation of a British Panel show.

    There's no mathematical formula for exactly how good it would be if it were twice as long, but I imagine wholeheartedly that it would have been at least an 8 rating.
  • As much as I have enjoyed Craig Ferguson on the Late Late Show for many years, this show is a disaster. As other reviewers have noted, when they refer to "history", apparently doesn't mean the roughly 5 or 6 thousand years of human history, but mostly the last 20-30 years. Heaven forbid, if you go beyond that, the show might descend into something intelligent and meaningful.

    For the most part, the guest panelists generally try to make an effort to stay on topic and seemingly did some research on their own, but it just degenerates into gibberish thanks to Ferguson's interjections and the arbitrary selection and elimination of candidates for the show's topic. I realize the show is meant to be entertaining and light- hearted approach to introducing history and not a documentary, but this is not the way to do it.

    I just hope no one watching is ignorant enough to think that this is a good way to be introduced to "history", never mind think that this show offers a coherent, thoughtful analysis and comparison of the historical figures mentioned in the show.

    In summary, the perfect show for the under-educated who can't spend more than 20 minutes to actually learn the real history behind the important figures introduced on the show.
  • After reading the reviews posted I'm a bit surprised that fans of the show and of Craig Ferguson seem to forget is that it is meant to promote discussion yet the focus seems primarily on the format and how the topics are approached. Rather then point out flaws that don't meet the standards by which you judge the way it should be presented, why don't you get your own friends and have a conversation about the same topic. More then likely someone is going to go for the joke or just try and be funny for the sake of being funny. Even the actual Experts that go on the show have a laugh about it not because its expected, but because there are times in history that are that stupid, even they can have a laugh about it. As far as talking about more major historical events going back thousands of years, get your own friends and discuss it among yourselves, don't expect a TV show to do that for you. Craig said it very clearly but I'll just repeat whats already been said. "Its just a stupid TV show, calm down."