Wise in what it avoids, smart in what it includes, and funny throughout
Interesting to read back my thoughts on the 2015 Wipe episode, where I mentioned how much awful stuff occurred within that year. The 2016 Wipe starts with a reminder that this year was more of the same, although generally considered much worse (Brooker suggests not doing the show this year until he realizes that he gets no payment if he doesn't). There is an element of the whole "f**k 2016" thing that is a construct of the times we live in – total saturation in media and information means everything bad is played out for maximum badness, and generally we like to wallow in things rather than just carrying on; regardless though it has been a year of seemingly endless negativity – violent wars and civil wars, political divides made ever more extreme, famous people you have heard of dying, and so on.
With so much to pick from the show does a good job of selecting what it covers and what it doesn't. Of course big political stories such as the US election and Brexit are well covered, while general themes such as celebrity death are also covered. Notably not included are any terrorist attacks which is a good decision as frankly it is hard to make jokes around very specific deaths, plus why give them more coverage. Larger related conflicts are mentioned but again not lingered on. Focusing on politics and entertainment-related items makes it work better and still cover some heavy subjects. This it does with the usual very cynical edge from Brooker (who looks to have lost a load of weight); there are so many great lines, and Brooker's despair is a good help to the viewer to also go along with that feeling and join in the mockery too.
Brooker is everywhere at the moment (thanks to Black Mirror mostly) so it is always good to see him delivering on the 'Wipe' series (it seems so long since they were a regular part of the Guardian at the weekend). Topical and well worth watching.