NewsReaders: Motor Boating Dads Review

Overly educational dads and game show losers are the topics under the wacky microscope of this week’s NewsReaders.

“If teaching my kid how to pretend to listen, or how to propose a cuddle session is evil. Then I challenge someone from the future to come back in time and murder me right now, as if I was some sort of Hitler.”

With a show that’s as absurd and obtuse as NewsReaders, the sheer enormity in the number of topics that you could do segments on is almost daunting. After all, there are things like old trees that are racist, and dyslexic zombies that are jonesing for Brians that we could be learning about. We get some fairly strong material this week though, and thankfully your mind won’t go wandering towards the bigoted trees that we’re not learning about.

Sadie Deenus kicks things off by talking to us about “motor boating dads,” which is, you know, like “tiger moms” or any other sort of “helicopter parents.” In this case it’s dads that are teaching their children about sex at an early age and what’s what, so they know. We see a motor boating dad taking his son through lessons in cool, as a means to get sex, and accordingly chastises him for looking at his fingers as he plays guitar. Clearly he hasn’t gone through the essential reading in “The Bros and the Bees.”

While “Motor Boating Dads” is the lesser of the two segments here, it does end on the spectacular note that all of this reporting has been reduced to ruminations on time travel, after it kind of comes up in the story. There’s even an outrageous image to accompany the theory, which is pretty wonderful and saves any lost face the segment might have.

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The second piece of the episode is chronicling the losers of game shows, in what’s actually a pretty good idea for a story. This focuses specifically on the show “Precipice” which is exactly like Jeopardy!, except the questions are questions and the answers are answers (which is also a pretty great joke). The segment shows some great, as per usual, work from Marc Evan Jackson, as the featured game show loser.

Jackson’s character explains that “Precipice” is a unique show because if you get into the negatives on it, you actually owe the show money, which has largely ruined his life, having turned his house into the show owners’ third dog house, and selling his own plasma (cut with sperm, because he’s not an idiot). But hey, at least he’s got the complimentary plasma pump that’s given to all “Precipice” losers.

There’s a very nice cameo from Rub Huebel as Rob Heubel, another game show loser (and glitter aficionado), reminding us that this show does take place in the same universe as Children’s Hospital, in a totally unnecessary, but enjoyable appearance which makes reference to his work in a musical adaptation of the rape drama, The Accused. It does make these tacked on David Wain appearances as Jim Davidson, rather than David Wain, a little confusing, but hardly a sticking point and something that’d actually bother you. It really would have been nice to have had a different host for the celebrity version of “Precipice,” perhaps even Skip Reming, in a way that could have gotten him in on things too.

Certainly not the best or craziest episode the show has churned out, this is still totally passable NewsReaders. The first segment works well enough, but lacks some lasting punch, and while the second segment is a great idea, it doesn’t feel like they go nearly far enough with it. Focusing on one customer (and Heubel) rather than a wealth of failures feels like a misstep, but it’s still a very pleasant segment, and both show off some of the capabilities of the other correspondents of the program.

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3.5 out of 5