Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sam Bee returns to save democracy with This Is Not A Game, which is a game

Illustration for article titled Sam Bee returns to save democracy with This Is Not A Game, which is a game
Screenshot: Full Frontal With Samantha Bee

After a presumably much-needed rage-hiatus (a montage shows her hurling stuff at her Trump-infested office TV), Samantha Bee returned to Full Frontal on Wednesday with some sobering news about the upcoming midterm elections. Bringing a new enemy of our way of life you didn’t know existed to the fore, Bee profiled one Chris Jankowski, Republican strategist and spawner of the GOP gerrymandering strategy that’s hijacked democracy. In fact, as Bee noted, the targeted, partisan rejiggering of election maps in key districts has been so cynically successful, some 15 million more Democratic voters will have to turn out compared to the last midterms in order to take back the House. (And, hey, the Senate, too. Might as well dream big.)

That’s where your fingerprint-smudged little smartphone comes in, as Bee spent the rest of the episode teasing out the development and Wednesday night launch of This Is Not A Game. (It is, in fact a game.) Taking her cue from the widely derided clip of candidate Hillary Clinton exhorting people to “Pokémon Go to the polls,” Bee marvelled, “That try-hard robot was right all along!,” noting that 15 million is exactly the number of people who played Pokémon Go in election year 2016. (Man, if only Clinton had also warned us about Trump being a Russian puppet or Trump supporters being a fact-averse pack of abusive, racist “deplorables.” Live and learn.)

Anyway, Bee’s new game—painstakingly developed alongside tech guru Adam Werbach, the guy who invented FarmVille, and “gamification expert” Gabe Zuckerman, among others—seeks to make democracy fun! Wait, come back—there are also cash prizes. This Is Not A Game takes the form of an HQ-like trivia challenge, with the Full Frontal host asking questions about non-partisan governmental and political facts in her signature, comically partisan way. And, as noted in order to keep everyone’s eyes from glazing over, there are, indeed, cash prizes for playing. And while the cumulative effect of Bee’s new project in increasing voter engagement and turnout is yet to be seen, we all know how those darned millennials love their phones (and dungarees, and that damned rock and roll), so, as Bee puts it, that’s incentive enough to make “the best, appointment-based, civic tech, comedy trivia app hosted by Samantha Bee out there.”

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`