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Best of TV Costuming 2014: The John Oliver Check Shirt Parade on Last Week Tonight

8 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

When John Oliver hosted The Daily Show over the summer of 2013 it became clear that when Jon Stewart returned, if Oliver went back to his correspondent position then this would be a huge missed opportunity. Thankfully this wasn’t the case and one of the best new shows of 2014 is Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; a weekly show (sadly finished for the season) covering a range of global news stories as well as a more in-depth investigations ranging from student loans to FIFA to the failed prison system. It has been a breath of fresh air and while The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are still both producing excellent material covering a much shorter time frame, Last Week Tonight has taken the satirical current affairs genre to new heights.

IMG_8665The look of the show is similar to pretty much every other late night talk show, satirical or otherwise. There is a desk with a city backdrop and the image box appears to the left of Oliver’s head a la The Daily Show/Colbert. Aesthetically though, Oliver’s wardrobe is different and striking as he has embraced a variety of check color shirts and ties. In his role as correspondent he stuck to a run of the mill look never venturing too far from the conventional. By injecting color and pattern in this way he is not only signals that this is his show, he also sets himself apart from those performing a similar role that have come before him.

Shots were fired quickly in the strong shirt and tie game with Oliver wearing the red pairing in the shot above in the second episode. One presenter in Australia wore the same suit every day to see if anyone would notice to show how little attention is paid to what men wear in comparison to women. While it is far from surprising that no one called him out for this repeat outfit, it is noticeable when the wardrobe department mixes things by pairing such striking colors together and Oliver’s attire is a visual bonus on top of everything else Last Week Tonight has achieved in its first season. This isn’t to say there is anything particularly radical about Oliver’s attire; however it is striking because the talk show look is a standard approach looks more like this:

IMG_8670Check isn’t the Last Week Tonight uniform as such because this pattern isn’t worn every single week; however patterned shirts make up about half of what has been worn by Oliver over the first season adding to the fresh look of the show. Maybe we can throw in some paisley for season 2?

Below is a gallery of the best of John Oliver’s check (and the occasional plaid) shirt stylings on Last Week Tonight.



Watch John Oliver Take on Dr. Oz with Bonus HBO Related Cameos

24 Jun

Last summer John Oliver introduced a new dance to the world when he filled in for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show (the “Carlos Danger” dance if you will) and so far he has been killing it each week on his new show Last Week Tonight on HBO. In previous episodes he has taken on the FCC and FIFA among others and this week comes the turn of Dr Oz, lobbyists, the FTC and the FDA. Exasperated outrage at what some companies/industries get away with thanks to power they wield is delivered with biting humor and the segment ends with a cameo-filled pander party (which would only be better if it was a panda party). This includes George R.R. Martin teasing his latest Game of Thrones kills (I’d say he was joking and yet the death rate in those books would suggest otherwise) and some dancing from both John Oliver and a Boardwalk Empire star. HBO show so HBO related cameos and the future possibilities are plentiful.

John OliverIt’s also worth noting that John Oliver continues to bring his shirt game (maybe not in the promo photo above). More checked bold colors please.

Julie Hammerle

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