Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Amber Ruffin, Seth Meyers
Amber Ruffin, Seth Meyers
Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Ah, the diorama. The visual learning aid that takes the place of scratchy, ancient filmstrips dug out by the school’s A.V. Club and suspect “educational” screenings of March Of The Penguins in the “teacher’s out of ideas” hall of fame. As introduced by Seth Meyers in an extended segment starring his writers Amber Ruffin and Jenny Hagel on Wednesday’s Late Night, the venerable tableaux of paste, action figures, and poster paint have long been the go-to busywork for subpar but endearingly wacky community colleges, the occasional legit visual learner, and harried parents staying up all not because their terrible kids only told them they needed a full-scale replica of the Battle of Gettysburg before home room. Oh, and for the American electorate, whose continued gullibility to transparently venal and traitorous reality show con men and assorted sex-predators and opportunistic racists suggests that a little remedial 3-D learning is just what the tottering democracy ordered.

Enter Amber and Jenny who, when not cheekily embarrassing their boss with jokes only they can tell, routinely pep up the Late Night fake newsreader format with some endearing wackiness of their own. With a burly stagehand hauling out what students of Greendale would recognize right off the bat as a straight up Diorama-rama, the duo (and the Late Night art department) dumbed down, brightened up, and otherwise made silly and earnestly lopsided the news of the day with a succession of cobbled together current event visual aids.

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There was Amber’s State Of The Union project, complete with a tiny Nancy Pelosi speech shredder and the appropriately Barbie-esque First Lady presenting the Medal Of Freedom to red-faced bigot-blowhard Rush Limbaugh, the Grinch, and Skeletor. Jenny’s doll-sized Pope really slaps the hell out of that grabby lady, while plasticized gay and women’s rights protesters muse about the other ways the Holy Father might not be as nice a guy as he’s cracked up to be. The Astros cheating scandal employs a barrel-banging sign-stealer, a sly cheating pigeon on a wire, and the legal department-mandated raising of an “Allegedly” flag from behind the bleachers. Brad and Jen’s Twitter-igniting hand-clasp got Hagel’s own spark-and-flame mini-treatment, while Harry and Meghan’s abrupt departure for Canada (via those foot-stomper Nerf rockets) saw the irate Queen spouting ear-smoke. Is all this hot glue and doll-doctoring the recipe for America’s short attention span, knee-jerk internet pile-ons, and general ideological entrenchment? Well, if it works for kindergarteners.

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

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