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Web Video / The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

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"Watch. This. Space."
"Every few generations, we Americans are called upon to defend our country. To defend it, not so much from foreign dictators, or war, or terrorism, but from those here who have no commitment to progress or democracy or representative government, no commitment to anything except their own out-of-control minds and the bottomless pits of their egos.

Our society has thrown up these people before. Joseph McCarthy. George Wallace. Father Coughlin. Jefferson Davis. Aaron Burr. The Know-nothings. The black-listers. The America-Firsters. And we have always thrown them out.

And now our generation has its own: the most dangerous individual ever nominated by a major party for the highest office in this country. His base wants few details and fewer facts; they just want to burn it down and blame their failures on the collective Other. And Donald John Trump is their demonic messiah in Oompa-Loompa's clothing. We must stop him. It is not pleasant, it is not fair that we have to do this, but it is our turn."

In early September of 2016, news commentator Keith Olbermann teamed up with GQ magazine to produce a series of 5-7 minute videos for their website, under the banner The Closer. The goal: to rally and direct support for the electoral defeat of Donald Trump in the 2016 election for President of the United States of America. Over the next eight weeks, Olbermann delivered 39 videos detailing both Trump's known transgressions and the potential for damage to the United States if he was elected.


Then Trump managed to win anyway.

Undeterred, Olbermann retooled the series' central question from "what do we do to defeat him" to "what do we do to resist his rule", rebranding the series as The Resistance.

View the series here.

A collection of show transcripts, Trump is F*cking Crazy, was released in October of 2017.

The Tropes with Keith Olbermann:

  • And Now For Something Completely Different: S01E07 breaks from its monologue format as Keith interviews White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Several of his most powerful episodes are addressed to Trump supporters, speaking softly, without rancor or debate; when he says "I'm not gonna yell", you can expect one of these. He concludes them with "Thanks for listening."
  • Broken Record: In S02E104, in reference to how Trump inadvertently was bringing greater attention to a Russian tape where Trump was involved in unsavory acts, while trying to deflect attention:
    Keith: "See? There's nothing on this tape! I'm not on this tape! There's nothing to this tape this tape this tape!"
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  • For Want of a Nail: In S02E147, Keith outlines that 9% of voters who supported Trump in 2016 would not have voted for him a year later, then explains how, if that sliver of voters had not voted for Trump, Trump would not have won.
  • Insult to Rocks:
    • In S02E23, comparing the crowd of reporters at Vladimir Putin's press briefings to the contestants on Let's Make a Deal:
      Keith: I would never want to insult anybody in a comparison between Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Monty Hall. I have respect for Monty Hall.
    • In S02E24, he calls Trump a pig, then walks it back:
      Keith: Actually, that's not fair. Pigs are supposedly as intelligent as three-year-olds.
  • Long List: The first episode is "176 Reasons Donald Trump Shouldn't Be President".
  • Not So Different: During "On Behalf of America, an Apology", Olbermann notes his grandfather emigrated from Germany, and changed his name from Friederich to Frederick, the same as Donald Trump's grandfather.
  • Overly Long Gag : During his (non-)list of things Trump's accomplished during the first 100 days of Presidency, Keith taps his fingers and cleans his glasses, checks his watch...and cleans his glasses again.
  • Precision F-Strike: For years prior, Keith's primary outlet was television, which is beholden to FCC profanity regulations, thus, he previously used evasions on air such as "what Jon Stewart said" (referring to an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart where Stewart employs a gospel choir to deliver the message "Go Fuck Yourself"). Suitably unbound by the rules (or lack thereof) of internet video, he delivers a few doozies.
    • The first such occurs in S01E13. Keith, owner of two Maltese dogs and a self-described "born-again" animal lover, often tweeting about pets who are missing, rescued and available for adoption, etc. points out this news story regarding the FDA 'food police':
      Keith: As the Daily Beast reported, in the last year, 11 of the 23 FDA pet food recalls were to remove poisoned pet food from shelves. To save dogs' lives. And Donald Trump... has given a hint that, if elected, he would protect a businessman's right to poison dogs. Maybe your dogs, maybe mine, maybe any of the other 78 million, because, you know... profits! Hey, Don: fuck you.
    • S1E38, the day before the election, Keith enumerated Trump's obvious bullshit statements at campaign rallies, each punctuated by "A lie! Another lie! Another fucking Trump lie!"
    • In S02E08, after Trump spoke on the phone with the President of Taiwan, an incredibly boneheaded diplomatic gaffe (for reasons Keith explains), Keith let loose with several fucks, continuing in S02E09 where he repeatedly describes Trump as "a shitty businessman."
      Keith: In the complex international relations that, like it or not, keep the world from blowing itself up every afternoon, Trump has just proved he has no earthly clue what the fuck he is doing.
    • He's also referred to Trump as "Donald Bumbling Amateur Putin Puppet FUCKING TRUMP!"
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • The Season 1 closing line: "Watch. This. Space."
    • When Trump actually won, he ended the last Season 1 episode with "Watch. Your. Back."
    • When he gets ranting, Olbermann tends to pound his fist on the desk.
      Keith: TODAY! [thump] Is the time for him to do so!

      Keith: The military apparatus of this country is about to be handed over to SCUM! Who are beholden to SCUM! RUSSIAN! SCUM!
    • S02E10, he describes Stephen Bannon as "from Breitbart, a website that MAKES. SHIT. UP."
  • Rogues Gallery: Trump's cabinet. From S02E10,
    Keith: We literally have to compare this, to use John Cleese's line, "the crew of a governmental pirate ship", to Batman Villains. All the Batman villains, all of them in one movie, like the Adam West Batman movie with The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman, and the other denizens of what the filmmakers dubbed "United Underworld". Let's meet them! And let's dub them "Citizens United Underworld"!
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Invoked while describing Trump's "Cabinet of Villains" .
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Keith was known as a notably snappy dresser since his Countdown days (being very careful about having his suits tailored to minimize his enormous size; he's not fat, he's just huge), but teaming up with GQ magazine clearly shows here; he looks like he walked off the set of Mad Men.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase:
    • The Closer had "Watch. This. Space." The final episode, on the night after Election Night 2016, had "Watch. Your. Back."
    • The Resistance has "Resist!... Peace." The word "peace" and the hand gesture he makes with it, like a Plains Indian saying "hou", are borrowed from Dave Garroway, the first host of NBC's Today show.
    • As of S02E94, this has expanded slightly to "Resist. Remove. Peace."
    • On the few occasions a video is directed at Trump supporters rather than his usual base, he'll close with a simple "Thanks for listening."
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Invoked almost word for word in the second line of the first episode bearing the Resistance byline, S02E01.
  • Twenty-Fifth Amendment: S02E04 explores how it could be used to remove Trump and elevate the Vice-President to Acting President.
  • [Verb] This!: S02E10, about James Mattis:
    Keith: Per federal law, [he] is not actually eligible to become Secretary of Defense until May 22nd, 2020, because a Secretary of Defense by law must be retired 7 years from active military service. Trump's gonna get them to waive that. Waive this: Mattis is on the board of General Dynamics, which makes tanks, and submarines, and other stuff the Pentagon boys like to buy.
  • Voice of the Resistance: Both literally and figuratively.

"Resist! ...Peace."


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