REVIEW: ‘The G Word With Adam Conover’ Looks At What Government Does And What it Doesn’t

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The G Word (1)

The G Word With Adam Conover (The G Word) is a mini-docuseries from Netflix. What does our government do? Does it care about us? The government and its policies affect every aspect of our lives. From the food we eat to the GPS that helps us find where we are going, the government has an integral hand in all of it. But is that for the better or the worse? Well, it seems to be both.

One of the biggest struggles surrounding any discussion about the government is the extreme position so many people take. It feels like the only positions one is allowed to hold are either blind, unwavering loyalty to the monolithic institution, or you have to view it as a singular evil that needs to be burned down root and stem. But, are those the only two options?

As Conover guides viewer’s through the six episodes that make up The G Word he looks at some incredible things the government has done and continues to do for us in our daily lives. Highlighted by real-world visits to the folks that are making these things happen, Convover gets to showcase some of the hardworking and deeply committed people who try to make things work as best they can. But, as he explores each episode’s focus, he doesn’t shy away from how the government and the officials that run it are failing the American people.

This even-handed look at how the government operates comes across with a striking level of authenticity. This authenticity is not only developed by what the show says but by how it backs up its statements. Evey finding, survey, or poll that Conover references in The G Word are accompanied by the onscreen presence of who and when the information was gathered by. This transparency in where the show gets its information helps reinforce its position of educating the public, instead of driving an agenda. The only place where this impartiality fails a bit is when the series talks to former President Barak Obama.

Initially introduced in the show’s opening, Obama returns near the series conclusion as Conover finds himself struggling with how we go about changing the failings of the government. As Conover asks questions about change, Obama’s answers don’t feel great. Rather than strong acknowledgments of the failings of government officials, himself included, he falls back on the old lines about “change takes time” and “blame the republicans”. There is plenty of blame to be placed there, however, as our government continues to make the same mistakes it always has, with a congress and president controlled by the Democratic Party, these statements feel more like excuses than answers.

Despite this disappointing stumble, The G Word closes out its run with one of the strongest statements of how people can start trying to change their governments that can actually matter. While trying to grapple with how to improve our country, Conover himself criticizes the attitude that “just go vote” will solve all our problems. Rather, the series pushes for individuals to take a more active role in state and local elections, pushing to create the reform for things like criminal justice at home and help it spread from there.

Throughout the documentary’s run, Conover liberally sprinkles in the humor one would expect of the stand-up. While I rarely found these moments truly funny, they serve to help the viewer handle the heavier information that the show brings. It never undercuts anything meaningful from the series, rather it seeks to break up the various sequences with a touch of playfulness.

When it comes down to it, The G Word is one of the best looks at government, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and just as importantly WHY it does what it does that I’ve seen in a very long time. Rather than feeling like it is purely driving an agenda, Conover’s look into our government feels like a genuine attempt to educate the public about just some of the good and bad things that make up our government.

The G Word With Adam Conover is streaming now on Netflix.


The G Word with Adam Conover
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

The G Word is one of the best looks at government, what it does, what it doesn’t do, and just as importantly WHY it does what it does that I’ve seen in a very long time. Rather than feeling like it is purely driving an agenda, Conover’s look into our government feels like a genuine attempt to educate the public about just some of the good and bad things that make up our government.