One of the criticisms of Jon Stewart's Daily Show tenure is that it emphasized civility. "A generation or more of Comedy Central viewers came to consciousness about current events by watching Stewart lethally and expertly skewering political actors," says Lili Loofbourow. "He did this so successfully, with such precise and well-chosen juxtapositions, that he sometimes in retrospect—at least according to his critics—overshot the mark, transmogrifying the outrageous into the merely grotesque or absurd. Back in 2012, Steve Almond argued in the Baffler that Stewart modeled a form of political engagement that neutered political anger by creating a communal space where the bad guys were so self-evidently ridiculous that there was no real need for civic activism; complacent chuckles would suffice. He took particular issue with Stewart’s habit of emphasizing civility as a fundamental value and the facile centrism with which he insisted—and still insists—that 'both sides have their way of shutting down debate.'.... I wasn’t convinced by this at the time—I liked Stewart and was pretty pro-civility myself—but I think subsequent events have proved Almond right. Stewart was an artist, but his medium demanded round edges. He could channel his outrage hilariously and powerfully in his monologues, which were never less than crisp and perfectly timed, and pivot with ease to the interview. The effect was smooth, digestible. Even when the guest was an adversary, there was bouncy good humor to the whole enterprise; after a little sparring, Stewart would wrap up with a 'Bill O’Reilly, everyone!' that genially defanged any preceding confrontation. Each half-hour was rigorously structured: The commentary had an arc; the interview had a shape. However distressing the news imparted therein might have been, a Daily Show episode felt like a fully digested thought. You could let it go. This is not true of The Problem With Jon Stewart. The two episodes made available to reviewers are fascinatingly unpolished. Stewart’s monologue in the first episode, 'War,' gets few laughs for good reason: It’s not punchy or precise, and it lacks that Stewart rhythm we’ve all come to expect. A behind-the-scenes discussion between the writers of how the show will be structured feels necessary, if only to orient the audience, but turns out not to really hold for the second episode, 'Freedom.' Whereas a typical correspondent’s interview in The Daily Show was skillfully edited to make politicians look like absolute idiots—in a way that could feel mildly comforting, if only because the segments were so definitive and irrefutable—the interviews in The Problem With Jon Stewart are sort of upsetting and shapeless." Loofbourow adds: "The Problem With Jon Stewart isn’t very funny. As one of my colleagues put it, reflecting on how Stewart’s descendants are doing his schtick better than he is, 'It’s like the master became the student.' But Stewart might be attempting something messier and more serious than his former work. He’s trying to grow up. Stewart used to insist he was just a comedian whenever he was holding others—like Tucker Carlson in that famous Crossfire interview—to higher standards. For better and worse, he’s not using that excuse anymore."