On Monday night, the number of women on late night increased by a factor of infinity, from zero to one. Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, a weekly half-hour talk show, made its promising debut on TBS.

The format feels like it still needs to be broken in—unlike most of its late-night peers, with the notable exception of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight (with which it shares a studio), the show doesn't feature guests—but it's clear that Full Frontal intends to allow longtime Daily Show correspondent Bee to play to her strengths. She's warm and winning yet sharp and surreal, physically gagging as she quotes a Kansas state senator who created a government dress code that exclusively applies to women. The premiere episode also offers up a truly inspired, Werner Herzog-esque short film about Jeb Bush’s increasingly depressing presidential campaign.

But Bee's satirical eye isn't strictly limited to politics. In fact, in the first two minutes of Full Frontal, she turns it on the very nature of her show and the pop cultural moment its emergence represents, setting the irreverent tone for the rest of the episode.


The opening finds Bee at a press conference for her new series, peppered with thuddingly repetitive questions about being the only female late-night host: "Is it hard breaking into the boys' club? What's it like being a woman in late night? What's it like to be a female woman?"

"You know what it took?" Bee responds. "Hard work, a great team, and maybe just a little bit of magic."

From there, we abruptly cut to a deeply creepy, vaguely satanic montage that wouldn't feel out of place in the American Horror Story opening titles.


"It’s true, we’re all witches,” Bee explains, affable as ever. I mean, she's not wrong.


Who's setting their DVR for next week's Full Frontal?

Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.