Kathy Griffin’s trip to Iraq offers insight into the troops’ lives, and “highly inappropriate” jokes

Tonight, Bravo series Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List wraps up a story arc about Kathy’s visit to Iraq. As unlikely as this sounds, this ordinarily light and fun reality show has, over the course of these two episodes, illustrated for us the situation in Iraq much better than television usually does.

Last week’s episode, which repeats tonight at 8 p.m. ET before the new episode (and at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.), was, in part, a vivid portrait of our troops’ experiences there, from the constant fear of attack to the “profanity will not be tolerated” sign that hangs in the hanger where Kathy delivers her act and calls Iraq a “shithole.”

Kathy is completely herself throughout the whole trip, having Matt do her hair while staying in one of Saddam’s former palaces, noting her D-list status when she’s ignored, and joking constantly. Thus, she’s an excellent lens for us to see what American (and Iraqi) men and women go through on a daily basis. As Kathy said, “It’s scary enough for us to imagine being attacked, but the soldiers have to deal with it on a daily basis, which is pretty incredible when you think about it.”

After visiting Kuwait, Kathy, Matt, Michael McDonald, and Karri Turner from JAG traveled to Tikrit, and then to Baghdad. They visit wounded soldiers in a hospital, including one whose fiance and best friend were killed while he was walking alongside them. The whole trip comes off as slightly self-congratulatory, because they’re crediting themselves with being the only bright spot in the soldier’s lives. But the soldiers seem to agree; one tells the camera that Kathy’s act was “highly inappropriate and hilarious—exactly what the soldiers needed.”

The visit is not apolitical, but whether you agree with Kathy Griffin’s politics or not, or whether you’re one of the 15 people who still thinks the war was a good idea or not, her visit is insightful and revealing. As Kathy said during last week’s episode, “The more I’m in an actual war zone, the more it’s just ugly. It’s not cool, it’s not a Toby Keith song, it’s not opening up a can of whoop-ass. It’s just horrible. I don’t know. Is it really worth losing so many of our own?”

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