Speed Reads

John Oliver Goes Too Far

John Oliver waxes poetic in his takedown of all things 'pumpkin spice'

America is perhaps taking its "pumpkin spice" fixation a little far — though don't fall for that "pumpkin spice condom" hoax. But John Oliver thinks even a little bit is too much. His HBO show is taking the week off, but on Sunday night, Last Week Tonight released this web-only takedown of all things pumpkin spice, especially the thing we all think of first. Pumpkin spice lattes are "the coffee that tastes like a candle," Oliver says — and not like a candle smells, but "like a candle tastes."

Oliver then gets philosophical about the appeal of the pumpkin-related flavor: "We tolerate pumpkin spice because we like the fall." But, he adds, "just about anything that reminds us of autumn is a better flavor than pumpkin spice." I can get behind his comparison of pumpkin spice lattes to "eggnog for morning people," and even his admonition to drink regular coffee instead. But he goes too far when he casts aspersions on pumpkin pie. Sorry, Oliver: No comedian from the land of a thousand "puddings" has the right to criticize America's Thanksgiving lily-gilder. --Peter Weber