Last week, Prescott Pharmaceuticals introduced their latest product, UltraVaxaMax. It includes every previously released Prescott medication in one easily-consumed tablet. There are only a few side effects, but it’s totally worth it . . . it definitely prevents whatever it’s not causing. Let’s take a closer look at Prescott Pharmaceuticals and Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., brought to you by Colbert University’s in-depth elective, COMM 401: Faux-News Segments.
Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA: In this hilarious segment introduced in the spring of 2007, Stephen proffers unsound medical advice peppered with recommendations of drugs and products made by Prescott Pharmaceuticals, an underwriter of the show (“If it’s childproof … it’s not Prescott”). The products, which include Vaxadrine, Vaxadril, Vaxachub, Vaxascab, Vaxa-Cream toothpaste, Vaxa-Smacks cereal, Vaxasom, Vaxamax, and Vaxamamm, are described as having an increasingly hilarious retinue of side effects, from phantom hand syndrome and scrufula, to spontaneous pregnancy and late-onset albinoism, to minor heart explosions and pulmonary weevils. A comprehensive list of segment videos and side effects is available here.
Like many Report segments, “Cheating Death” is introduced by an elaborate graphics sequence. Its visual design is an homage to Ingmar Bergman, as Time magazine movie critic Richard Corliss noted in his 2007 memorial tribute to the film director: “The Colbert Report has an occasional segment called ‘Cheating Death,’ which is introduced by the image of Stephen facing the hooded figure of Death over a chessboard. That’s a reference to the 1957 film The Seventh Seal, a medieval morality play written and directed by Bergman. Colbert, who switches chess pieces while Death is distracted, parodies the role of a knight (Max von Sydow) who puts his soul on the line to save a few lives during a season of plague.” Stephen also made this clear in his own tribute to Bergman, which began with the scene that Cheating Death’s opening parodies.