The hit political satire airing on almost every network reaches further than most using brilliantly timed outrage
I was excited to see the pilot of “Presidency: Trump” just so I could see it drop onto the pile of cancelled garbage now that the new season is swing.
But after giving the blowhard host a shot, and after taking a few shots myself, I saw that the show has the potential to go far beyond the outrage-of-the-week standard in political reality TV.
For those out of the loop, the America Network has run a season of Presidency every four years for as long as I can remember. The spinoff AN released this season follows the (literal) trials and tribulations of the President’s cabinet picks. The show is hard to describe, but imagine a three-part mix of “Big Brother,” “Wife Swap” (for four years) and “Survivor.”
First off, the contestants. Any real fan will remember many familiar faces from the “Election” miniseries last fall. Where that show was nail-biting and soul-crushing, this show projects lighthearted cynicism in an “Arrested Development” fashion. When I saw my favorite love-to-hate character from “Presidency: THE ELECTION,” former Governor of Texas Rick Perry, appear as the secretary of Energy, my jaw dropped.
Of course bringing back celebrity favorites is a staple of reality TV, but Trump’s media strategist and social justice warrior Steve Bannon is a genius at knowing just who to pull out of the shadows.
I mean, Perry? The guy who forgot the Department of Energy when he was listing executive agencies to cut?
The way Trump’s team assigned departmental picks may seem random, but it’s not. Each person was placed at the head of the department he or she was meant to destroy. Plot. Twist.
I’m not exactly sure about the creative choice bringing Ben Carson back into the mix. As much of the “weird dude everyone agrees should be voted off” role he takes on, he’s just not charismatic enough to survive for the season. What’s even more effective about these characters is that they’re set up to be bombastic and forgettable at the same time; after all, who remembers who Obama’s department heads were, even six months after he was elected?
I think the main problem the show might run into, despite the gut-busting Senate hearings last episode, is stagnation. People are bored of politics that don’t make them fear for the future of their nation. Whether the fear “Presidency” capitalizes on is a horde of immigrant zombies taking their land or the next Third Reich rising up, if the ratings drop, the messages will change.
It’s already happening. Trump promised huge tax cuts for the wealthy while also stating his disgust with American debt. But to pay for these tax cuts, his administration will have to borrow trillions of dollars, which increases the debt the last time I checked.
But I shouldn’t pick apart the little things: it’s just a show, after all. But I think Trump is just buying time because he spent his whole show budget on naked paintings of himself and couldn’t afford writers to finish off the season.
By focusing on a new statement each day that doesn’t just possibly but definitely contradicts yesterday’s, he keeps the public squabbling and guessing, mystified at the grand plan Trump has to tie together all the plot holes, story contradictions, differing promises and unrealistic expectations he’s released over the course of this season.
I, for one, am tuning in to find out how.