Right now, in the lead-up to the weirdest US election in the history of democratic society, we all need to step back and take a time-out in our happy TV place. Let us jettison off to a world of fantasy - a world where the following figures lead the free world.
President Josiah Bartlett - The West Wing
So infectious was the fusion of Sorkin’s words and Martin Sheen’s skills that many American’s have allegedly added Martin Sheen's name to ballots, though that might say more about attitudes towards the process than West Wing fandom. We can’t imagine many West Wing fans would so blatantly flip the bird at the process.
Whichever way you cut it, and whether or not Bartlett’s part-fuddy duddy, part-Nobel-Prize-winning-academic President was too much of a liberal Mary-Sue, the fact remains that he was a genuinely good person to whom many of us admired. His scenes made for some fantastic(al) television viewing.
President Selina Meyer - Veep
If only Selina Meyer were running against Trump, or Hilary for that matter. For one, that would mean Julia-Louis Dreyfuss would be the leader of the free world, which means diplomatic visits to nations that revere dance will run like never before.
For two, it means that one of the most-seen figures in news will speak with Armando Iannuci’s superhuman dialogue and monstrous, city-crushing wit.
Sure, Meyer/Dreyfuss might block questions on relevant issues with shameless politicking, but it’ll all be delivered so scrumptiously, Americans and all her allies will gladly go down with the ship.
President Charles Logan - 24
Though 24 would eventually resort to churning out an assembly line of similar seasons, treading water for the sake of continued decent ratings, but a few aspects remained solid: its fun, melodramatic action; its fetishising of torture under the guise of patriotism and a succession of great casting choices for whichever president Jack was working with/against that season.
Taking the cake is Gregory Itzin as the slimy President Logan, a man who says a thousand things with every extended close up, nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine of them concerning.
While we wouldn’t want him anywhere near the Oval Office, he’d give the worldwide media an endless bounty of newsworthy material, due to, you know, being more a hot-headed super villain than head of a superpower.
Richard Pryor - The Richard Pryor Show
In this classic skit, Pryor’s mic is tuned to pre-Obama America, back when the idea of black face portraiture hanging in The Hall of Presidents was, well, the stuff ground-breaking stand-up comedians satirised.
President Pryor fields a series of questions from White House correspondents with increasingly absurd approaches to ‘answering’ in itself, while writer/performer Pryor maintains his signature nods to social issues, namely surrounding race.
Mike Brady - The Brady Bunch in the White House
After The Brady Bunch Movie (1995), A Very Brady Sequel (1996), and the little known Brady’s Brave the Malaysian Judicial System (1997...*cough*), the next obvious chapter for the blended family was the made-for-TV movie, The Brady Bunch In the White House (2002)
How exactly Mike Brady ends up leading the free world and naming Carol as his Vice President (which in real life would mean they’d barely have any contact with each other), is immaterial. Act I of the story was always going to be convoluted, so they may as well have had Mike turn out to be a dying Obama’s long lost brother.
Some find the Brady’s hilariously innocent, and I guess to some, seeing them in the comparatively serious world of U.S. politics is a lark. But all I see is a man fueled by severe delusional behavior, forcing his wife and children to unnaturally act like a mythical sitcom family, regardless of how much the world around them changes.
I guess he’d probably lower taxes, though, right?
Pinky - Pinky and the Brain
No explanation necessary. I'm with him. Narf!
Please stand for The Secrets Of The White House as it enters your living room on Saturday 22 Octoberat 7:30 on SBS. Episode one is available on SBS On Demand: