On the latest Batman episodes (latest to air on SBS VICELAND - the show started in 1966), the Penguin, an evil madman ruthlessly bent on committing bird-related crimes, runs for public office. Will the population of Gotham City see through this conman’s ruse? Will they actually vote for this clearly unfit lunatic to be their mayor? Can the people of this great metropolis be that stupid?
These questions – and many others – were also posed after Donald Trump's bewildering ascendancy to the US presidency 50 years later (and every day since!).
In many extraordinarily important ways both real and imagined, you could say the Penguin’s campaign is directly responsible for the sociopolitical global disaster that is the Trump administration. In fact, I don't think you'd be remiss in claiming that very fine people on both sides (both sides) have acknowledged the debt that Trump owes to Penguin.
As these grabs from the episodes will show, the evidence is clear and, frankly, we're surprised The New York Times or The Washington Post didn't find it before we did...
Like Trump, the Penguin is not a boring typical politician – and he looks and speaks like a cartoon villain so preposterously over the top you can barely imagine that he's real.
It's hard to say what exactly is happening here, but the Penguin does appear to be invading this person's space - which is what Trump has been accused of by at least 19 women.
The Penguin cowers in the corner while his goons do the dirty work. Trump's version involves watching a lot of 'Fox and Friends' and tweeting wild missives that, again, lead us all to question our reality.
The Penguin ties up his political opponents and threatens to murder them with acid. While Trump hasn't literally done this (as far as anyone knows), he has murdered the American political system as well as the country's self-respect and dignity by constantly lying and dividing people with racist rhetoric.
Despite his ex-convict status, the Penguin gains a lead in the polls with his own brand of fake populism. Trump has (so far) dodged prison (and the Vietnam War), but he used a similar strategy to get a lot of white nationalists and their apologists to vote for him.
The Penguin bizarrely has underage girls working on his campaign ("I can't wait until I'm old enough to vote for you," this woman says). Trump didn't actually use this strategy during his campaign - he waited until he was president to champion an Alabama senatorial candidate who was accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour with a 14-year-old girl.
In their debate, Penguin ironically refers to Batman as a dangerous criminal. Trump threatened to imprison his opponent Hillary Clinton and encouraged his unhinged fans to chant "lock her up" at rallies.
The 'Batman' narrator refers to these Penguin aides as “other goodies”, setting a decidedly creepy tone for the campaign. Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and millions of people voted for him anyway.
It's difficult to imagine, but if you need more convincing, watch the episodes at SBS On Demand:
Then listen to the Batmanland podcast gang dive deep into these episodes here: