Well, well, well, Donny. Here we are, on Day 5 of your administration and you’re off to a rocky start. Well, rocky for people who care about freedom of press or environmental safeguards, quite successful for corporate america. But I digress. You’ve taken a sacred oath to protect the constitution and serve the American people. But do you even know what America is?
So much of my understanding of America is wrapped in my early exposure to American TV shows and I think TV is also perfect medium for you to get to know this country better. You think in sound bites. Your obsession with image is unparalleled. Your attention span is... limited, to put it kindly. There are great shows being crafted and shared everyday, so here's a short list for you. This might help you get ready for the next..sigh..4 years.
Parks & Recreation. You literally don’t seem to know what the government does. And you clearly have no respect for women. This show should really be mandatory viewing for all elected officials. Parks captures how much passion and hard work goes into local government. It also showcases how people of different political leanings can share the same values. I know you’ll probably hate everything about this show except for Jeremy Jamm, so maybe Mike Schur’s newest show The Good Place might be more up your alley. It’s about a shitty person who mistakenly ends up in the Good Place (as opposed to the Bad Place) and has to scramble to pretend to be a good person to stay there. Oh? Too on the nose? Mike Schur might be this generation’s Norman Lear the way he sneaks progressive values into mainstream network shows and quietly subverts audience expectations.
Another contender for today’s Norman Lear is Kenya Barris, creator and showrunner of Black-ish. If you want to know what half of America really felt on November 9th (and still feels), watch the episode of Black-ish dealing with the election results. To be a president means to be serve every citizen (and non-citizen) regardless of how they voted. The American people are not your enemies, Donny. Critics, absolutely. Detractors, sure. But as it turns out, we also want the best for this country, its denizens, and the planet. Black-ish tells the story of a typical upper middle class American family, dealing with standard sitcom shenanigans. However, the show does not shy away from controversial subjects. In the past three seasons, they've deftly covered police brutality, racial profiling, and gender roles. The cast is hilarious and last season rightfully earned lead actress Tracee Ellis Ross a Golden Globe Award. I’m excited to see what other topics this show will tackle under your administration.
Speaking of Norman Lear, why not just watch One Day At A Time, the Netflix reboot of Lear’s show from the late 1970’s about a Cuban-American family (gasp) led by a single mom (double gasp) who is also an Army veteran. The story is universal, though the details are specific to the immigrant experience. The cast, led by Justina Machado and Rita Morena are utterly charming. The writing can be fairly clunky, and the plot lines formulaic. Despite being filmed in an archaic sitcom format, the show won me over by relentlessly tugging at my heartstrings. I'm not sure that will work on you but now that I know how much you like laugh tracks, you may find it adorable. Well, tolerable.
Show to avoid: Saturday Night Live. It seems to make you mad and distract you from real work, so maybe just read intelligence briefings on Saturday nights.