Twitter Facebook Instagram Google+ Tumblr YouTube E-Mail WhatsApp Sign In Check Close snapchat
Search
Exit Clear

10 Streaming Lessons To Help Understand Why Presidential Politics Suck

10 Streaming Lessons To Help Understand Why Presidential Politics Suck: Kevin Spacey in House of Cards

Kevin Spacey in House of Cards

Scott Walker became the second Republican nominee to drop out of the presidential candidate race this week (Rick Perry was the first, earlier this month), leaving only an impressive 14 people still running what is increasingly looking like an attempt to exhaust everyone else and become the candidate by being the last man — or woman, if it’s Carly Fiorina, but let’s face it, it’s probably not going to be Carly — standing.

The never-ending circus might have you wondering what the hell it’s all for, anyway… so, this week, consider this a crash course in what it’s all for. Or, at least, what it’s all about: 10 streaming shows or documentaries about presidential politics and the race for the White House. All potential candidates: take a look and ask yourself if you really want to put yourself through this.


TANNER ‘88 (1988)
A mockumentary by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau and filmmaker Robert Altman, Tanner '88 follows an obscure Democratic politician as he goes through the primary campaign against — spoiler for those of you who don’t know your real-life history — real-life nominee Michael Dukakis. Filled with cameos from real life politicians and political figures, there’s a fun merging of fact and reality, and a sense that this might be how politics worked back then.
Available on: Hulu


THE WAR ROOM (1993)
Of course, for those looking to see how politics worked, this documentary about the Clinton campaign during the 1992 campaign is hard to beat — especially for those who want to see an astonishingly young James Carville and George Stephanopoulos fight to bring Bill Clinton to office. What’s genuinely depressing is how idealistic so much of this seems from today’s perspective.
Available on: Hulu


THE WEST WING (1999)
But when it comes to idealistic, it gets no more so than Aaron Sorkin’s unrealistic love letter to democracy, in which even the bad guys aren’t really that bad (unless they’re foreign, in which case they’ll be won over by our superior morals). Sure, the show bears almost no resemblance to the real world beyond lip service, but wouldn’t you rather that this was the way things worked?
Available on: Netflix


COMMANDER IN CHIEF (2005)
After The West Wing, there was Commander-in-Chief, in which Geena Davis became the sexiest president in U.S. history when she assumes the post upon the death of the elected official. (Give it a few years before America was ready to imagine a woman actually being voted into the office; we’ll get there eventually.) Cancelled during its first season, there’s definitely an element of West Wing-lite here, but it’s better than you might think.
Available on: Hulu


SO GOES THE NATION (2006)
What swung the 2004 election for George W. Bush? According to this documentary, the state of Ohio — well, really, the cultural divide between parties and those who support them, but as personified by Ohio, to make things slightly more understandable. The cultural divide of a decade ago — one that’s probably only gotten more pronounced since then — is explored and explained herein.
Available on: Hulu


PATRIOCRACY (2012)
Mind you, not every problem facing presidential politics comes from the choice of the person in the big house — this documentary on the breakdown of the political system in Washington might not be quite the “non-partisan” ideal it aims to be, but it’s certainly something that highlights just how gridlocked the system has become, leaving actors on both sides of the ideological debate unable to get anything productive done. When can we leave to go live in the West Wing reality again…?
Available on: Hulu


POLITICAL ANIMALS (2012)
This mini-series didn’t claim to be “ripped from the headlines,” but it’s so obviously based on Hillary and Bill Clinton that it almost doesn’t need to be. Sigourney Weaver’s faux Hillary has more problems than the real one — or, at least, more soap operatic concerns, instead of private servers and deleted emails — but when it comes to trashy television with shameless ambitions, this is pretty damn tempting.
Available on: Netflix


HOUSE OF CARDS (2013)
While the first season of Kevin Spacey’s Power Fantasy Theater might not be particularly presidential, things pick up in the second (and especially the third) season — although this show is really the antimatter universe analog to The West Wing, as unrealistic as each other, and as cynical as that show is optimistic. Someone, somewhere needs to write fan-fic pairing these universes somehow. Maybe a Bartlett/Underwood debate?
Available on: Netflix


CAUCUS (2013)
To try and put the current Republican race in some horrifying perspective, you could do worse than watch this retrospective on what it was like in 2012 — a time when we all thought things were as ridiculous as they could get. Little did anyone think that Donald Trump would cause quite the amount of chaos that he did…
Available on: Netflix


MITT (2014)
You’ll probably finish this documentary about the 2012 Republican Presidential candidate’s campaign finding yourself thinking, “Aww, I guess Mitt Romney’s not that bad, really,” no matter which side of the aisle you’re normally on. Humanizing Romney more than his own campaign never managed, this ends up as a sympathetic figure, if one that never really quite understood why he didn’t just get the Presidency handed to him. Available on: Netflix


Playboy Social

Never miss an issue. Subscribe and save today!

Loading...