In the current climate, politics can often feel like a bizarre TV show. Whether it’s the chaos of Brexit in the UK or the ill-advised tweets of US President Donald Trump, some of the stories we see are almost too ridiculous to be true.
Politics has long been a popular topic for satire, and many TV producers have created shows based on governments, both in the US and the UK. Here, we take a look at three of the best politics-themed comedy shows.
Featuring Seinfeld star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep tells the story of fictional US Vice President Selina Meyer and her misfit team of assistants and political aides. Louis-Dreyfus gives a fine performance, encapsulating the two-faced nature of political campaigning as Meyer tries with all her power to become the first female US president.
Tony Hale also plays a starring role as Meyer’s personal aide Gary Walsh — an awkward man whose loyalty to Meyer knows no bounds. Other characters include the hapless Communications Officer Mike McLintock and the competent but easily frustrated Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer.
The show is a hilarious parody of top-level US politics and won the Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Comedy Series’ three years in a row between 2015 and 2017. The next USA President odds have Donald Trump as favourite to win a second term in the White House, so be sure to watch Veep before all the craziness of real-life politics takes over in 2020.
The Thick of It
On the other side of the Atlantic, The Thick of It is one of the UK’s best-loved comedy series. Starring Peter Capaldi as the hot-headed, foul-mouthed Government Director of Communications Malcolm Tucker. The show follows the exploits of different government ministers in the fictional Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship.
Capaldi steals the show throughout the show’s four seasons and two specials. There are fine performances from Chris Addison as the snide Government Advisor Ollie Reeder and Vincent Franklin as Stewart Pearson, a pompous PR guru.
The show won the BAFTA for ‘Best Situation Comedy’ (now known as the Best Scripted Comedy) in 2006 and 2010, with Capaldi winning several awards and nominations throughout the programme’s lifespan. With British politics currently in a head-spin over Brexit and another General Election, a lot of the carnage in The Thick of It no longer seems quite so outlandish.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is a hilarious, goofy portrayal of a small town’s local government. Amy Poehler gives a stellar performance as Leslie Knope, the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Knope’s forward-thinking, progressive plans for the town are often foiled by backwards locals or Director Ron Swanson, who despises everything about local government.
Parks and Rec is where Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt first made his name. Pratt was only supposed to play the role of Andy Dwyer for the first season but impressed producers so much that he became a permanent cast member and one of the show’s best-loved characters.
The show does a fine job of portraying the frustrations of local government in a hilarious way. Each character in the show has their memorable qualities, making Parks and Rec one of the best shows to binge-watch until your belly hurts from laughing.
Even though politics can frustrate us and make our heads ache in real life, it has provided the subject matter for some of the finest TV comedies ever made.