When politics or history are on TV, all too often the subject matter is treated with either the hyper-dramatic touch or about as much flair as a 4-hour PBS documentary. It’s not that “House of Cards” or … a 4-hour PBS documentary don’t have a time and a place, but sometimes you just want to laugh. And thankfully, there are political shows that deliver some serious belly laughs. Here are three that you can binge-watch this weekend!
This Australian TV show asks a simple question: What would have happened if World War II was a 1960s spy sitcom? The result is a bizarre and over-the-top international adventure, with Hitler as a supervillain pitted against a multi-cultural team of secret agents. The second season jumps forward (inexplicably) to the 1980s, but the “PG-13 B-movie campy Tarantino” ethos remains the same. It’s violent, absurd, and often vulgar—everything you would hope for in a show in which Hitler steals all the world’s major monuments to make a statue of himself.
The show does tip-toe (and then dash over) the lines of impropriety. But if the mere idea of Mengele being half dinosaur or time-traveling secret agents trying to stop Nazis makes you (sensibly) chuckle, then it’s worth checking out.
“The Thick Of It”
Before he was The Doctor, Peter Capaldi was Malcolm Tucker, a foul-mouthed nightmare who stalked the halls of power looking for people to eat alive, rhetorically. Armando Iannucci, the genius behind the show and subsequent movie “In The Loop,” takes satirical aim at the dysfunction of government. The wit is quick, the swearing inspired, and the bureaucrats barely able to function.
As for “In the Loop,” the movie takes things to a whole new level as Tucker and the team have to try and roll back a low-level Minister’s accidental backing of an unnamed U.S. war in the Middle East. The ensuing one upmanship between the U.S. and U.K. representatives is hilarious, and even a bit cathartic. Every government needs a Malcolm Tucker to keep everyone terrified/in line.
Iannucci also turned his sights on the U.S., with HBO’s comedy “Veep.” Centered on the Vice President, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and her stressed out team, it’s a hilarious take on the inefficiencies of government. Just like “The Thick of It,” the dialogue of “Veep” is laced with expletives and fast retorts.
On top of the hilarity, it’s awesome to see a lady in the V(I)P seat. And the upcoming season has her in the White House! Selina Meyer is the perfect blend of warm to your face and about to snap you in half, and she’s a heroine we can all get behind, especially when she has to tell a group of children, “It’s the President’s turn to tell the story … Yeah, I’m the President,” or drops some real Feminist Knowledge.