Tv Review: Our Cartoon President Season 3 Episode 1

our cartoon president s3e1 index
Every time I’ve tried to watch Our Cartoon President I’ve made it to the end of the episode having smiled a few times and maybe laughed on occasion, but at the same time have left feeling mildly depressed at the state of the world. If it was more vicious I wouldn’t have such a response, if it tore that monster that is Donald Trump so many arseholes that he’d be one giant collection of walking anuses then I’d find it worth watching, perhaps even essential comedy, but for a satire about the most distressing thing to have happened in the last decade (and boy are their a lot of contenders for that position) it’s just not harsh enough.

But I like to try and be open to giving a series another shot every so often, at least if it’s not objectively awful (there’s no way I’ll ever watch another episode of Mrs Browns Boys for instance) and series can of course grow and improve over time. This latest episode of the series certainly did feel like the strongest one that I’ve seen so far too, but it’s something that I still have issues with, the main one being the way that they portray Trump as far smarter than he’s ever appeared to be.

For one thing he makes some genuinely quite funny quips about his family, with Eric and Don Jnr Trump coming in for quite the drubbing, and it just doesn’t seem real, like the Trump we know and despise. Yes, he’s astonishingly arrogant and self centred and self obsessed, so they got that aspect right, but it’s a strange choice to make him relatively intelligent with it, and quite funny, too. I mean he’s clearly not exactly troubling Mensa, what with the way he releases a book called “My Struggle”, and the show is happy to attack him by making it clear that they think he’s guilty as hell, what with Sean Hannity happily exclaiming “Facts don’t stand a chance against us”, but as with much satire of the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson it presents him as a buffoon rather than a dangerous psychopath / cunt.

It’s a strange decision and one I can’t quite understand as it certainly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to it’s portrayal of Bill Clinton, who five months on is still in tears over Jeffrey Epstein’s death, sobbing “You traded your jet for wings, brother”. I’ve no issue with that at all, any famous person’s relationship with the horrendous paedophile is extraordinarily dubious at the very best and at worst absolutely abhorrent and appallingly disturbing, but for them to tear in to Clinton (and other well known figures too, like Mike Pence and Rudy Giuliani) while only gently poking Trump seems at odds to me.

The series is on firmer ground when it’s depicting supporting characters and so Elizabeth Warren’s realisation that the general public are moronic and only buy in to the image, not the message, is a funnier aspect, especially the way she then appears on television and speaks a lot of Trump-esque dialogue. And the satire of the media is fairly decent too, hosts of various news show get a good kicking and the episode doesn’t pretend in any way that the way presidential candidates are dealt with is in any way fair.

But despite these aspects it’s still not a show I have any urge to watch again simply because of the way it characterises Trump, and three seasons in that’s clearly not going to change. Indeed it could be suggested that the show is doing more harm than good and certain people may walk away thinking that he isn’t as bad as he seems, and for that reason alone it’s a show I can’t in any way recommend, and despite certain moments being amusing I find myself hoping it’s cancelled rather soon.

★★

Alex Finch.
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