This feature is part of our Politics and Entertainment week, looking at the points where art and issues overlap.
Lately, it’s been easy to blur the line between politics and entertainment. The drawn-out 2016 Presidential election of has been flush with hyperbole while dominating headlines for what seems like forever. As we head closer to election day on November 8th, let’s remember some of the most compelling, and fictional, political storylines from TV’s current golden age. From backroom betrayals to conversations at the dinner table, here’s a look at some of the best ways that TV has tackled the often contentious and always complicated subject of politics.
Parks and Recreation – Public Debates
The show can be seen as one big love-letter to politics, so it makes sense that Parks and Recreation would spend an entire season on Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her candidacy for Pawnee City Council. The election’s debate pits Leslie, a tireless civil servant, against the dangerously unqualified Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd). Even though Leslie’s spent her entire career preparing for this moment, Bobby’s still expected to win thanks to the lowered expectations he’s facing. Top it all off with a disastrous debate watch party/fundraiser and a stage filled with fringe candidates that range from porn star to gun nut to rabid animal-rights activist, the whole episode summarizes the behind-the-scenes chaos of the closest politics gets to a live sporting event.