But lately, there seems to be a number of instances where TV shows and movies that really aren't politically charged, including the Sopranos, 24, Scary Movie 4 and others are directly hitting the administration on some pretty serious issues. In certain situations, it was at the point where it seemed as if a separate part of a minor plot line were being used to make a powerful statement against the crimes of Dear Leader and his merry band of criminals.
It even made me wonder of the creators of The Sopranos, or some of these other shows/movies have been directly impacted by some of the "policies" to the point where they are inserting specific scenes to get a serious dig in.
Now, I am not talking about shows like I named above, as they have been doing this for years. Nor am I talking about shows like The West Wing, which are political in nature to begin with, or even Boston Legal, which I don't watch but have seen columns allude to some of the more political issues raised there. Follow this link if you want to see a recent example, and a bonus of some wingnuts getting their collective panties in a bunch about it. And no, I am not talking about movies that are supposed to make a political point, like "V" for Vendetta.
But one of the best examples lately is on 24, where a dramatic shift from the popular and not overly political David Palmer as president to the current scheming, unsure of himself, bumbling fool of a president that is now Charles Logan. From a decisive, "do what is right" president to the fool that thinks too much of what impact his legacy will have before thinking through the consequences. Not to mention the fact that his own people don't like or trust him, and is personally involved in the terrorist mess that was created, or his Vice President that was hell bent on imposing martial law on an entire city or a Department of Homeland Security that was more interested in pulling rank than it was on actually working on "making Americans safer".
Another couple of examples that is from a show that really stays as far away from politics as possible is The Sopranos. For starters, there was the situation earlier in the season when Tony was recovering from the gunshot wound he took in the gut. When he was recovering, there was a very interesting exchange with someone from his insurance company which seemed to be forced into the script, just to make a point. The link will give you more detail, but the cliff's notes version is that the insurance company wanted to send him home earlier than he was physically able to go, referred to his luck in being at the hospital to begin with because they did a "wallet biopsy" to find out if he had coverage at all, and then denied him post-operation therapy. The exchange is below:
Brunette: How are you feeling, Mr. Soprano?
Tony: [eyes twinkling] I just started feeling a whole lot better, doctor! Where have they been hiding you?
Brunette: I'm not a doctor. I'm the [insert appropriate euphemism for cost controller] from your health insurance company. I'm here to see when we can send you home.
Tony: I just got outta surgery and you wanna send me home? It's all about the money. Why don't you people think of me once in a while?
Brunette: Actually, you're lucky that we're involved. If the paramedic hadn't done the wallet biopsy in the ambulance, you would have had to go to the county receiving hospital. Instead, you were able to come here and receive much better care.
Tony: Wallet biopsy? What the hell are you talking about?
Brunette: The paramedic checked your wallet and found your insurance card. If he hadn't found one, you would have gone straight to Martin Luther King--
Tony: Git outta my room, ya sick c**t!
Certainly not something that you would see in any previous season, other than the obligatory vulgarities.....When I first saw it, I immediately turned to my wife and we both were shocked (but psyched) that a swipe at the insurance company's dictating of medical service would be in that show.
Then last night, there was a swipe at the "post 9/11 world" line of horseshit as it related to an Afghani family whose son was rounded up and taken away for no apparent reason. Meadow (Tony's daughter for those who do not watch) is working at a legal services office and launches into a tirade at her fiancee about how this Administration has eroded our rights and freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism. Later in the show, Tony asks his nephew about 2 Arabs that they are dealing with and they decide that they are not "Al Qaeda types" for a number of reasons.
It was beautiful to see, especially in a show that is so highly watched and so non-political.
Another recent jab on generally non-political shows includes "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" where a recent episode was about a crooked lobbyist for Indian tribes whose wife shows up with her head caved in by a Ping putter.
It also looks like 2 movies that are just released or set to be released this week have taken the spoof route, however neither movie has much to do with politics. Both American Dreamz (an American Idol-style spoof) and Scary Movie 4 (hardly a political movie) have jumped into the mix too. Not that I have seen either of these movies, or plan to, there is this snippet about Scary Movie 4:
This weekend's top movie, horror spoof Scary Movie 4, has Leslie Nielsen as a president who, while sitting in a classroom during story time, ignores an aide's warning that the country is under attack by aliens because he wants to "see what happens to the duck." It's a jab at the minutes Bush lingered in a Florida classroom after being told of the second attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
And that cuts to the entire crux of the Bush-is-a-strong-leader line of crap. In a movie that, if it is anything like the prior 3, has absolutely nothing to do with politics.
Sometimes having shows and movies like the above make these kind of statements are more powerful than any talking meatstick on Sunday AM talkshows, or serious political shows, or even late night hosts and people such as Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert or Bill Maher.
And it certainly is nice to see.