The ebb and flow of the tide continues as I watch the latest season of President, the virtual reality television show. This ground breaking production has, over 44 seasons, had its ups and downs. Here’s a small review:
I first became aware of the world of President during season 39. The scriptwriters had been slogging out the device they called the Cold War but the ratings must have dropped so they decided to fill the lead role with someone who was a washed up actor, it was considered as good as the genius of Birdman in its day. Hollywood just loves stories about Hollywood and actors.
Season 40 saw a thawing in the Cold War story and, when viewing figures dipped, the writers orchestrated an assassination attempt, borrowing from some of the highlights of seasons 16, 20, 25 and 35. As a brave turn the writers wanted to include a line about the decay of mental abilities in old age, raising awareness and so had the development of a President in early stage dementia. In a meeting about diversity the writers had created a strong female character but had her only as a senior world leader elsewhere, they didn’t believe the viewership was ready for the idea of a strong woman in the main part of their story. Using the internal rules of the series developed somewhere around season 33 they had to change lead actors and so the next President Season 41 was produced.
A war abroad wasn’t enough of a revolutionary choice to keep Season 41 alive but their special effects of burning oil fires encompassing a whole desert deservedly won awards and helped create a new industry. The audience was tired of wars overseas and the ratings dived. The woman leader of a small island was replaced by a grey, dull man and there didn’t seem to be anything special in the pipeline.
A change of writers saw a new team take the helm of USS White House [the studio’s nickname for the show]. What happened during Season 42 was the creation of a few long burning story lines to arc over many seasons. These initial moves were complete sideline plots. A story about banking regulation and development of a terrorist organisation from the past highlights of secret CIA funding in a sandy country.
These slow fuse stories were kept ticking over while they used the salacious details of sexual abuse of power in the White House to keep the ratings up. They even had 42 in court and accused of lying. Another peace keeping mission in a foreign country kept the gun-nut viewers happy with newsreel shot showing camouflaged men shooting.
The genius of this season was to place the lead character as a caring democratic fan while at the same time writing in an economic boom giving the opportunity for easing of the financial rules and sucking up to big business. The internal struggles of the writers to create a person who could brag about helping and caring while ruining the regulation that keeps the populous safe and licking the dicks [and clits] of rich people showed as they tore themselves apart and a team of new writers was brought in.
The original writers moved to another studio and set up the show “PM” where they created a leader of a small island who, during a financial boom, broke down regulation to allow more financial flexibility for business. Brilliantly, being Hollywood, they created a vain man obsessed with his image in the media. As I said earlier, Hollywood loves stories about Hollywood.
While the anti-climactic ending of this season developed the writers went for familial connections and had President 43 be the son of President 41. He came along to finish the work his daddy had started in season 41.
Only a few months into Season 43 the writers, with the stable old white man in the big job, went brave. They destroyed a group of iconic buildings on the New York set. They killed thousands in a highly rated episode for its terror and horror. These scenes would be played over and over raising so much money for the studio. At the same time they embedded their lead in the place of innocence, a primary school. This superposition garnered many awards, especially with the written reaction of the President, we can see his brain unable to cope with the news that his country is under attack. This story line had started with Season 41 and the war in a sandy place. His daddy’s war.
Now, the audience seemed ready for a long and messy overseas war. The writers worked hard on creating the evidence from past seasons but they just didn’t have the excellence in the team and they fell short. None of the claims made by the lead characters in President or PM [now running a joint storyline] held up to scrutiny when looking at the back story. The public were annoyed that new plot lines just appeared and hadn’t been developed within the franchise. Hollywood was accused of making-shit-up. This is, to be fair, their job but the public still moan about the lies told within the President universe and the way many smaller characters were written out of the series through deaths in those wars in more sandy places. Filming in deserts seems easy enough.
The last ditch attempt to overcome this viewer anger was to create unrest in the President universe by using a new plot device on the actions of financial de-regulation of earlier seasons. A western world financial crash towards the end of Season 43 caused massive personality hardships for the lead characters and a new approach was needed to get the ratings back.
Season 44 was ground breaking. A black actor was cast as President. The writers had discovered a seam of pure viewing gold. Having 44 working tirelessly and seeming to do good in the world, balancing intelligence and humour while being photogenic helped. They even created a lasting, genuine bond between 44 and his second lead, who, to keep the racist viewers happy was white. Keeping the soap opera theme going they brought back the wife of 42 giving the senior characters oestrogen along with colour. Every now and then the racist-side characters would mimic the accusations of some of the viewers and pipe-up in the calling for proof that this man was eligible for the main job. They kept this theme running using ingenious plot devices of stupid business leaders and a dodgy news channel called Fox, because it’s one letter away from Fux, created as an internal joke a couple of seasons ago.
The writers plan was to have the economy improve over time and the wars to end slowly. There was still some torture and wrongful imprisonment, but they figured that it would only raise the viewing figures as people wondered whether the new black demi-god would fall from grace. Unfortunately the viewers don’t like characters being nice, they don’t like stable. The audience wanted scandal. The writers tried to raise figures by killing the leader of the terror attack from the beginning of Season 43 but the studio declared it wasn’t enough.
There were hints of the crazy to come as Season 44 marched towards the now standard season ending climax when the next lead character is revealed. All along the discussion process they had placed a well qualified woman against a fucking moron of a woman-abusing racist. This person had been a low, rarely occurring character during previous seasons best known for excluding black people from his properties during Season 38 and then more recently as an horrific television host with a glamorous wife whose show was glimpsed on the screens in the background of family discussions moving forward the main story line. He had even had some role in the undermining of 44’s leadership as a habitual user of the newly developed plot device of social media.
Only history and the release of minutes of meetings will determine who the fuck ordered the JUMPING SHARK. Someone ordered the writers to appeal to the dumbest arseholes in the viewership by having the orange monkey win the competition to be the next lead in Season 45.
The whole world of viewers, followers, and critics alike raged at the placement of an idiot in charge of the USS White House in the current season. Suspicion is abound that the writers had been meeting with the rival team over at PM and had used their idea of a shitstorm of plots where the small island votes to leave a community and club worth much in financial and social terms to themselves but they were too short-sighted to see it. The PM writers had gone with a script of chaos and the ratings just leapt.
So, now we have Season 45. After jumping the shark the writers are working hard keeping the crazy going. Now, the whole world is watching and the viewing figures are higher than ever. All the talk around the world at the water-cooler, or shared kettle, is about what will happen next in this crazy universe of President Season 45.
To list all the crazy so far would be impossible but having a lying, sexual abusing, bullying racist as their lead means the writers can do whatever they want. The only limit is their imagination. They’ve had the President say that racists are fine people, the President accuse his accusers of lying, a whole range of actors brought in to some senior roles, a dick-size battle played out internationally, collusion and collaboration with a foreign power, speeches of ramblings and unintelligence, bragging of power and general fuckery.
Whatever follows in the next season is going to be a downturn. They can’t maintain this level of crazy for ever. The viewers will get tired of it and this critic looks forward to the next season of President being humdrum and quiet with a return to social caring.