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  • Shelby Cadwell

Electoral Dysfunction: A Post-Midterms Watchlist

Regardless of how you feel about the results of yesterday's midterm election results (some of which are still being tabulated, or in tight races, contested), it is important to remember how utterly absurd American electoral politics can be. That isn't to say we shouldn't take our civic duty seriously, or that the outcomes of elections don't have real effects on real people, but that - like anything else we do - electoral politics should be open to critique and satire. This watchlist includes some of TV's silliest takes on American politics from recent years.

Futurama - "A Head in the Polls" (Season 2, Episode 7)

In a Nutshell:

Richard Nixon's head is elected president, again, despite being totally and completely awful in every way. Other candidates Jack Johnson and John Jackson are literal clones of one another.

Favorite Quote:

Richard Nixon's Head: "I remember my body. Flabby, pasty-skinned, riddled with phlebitis. A good Republican body. God, how I loved it."

Futurama - "Decision 3012" (Season 7, Episode 3)

In a Nutshell:

Hoping to stop Richard Nixon's Head from winning another election, Leela starts to work as campaign manager for idealistic senator Chris Travers. When Nixon demands to see Travers' "Earth certificate" it is revealed that doesn't have one because he technically hasn't been born yet - he's a time traveler who was sent from the future to stop Nixon. Paradoxical time travel hijinks ensue, and of course Nixon wins in the end anyway.

Favorite Quote:

Nixon: "I promise to cut taxes for the rich and use the poor as a cheap source of teeth for aquarium gravel."

Fry: "Yeah! That'll show the poor!"

Leela: "Why are *you* cheering, Fry? You're not rich!"

Fry: "True. But someday I *might* be rich, and then people like me better watch their step."

South Park - "Douche and Turd" (Season 8, Episode 8)

In a Nutshell:

After a PETA protest against the South Park mascot, "Mooey the cow," the school holds a competition to determine their new mascot. Stan doesn't want to vote, though, because the two choices are a Douche and a Turd Sandwich. As a result, Stan is ostracized and banished from the town.

Favorite Quote:

End credits song: "Let's get out and vote/let's make our voices heard/we've been given the right to choose/between a douche and a turd/it's democracy in action/put your freedom to the test/a big fat turd or a stupid douche/which do you like best?"

South Park - "About Last Night..." (Season 12, Episode 12)

In a Nutshell:

It is the eve of the 2008 election and Obama has just beaten McCain. In South Park, Obama supporters are celebrating in the streets and McCain supporters are preparing for the apocalypse that they are sure will ensue when Obama takes office. In the White House, Obama and McCain are working together to meet their real goal - using a secret tunnel underneath the Oval Office to break into the Smithsonian and steal the Hope Diamond.

Favorite Quote:

Kyle: "Excuse me, my little brother needs medical attention!"

Nurse: "Was he an Obama supporter or a McCain supporter?"

Stan: "Why does that matter?"

Nurse: "Because then I'll know if he partied too hard or if he tried to kill himself!"

Parks & Rec - "Campaign Ad" (Season 4, Episode 12)

In a Nutshell:

Leslie Knope and her campaign crew have to decide whether to run a negative ad against her opponent, Bobby Newport (played by the lovably doofy Paul Rudd). Leslie isn't into it, but since she's 70 points behind in the polls, she begrudgingly agrees to the attack ad.

Favorite Quote:

It's hard to explain...just watch:

Parks & Rec - "Recall Vote" (Season 6, Episode 6)

In a Nutshell:

Leslie Knope is recalled from her position as City Councilwoman. Devastated that her dream job has been ripped from her, Leslie starts to spiral while Ben and Ann appoint themselves as her "emotional support task force." Things get messy when Leslie convinces Ben that they've both peaked and they go on a bender. In the end, Leslie decides to spend her last 30 days in office doing as much good as possible.

Favorite Quote:

Ann: "Ben! What is the first rule of the Leslie Knope emotional support task force?"

Ben: "Don't let her get a tattoo."

Ann: "What the hell happened?!"

Ben: "I couldn't help it. She's so cute when she's coming up with destructive ideas."

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