In TV fantasy world, a politician can argue an articulate, beautiful point with nuanced prose and gain votes for it ... but that’s not quite reality in America in 2018.
President Donald Trump gives his first annual State of the Union address on Tuesday. Given that his approval rating is solidly less than 40 percent, there’s a decent chance you’d rather see a “good” politician ― aka one with no baggage or issues who has been dreamed up by Hollywood writers ― on your television instead.
The characters listed below wouldn’t necessarily do a better job than Trump ― as, after all, one of them is a cartoon. But if you need to easily escape into a different reality on Tuesday ... here you go.
This is part of Streamline, HuffPost’s weekly recommendation service for streaming shows and movies. Every Saturday, Streamline ranks the best shows to watch online, including a specific focus on Netflix.
So, starting with the most obvious ...
1. “The West Wing”
This character is a classic example of what writers thought a “good” president should be, and what would also actually resonate with voters before the time of Trump (and arguably the rise of former President George W. Bush, too).
Sure, Bartlet made mistakes, and the long-running show means there are plenty of policy decisions Bartlet made that you can disagree with. But he can string words together very eloquently.
2. “Parks and Recreation”
Leslie Knope never became president on the show, although it’d be nice to think she eventually got to that position. Given the recent setback of her idol, Hillary Clinton, perhaps Knope would run into the same unfortunate (and often unfair) problems Clinton faced in a general election.
In any case, watching Knope’s extreme optimism and solid belief system is a constant joy. Perhaps no real human has the energy and can-do attitude of Knope, but one can dream that qualified super-humans such as this exist out there. And that any such Knope would actually want to spend their time in politics to help others.
3. “Bojack Horseman”
Woodchuck Coodchuck-Berkowitz is a cartoon woodchuck who briefly has lobster claws for hands. In “Bojack Horseman,” Coodchuck-Berkowitz struggles to maintain the governorship of California as unqualified celebrities run against him.
Perhaps Trump would have beaten Coodchuck-Berkowitz.
But like Bartlet, this is a politician with big ideas who knows how to give an inspiring speech. He also eventually replaces the lobster claws and gets normal-sized human hands. So that’s a plus in terms of competing with Trump.
4. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Lillian Kaushtupper is not a typical politician. She’s an obstructionist at heart and often engages in illegal activities. Her campaigning tactics are also pretty similar to those of Trump’s 2016 campaign.
But while there is no guilt-free humor in watching Trump give a speech as president, Kaushtupper is definitely funny. And so, her rise as a politician is inarguably easier to watch.
5. “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”
Former President Barack Obama doesn’t play a fictional character on a show ― he plays himself on David Letterman’s new interview project. But that’s still a show, so it counts, don’t ask questions.
Obama wasn’t perfect, but he left office with around a 60 percent approval rating. So maybe you’d just rather watch him talk on your television Tuesday night instead of Trump.