Latest episode of ‘Our Cartoon President’ falls short of actual comedy

Caitlyn Dieckmann 

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  “Our Cartoon President,” available to watch on Showtime and comprised of three seasons, provides a satirical look at the life of President Trump. The most recent episode was released on Oct. 25, entitled “Senate Control.” 

     The beginning of this episode portrayed the last debate between the presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump, but fell short of actual comedy. Both were depicted as loud, irritable characters unable to function in a live debate. Of the two debates that we did have, maybe the episode could have benefitted more from joking about how the second was far more civil than the first.  

     However, the opening portion of the show that focused on the debate seemed to have been thrown in. It did not relate to the premise of the whole episode, so I wonder if it was only for the sake of including Trump in the story.  

     Previous episodes have always been favorites for me, as they know to find the difference between vicious, satirical jokes and actual comedy. Unfortunately, this episode was too far-fetched and detached from its viewers, as well as brutal in its depiction of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.  

     “Senate Control” is less focused on Trump, and more so on Pelosi and Schumer. Together, the two of them work to sabotage their own electoral chances in winning majority in congress.  

Photo courtesy of Showtime.

     The episode hinges on the idea that Pelosi and Schumer want to avoid the responsibility of governing the United States. The comedy in this instance falls apart for me due to the focus on Congress.  

     The show began as a way to make light of Trump’s presidency and rarely deviates from this premise. This episode is one of the few exceptions, and it is hurting for it.  

     Showtime’s viewers are not as widespread as those subscribed to other streaming services, like Netflix or Hulu, so their shows need to be targeted towards particular audiences. However, this deviation to focus on making fun of Pelosi, and doing so distastefully, deters viewers.  

     Out of the entire series, my favorite is Season 2, Episode 10. Entitled “Space Force,” the episode captures Trump’s launching of the Space Force and the Democratic presidential candidates’ campaigns. The episode aired in July 2019.  

     This episode is a prime example of light-hearted comedy that can still raise a chuckle or two out of any person. The Democratic candidates are “afraid” to lose to Trump and decide to tank each of their campaigns. Looking back at this episode, I envy what a calm time we were living in.  

     As far as my least favorite episode, “Senate Control” really takes the cake. However, Season 1, Episode 8 makes inappropriate innuendos about U.S. officials, while in a hot tub. The episode is entitled, “Government Shutdown,” released in March 2018. 

     When General Kelly goes out of town, cartoon Trump throws a party during 2018’s government shutdown. Congressional leaders, including Pelosi, Schumer, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan all get hot and “jetted” together. This episode, unlike the majority, takes the satirizing of our country’s leaders a bit far as it bolsters what is practically vacations for them during political tumult. 

     My comfort in comedy cannot be found where cartoons are depicted joking in insensitive ways, especially during important moments, such as government shutdowns. That is why Season 3, Episode 15 is also a least favorite. It depicts cartoon Trump declaring war on an invisible enemy, but this enemy is COVID-19. Again, the show could benefit more by focusing on the election. 

     Overall, I love this show, but sometimes it does not quite hit the funny bone. Instead, it can be insensitive. But I continue to watch because it is a lighter comedy than much of the political “joking” we are subjected to in all our media outlets.  

     “Our Cartoon President” actually began as a segment on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and is continued to be produced on Showtime by Colbert. If I had to rate his ability to produce a funny, short and lovable TV series, I would give him five stars, out of five. However, the latest Oct. 25 episode fails to reach the bar set by its other episodes. Therefore, I give the episode alone two stars.