‘Homeland’ & ‘Our Cartoon President’ Review: Spy Drama Returns On Point; Colbert’s Trump Comedy Flounders
If you are a big supporter of Donald Trump or happy that Hillary Clinton never made it to the White House, then Showtime has a Sunday lineup for you staring February 11 with the debut of Our Cartoon President and the Season 7 start of Homeland. The thing is, though, that while the Claire Danes-led Homeland again revels in layers of complexities and spycraft agendas, the new animated series executive produced by Stephen Colbert is little more than a protracted exercise in failed satire.
In fact, Our Cartoon President has the likely unintended effect of being exactly the kind of show the President’s dedicated base would enjoy if you overlook a few pratfalls (and we know Trump’s base is very good at overlooking that which doesn’t jibe with their impression of the Celebrity Apprentice host-turned-President). With voice-over by Jeff Bergman as Trump, this offering from Colbert, Late Show EP Chris Licht, Matt Lapin, Tim Luecke and showrunner R.J. Fried effectively and toothlessly skins most of Seth MacFarlane’s best offerings as well as 2001’s short-lived That’s My Bush. The result, as I say in my video review above, is remarkably to transform a usually unlovable Trump into an endearing doofus dad who just wants to be appreciated but can’t seem to do the right thing.
Like Our Cartoon President, this penultimate season of the Emmy-winning Homeland may seem at first to be a perfect red meat BBQ for Trump supporters. With its talk of treason, authoritarianism, military executions, abandoned constitutional rights, subpoenas, and a President who has gone way off script in an effort to crack down on her enemies (real and perceived), this cycle of the Alex Gansa-stewarded series initially plays out as the Hillary Clinton presidency they feared in their worst nightmares.
Yet, like the great and the not so great past seasons of Homeland, there is a lot more going on here than what is seen at first glance as a particular type of Deep State and resistance rearing their heads. As Danes’ ex-CIAer Carrie Mathison tries to free Mandy Patinkin’s Saul Berenson and 199 other top-level members of the intelligence community rounded up by newly elected, once progressive and assassination-surviving President Keane (played again by the excellent Elizabeth Marvel), the proverb “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” results in some very unlikely bedfellows in what looks to be one of the strongest seasons yet from what I’ve seen.
So, click on my video review above of Our Cartoon President and Homeland now. But on the first Sunday of the Winter Olympics, I suggest you avoid the less than bush-league Our Cartoon President and join Showtime at 9 PM ET for the return of Homeland. Like the great Buffalo Springfield once sort of said, there’s something happening there.
This review originally ran on February 9, 2018