Thursday, April 09, 2020

The Twilight Zone (2019) -- Season 1 Episode 5 (The Wunderkind)

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

-- Winston S. Churchill

It would seem that entertainers have a certain advantage when entering politics.  It would seem that they have a skill set similar to politicians, in that they know how to play to an audience.  Consider that Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger were actors who went on to become governor of California.  Reagan even became president.  Al Franken became a senator representing Minnesota.  Clint Eastwood and Sonny Bono were mayors.

It’s ultimately a popularity contest.  Raff Hanks may not put it exactly that way, but he recognizes that an 11-year-old boy has potential.  Oliver Foley is just a kid, but he has a popular YouTube channel.  He seems to have a lot of good ideas that people connect with.  Who better to run for President of the United States?

Granted, Raff is an opportunist.  He admits as much when he’s called on it, but he does seem to believe that Oliver could actually do it.  Technically, it would be mother Helen Foley on the ticket, but Oliver would be doing all of the commercials and debates and whatnot.

Despite a really embarrassing first debate, Oliver gets in.  Not only that, but Oliver insists on keeping his campaign promises, starting with free video games for everyone.  What clinches it is a video about his dying dog, Homer, who I suspect is appropriately named.  Oliver even wants to find a Homer II once in office.

This is when Raff begins to see the harm he’s done.  Oliver is may be likable, but he’s still the same temperamental 11-year-old he was before.  He still doesn’t like doctors.  The difference is that now, he has the power to act punitively.  Plus, Raff is the only one who can bring himself to say no to the President.  Even Helen, who’s the actual President, is willing to let him run wild.

That’s the thing that makes democracy so horrible.  It’s a popularity contest.  We get exactly the kind of person as president that we ask for.  You might say that an 11-year-old has no business in power, but there he is.

I would say to contrast this with Raff’s previous client, President James Stevens.  However, we don’t really know much about Stevens, except that he was the least popular president in American history.  We don’t know what his policies were or why he was so unpopular, but it really doesn’t matter.  Being popular isn’t the same thing as being right.

I’d say that this is a really good episode.  The episode is an effective look at what our current situation is.  It’s what the new series should be.  Make The Twilight Zone great again.


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