More than a quarter-century since President Ronald Reagan left the White House to start his retirement in Southern California, the former actor and conservative icon is again making regular appearances on TV.
A decade since his passing, The Great Communicator still has a heavy hand in American politics, as presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, continually draw generous self-comparisons to his vision and hard-line stances on policy and American greatness.
While Reagan’s legacy as one of the most iconic leaders of the 20th Century is seldom questioned, a generation who grew up watching him deal deadly blows to Communism, and reaffirming America’s place as “a shining city on a hill,” has grown up to guide television programming, and some have a different take on Reagan’s many accomplishments.
Simply put: ‘80s brats are taking over TV, and some of their agenda-driven projects are taking aim at Dutch, as they reexamine the decade of their youth.
Netflix’s eight-episode prequel to the 2001 cult film, Wet Hot American Summer, is seeing role reprisals from Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, and Amy Poehler, to name a few. In addition to these big name stars, a fictional President Reagan makes an appearance, but only in a more negative, sinister light.
While the camp staff parties in the show, the President Reagan is meeting with military advisers in Washington, D.C. and, and concludes that the summer camp must be nuked, in order to hide a toxic waste plot. In the show, Reagan also slaps a number of aides.
Deutschland 83 is an eight-part German TV series set in a divided Germany in 1983, during a peak period for Cold War tensions between East and West.
The German language show’s first episode opens with Reagan’s 1983 “Evil Empire” speech.
Season 2 of the Cold War era FX drama The Americans also ended with Reagan’s Evil Empire speech, with Keri Russell’s spy character stating, “The man literally wants to destroy us.”
It should be noted that both The Americans and Deutschland 83 are era projects, and use the “Evil Empire” speech in its historical context. The crime series Narcos, also on Netflix, will explore the ambitious rise of Pablo Escobar as an international drug kingpin. The show makes the assertion President Reagan’s “War on Drugs” was motivated by the interests of big business, rather than the impacts of drug abuse on America’s young people.
Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell is playing Reagan in the second season of FX’s black-comedy crime series Fargo, which was inspired by the 1996 Coen brothers film of the same name.
Campbell will be playing candidate Reagan, who swings through Minnesota in 1979 on a campaign stop.
The actor told The New York Times the key to accurately portraying President Reagan is exaggerating words that start with the letter “w.”
“WH-ell,” “WH-ere,” he said.
Campbell told the paper Reagan “was like the man who was mad at you for hitting your softball through the window… He was the scolder-in-chief.”
He also said there is a nostalgia for “a commander in chief who says, ‘I’m gonna bomb your ass,’” adding, “Nobody talks like that now… Obama’s like: ‘Hey let’s hold a summit. Let’s take a consensus.’ ”
While none of the aforementioned TV projects are groundbreaking, or overtly popular, their deeply political messages are the stuff that shapes narratives and changes minds.
Andrew Breitbart famously noted the cultural influence of film, TV, and popular music, and ultimately, their influence on politics. While Americans struggle to overcome six years of oppressive, big government policies, the Left is using a familiar outlet to attack the legacy of a beloved icon.