Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Who is your favorite TV president?

A recent Reuters poll found that fictional TV presidents scored a much higher approval rating than our actual president. Even Francis Underwood kicked ass. And not only did he kill people, he had the audacity to propose cutting Social Security.

So my question to you, dear reader, is who is your favorite TV president?

Is it Jed Bartlet from WEST WING? I suspect all his votes will come from Blue States.

Francis Underwood and his wife might split his vote.

President Laura Roslin on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has to deal with killer robots but that’s easier than senate subcommittees.

I’m guessing David Palmer from 24 gets a lot of votes. He seems like a strong compassionate leader and you can call him if someone dents your car at Costco.

Ol’ Fitz Grant from SCANDAL should fare better with women and Ashley Madison subscribers.

Mackenzie Allen from COMMANDER IN CHIEF will do better with men (older men).

And Selina Meyer from VEEP is for those who believe the ability to make you laugh is way more important than the ability to lead. I see Trump voters going this route.

There are probably a few I left out. There was a different president every year on 24. And after the pilot I stopped watching MADAM SECRETARY so I have no idea who Tea Leoni is dealing with there.  Write-in votes are acceptable.  Also, there are way too many movie presidents to throw in this mix so I’ll just confine the discussion to TV.

Usually when I post anything even remotely political it results in heated debates. Let’s see how ugly the discussion gets and how personal the attacks are when the fighting is over Jed Bartlet vs. Frank Underwood.

64 comments:

Diogo said...

All time: Bartlett. Current: Selina. Also, you should have mentioned Wayne Palmer, he was president after David Palmer on 24.

Diogo said...

And evil president Logan after that! He was good in the role.

Carol said...

I never really watched American political shows, (or any other ones, actually) so all I can say with any amount of certainty is Harriet Jones is the best fictional Prime Minister of Great Britain.

John Saxon is the worst.

Ellen said...

Josiah Bartlet!

Neil D said...

Definitely Jed Bartlet. But I did get a kick out of the "Roslyn/Airlock '08" campaign stickers that somebody did up back when BSG was on the air. Now that's a strong VP pick.

Snoskred said...

Fitz is very pretty to look at but not very substantial.

For a president of substance it has to be Josiah Bartlet.. but if you want pretty *and* substance, my vote is for Matthew Santos.

Though Alan Alda was absolutely fantastic as the Republican candidate, he did not win so he cannot get a vote. :)

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Favorite Fictional TV President was Gerald R Ford.

Anonymous said...

This is a no brainer. Jed Bartlett is the best.

Pam, St. Louis

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken,

I'm a huge 24 fan so for me it's President David Palmer by a mile. Although Gregory Itzin as President Logan (who was a bad Richard Nixon IMHO) played that role so well. I like Frank Underwood more as member of the House, when he was on his way up, eating ribs at Freddy's and being seedy & underhanded. As President he's kinda leveled out and delegates to his henchmen like Doug Stamper & Meechum. Uh oh, I'm turing this into a House of Cards review. Anyway, President David Palmer gets my vote, --LL

Mike Barer said...

Selina Meyer for being the embodiment of everything we hate about politicians and still be likable.

Anonymous said...

Don't you recall the actor they hired to play the president for eight seasons?

Anonymous said...

Bartlet.

How can you not watch Madam Secretary? I mean Tei Leoni!

Bill Avena said...

Kang and Kodos, twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom.

B.C. Christiansen said...

Can we do Futurama's Richard Nixon...

VP81955 said...

How can you not watch Madam Secretary? I mean Tea Leoni!

If Tea isn't doing comedy, her talent is wasted. (Anyone who remembers her on ABC's first season of "The Naked Truth" in the mid-'90s knows what I'm talking about -- she was brilliant.) Leoni without laughs is like imagining a universe where Carole Lombard is best known for dramas such as "Vigil in the Night" and "They Knew What They Wanted"; technically, she's very good in them, but is that what we want to remember her by?

Tudor Queen said...

He had his flaws, but Jed Bartlet was a good man and a fine President. I live in a Red State, btw. Not always comfortable...

Tom said...

I vote for Nixon (sorry -- Logan) on 24. So great at being so slimy.

kent said...

Jimmy Carter on SNL talking a caller down from a bad acid trip.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my Logan vote: Jason Robards as Nixon (sorry -- Monckton) in the mini-series "Washington Behind Closed Doors" (based on John Ehrlichman's actually pretty good novel "The Company," which contains as plausible an explanation as any of how the Bay of Pigs might have led to Watergate) was also slimy, scary and compelling. Like Nixon. Still voting for Logan, however.

Tom said...

Addendum to my Logan vote: Jason Robards as Nixon (sorry -- Monckton) in the mini-series "Washington Behind Closed Doors" (based on John Ehrlichman's actually pretty good novel "The Company," which contains as plausible an explanation as any of how the Bay of Pigs might have led to Watergate) was also slimy, scary and compelling. Like Nixon. Still voting for Logan, however.

blinky said...

Nixon on Laugh-In or Jimmy Carter on Home Improvement.

benson said...

Well, if Washington: Behind Closed Doors is in play, then Esker Scott Anderson. He reminds me of Andy Griffith.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I'd definitely vote for Bartlet (his church rant alone, spoken in latin, made me root for him), although Matt Santos showed potential, had the show continued following his election.

Though not as known to the public, Babylon 5 had one of the most chilling behind-the-scenes villains, and it happened to be President Morgan Clark. Background checks, police state, bombing independent colonies. Only Straczynski knows for sure how many deaths has he caused.

Chris G said...

Bartlet, Roslin, Palmer.

Robb Hyde said...

Bartlett for America. Ooooh, time to get out the DVD series set.

Kelly said...

David Palmer! As crazy as it sounds, I really think his onscreen presidency helped Barack Obama in 2008! Palmer gave America a mental image of a great black president. By the time Obama ran, people could say to themselves, "A black president? Yeah, I picture that!"

Larry V said...

Yeah, it has to be Bartlett. Though Selina Meyer would be a hoot and I assume Matt Santos would have been a good President if the show had continued.

Peter Florrick is running for President on the next season of The Good Wife. Future contender?

flipyrwhig said...

I think there was a show a few years back where the plot involved a decent guy who ran against a cheerful, dimwitted slacker and won the popular vote, but was prevented from taking office by bad luck and a coordinated campaign of skulduggery. It ran on several channels at once and had several improbable twists, but there never was a second season. Anyone else remember that?

Mike said...

@flipyrwhig: Was it called Hanging Chad (whoever Chad was)?

YEKIMI said...

TV president: Jed Bartlett. Now, movie presidents that blow even the TV presidents out of the water: Michael Douglas in "The American President" [yeah, Aaron Sorkin was the writer and some of the actors went on to have parts in "The West Wing"] OR Kevin Kline in "Dave".

Craig Nesbit said...

David Palmer (and I agree he helped Obama), though Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in AMERICAN PRESIDENT has always been a favorite. Guess it's time to watch WEST WING...

Katie said...

Jed Bartlet of course.

Mitchell McLean said...

Harry Truman on Candid Camera. Gawd, I'm old.

Unknown said...

The president on "The Last Ship", shows the struggle of someone who lost everything, and then was put into a position of leadership.

gottacook said...

My favorite animated TV president has to be Super-President from DePatie-Freleng studios. I saw it a few times in 1967, a great year for many things besides cartoons.

Rod said...

David Palmer on 24 was the best TV president, followed by Allison Taylor, from seasons 7-8 on "24."

Mike Schryver said...

I was eight when Super President aired and it was one of my favorite shows, though I have no idea why. Perhaps it was on after Underdog.

David said...

No question: Jed Bartlet. What's next?

Sharon said...

Jed Bartlet for America! :-)

Jay Walker said...

For shear dark comedy my all time favorite is Stanley Kubrick's classic Dr, Strangelove, staring Peter Sellers as President Merkin Muffley. There are so many classic lines in the movie but the best is "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" A classic among classics...

Canda said...

Who can forget Weird Al Yankovick as President Stuntcastin on The Aquabats! Super Show! in 2012.

Actually, what about President Nixon who played himself on an episode of Laugh In? Many think this helped him
win the Presidency, by showing he was a good sport.

J. Hauschild said...

Bartlett ftw. Best animated President: Rainer Wolfcastle in "The Simpsons Movie"

Unknown said...

Hands down, the spirit and energy, "Kid President" has some great ideas; “Be Somebody Who Makes Everybody Feel Like A Somebody.”
~ Kid President
http://www.kidpresident.com/

croquemore said...

Bartlett for America. Although I always wished we could have seen what Alan Alda did with Arnie Vinick had he won in the last season.

Peter said...

Sorry to go off topic but I know you like it when readers bring to your attention funny or quirky things. There's a funny Canadian performer called Jon Lajoie who does comedy songs. I was looking up some of my favourites when I stumbled on one I hadn't heard before. I think you'll like it. It's a scathingly funny song about Mel Gibson that uses satire to attack his racism and violence against women.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxJfVWqK-qg

By the way, I finished listening to your podcast with Kevin Smith. It was great fun. I don't often listen to podcasts but this was fascinating. I didn't know the Cheers cast went on The Tonight Show completely drunk after the final episode aired. I looked up youtube in the hope there'd be clips but unfortunately not! Loved the Frasier anecdotes too.

VP81955 said...

Didn't Patty Duke play a female prez on a short-lived sitcom in the mid-1980s?

thirteen said...

Bartlet was best. After all, he got me through most of the "real" president at the time.

I want to put George C. Scott's President Tresch on the ballot. The series Mr. President managed 24 episodes in 1987-88 and, as I recall, was a hugely expensive disaster for Johnny Carson's production house.

thirteen said...

Oh, heck. I completely forgot about President James Norcross, aka Super President, a dePatie-Freleng cartoon series in 1967-68. With the endless wave of superhero shows hitting the airwaves this coming season, I'll bet somebody could do a live-action version. It could star James Brolin, who's in everything these days.

James Harker said...

President Machacho, [i]Idiocracy[/i]!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (And every one of those exclamation points is out of respect.)

James said...

Ed Flanders as real life President Calvin Coolidge from Backstairs at the White House.

Carson said...

Jed Bartlett. I want a president who's the smartest person in the room, or at least realizes when he's not and hires smart people who don't always agree with him.

Mike Doran said...

The President on Madam Secretary, Conrad Something.
I can't recall the last name (darndarndarndarndarn), but Keith Carradine plays the part.
It tells you how far we've come in this country when the sanest, most reasonable character on a show like this is played by a Carradine.

As to Veep Selina Meyer:

I'm waiting for the new season to find out how the writers resolve (SPOILER WARNING) the Electoral College tie that ended the finale this year.
I've been warning people about the possibility of 269-269 since the millienium.
I still think/fear that it's a real-life possibility for 2016.
Nobody's listening, as usual.
Oh well/oh hell ...
.

Cap'n Bob said...

He wasn't a series character, but Royal Dano played Abe Lincoln on a number of shows. He was the best.

Barry Traylor said...

I live in pretty much a Red county and there are times I feel alone on voting day so of course my vote is for Jed Bartlet. Although I love watching Frank Underwood.

Mike said...

Johnny Cyclops of Whoops Apocalypse (UK, 1982). Played by Barry Morse, Cyclops is a Republican President with an approval rating lower than that of Charles Manson. Advised by an insane right-wing Christian fundamentalist security advisor, Cyclops triggers nuclear armageddon.

benson said...

My son just reminded me...his favorite, Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln in the opening credits of the first episode of Police Squad.

McAlvie said...

Aw, I'm sorry you stopped watching Madame Secretary. It turned out pretty good. I love that they keep the show focused on her job, with very little home life angst. There's good chemistry with Tim Daly, too. I've always liked just about anything he did. Plus, Bebe Neuwirth, and Ċ½eljko Ivanek as Chief of Staff is fabulous in the not really a good guy but don't trust him kind of way.

Anyway, Carradine does a pretty good job as the President in that show, although he's only considered a recurring character, so he doesn't get much screen time. I'm not even sure what party he is supposed to be in.

I liked Bill Pullman in Independence Day, and Michael Douglas in The American President; but admittedly I liked them as characters probably a lot better than I would like them as presidents. I think people often confuse likeability with competence, which is such a bad idea. Harrison Ford was great. Now that I think about it, the list of actors playing the president is amazingly long and varied.

Yes, I know a few conservatives who wouldn't watch West Wing because of Sheen, which I thought was very silly, since it was and still is one of the best written tv shows of all time. Good tv is rare enough that you shouldn't let your politics get in the way. I liked Sheen in the role, but then the writing would have made almost anyone look good, and probably anyone could have played the part. And, really, the show stealing character was Josh Lyman, although it was a stellar cast the whole way around.

David Arnott said...

Perfectly timed question, as I just finished watching seasons 1-4 of The West Wing (the Sorkin years), something that I do about every four years - so this is my third time through - and damn, it just gets better every time.

Bartlett, of course.

goldendreams said...

Jed Bartlet. Hands down.

DrBOP said...

President Rufus T. Firefly.

Albert Giesbrecht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Abe Lincoln from Desmond Pfeiffer.

SharoneRosen said...

As much as I hate to follow the crowd, Josiah Bartlett, hands down!!

And I'm with Carol, the best TV UK Prime Minister was Harriet Jones, a brave, brave woman!

Anonymous said...

The unnamed president who called with an invite to the White House on The Dukes of Hazzard after they recovered the stolen Limo One.