Obama releases his TV Top 10 List, reminding Americans that he (unlike Trump) is just like us
Barack Obama; The young; Homelander
Homelander from "The Boys" | Barack Obama Photo Illustration by Salon / Getty Images / Amazon Studios
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America's outgoing president has rarely been on television for the past five years. In the meantime, the Obamas along with the rest of us have quietly consumed popular culture and even better, like so many of us. During the summer, Michelle Obama casually appeared in the Instagram Live audience for several Verzuz battles - there, to enjoy the music like millions of everyday people without fishing for special attention.
Earlier this week, former President Barack Obama shared some of the most popular TV show titles with Entertainment Weekly, pleasantly shocking comic book fandom by mentioning "The Boys." To give a full understanding of why this was such a shock, this is a series in which a super villain strangles one of the protagonists with a very long appendix, thus giving the phrase "breeder no shower" a new meaning. ""
This was just one moment in a tough, hyper-violent season that doubled on the larger arc of criticism of superhero worship and how easily a nation can be seduced into embracing fascism. Not exactly an escape tariff for the average citizen, but for a man who is still being slandered by right-wing media and who is currently (but not for long) a resident of the Oval Office? It has to be cathartic, I imagine.
The rest of his top TV list, released on Friday, is much more presidential and prestigious: "Better Call Saul", fluid chess story "The Queen's Gambit", the devastating "I May Destroy You", "The Good Lord Bird "," Devs "," Mrs. America "," The Good Place "and two excellent shows about his hometown" The Last Dance "and" City So Real ".
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Discuss the merits of each of these decisions as you see fit, but there is enough variation here to speak for their reality and let a person know that this is someone who enjoys the everyday pursuit of television as much as the average person does. These are the choices made by someone who shares an ordinaryness with normal people, even if they lead an extraordinary life. (His selection of movie favorites has tighter appeal but is impressive nonetheless, and I still don't expect Obama to publicly say, "Bill & Ted Face the Music.")
Bitter partisanship can't overcome the binding force of TV appreciation, but if you have some respect for Obama, you may be able to appreciate his understanding of what popular culture means to everyday people.
Donald Trump may be the master at manipulating his path to television and thereby convincing half the country to give up logic and facts, but one thing he has never - if at all - used skillfully is the power of the medium as a Balancing one's ability to reach out to the broadest group of people and invite them for conversation.
Fox News viewers are likely to disagree, given that Trump was a regular on all of his prime-time programming, telephoning Fox & Friends or Jeanine Pirro. This strategy is about making sure he stays the star and is always there.
Also, the character that Trump played for most of his life claims to have no time to watch TV, although several reports state that he spent most of his time in the office watching TV. On the other hand, if a show is about you and for you, do you watch it or look into your own reflection? A question for all philosophers who don't think about "The Good Place" and have nothing better to do.
If Trump has a year-end TV list, it certainly includes the same suspects they cited last year, minus Tucker Carlson's hour. "Hannity" goes without saying, along with "Justice with Judge Jeanine", "Mornings with Maria" with Maria Bartiromo and her colleague from Fox Business News, Lou Dobbs, presenter of "Lou Dobbs Tonight", who still lies spreads Trump could upset election results and retake the White House.
Dobbs isn't in the same cuteness as the rotating list of hosts at OANN, however, resembling every would-be Tracy Flick you've ever come across and spitting out every conspiracy theory you can think of. OANN is well stocked with "The Apprentice" type honchos, making it difficult to guess which program is his favorite.
Is it "Tipping Point with Kara McKinney," a show whose listless host has never met a negative misrepresentation of Black Lives Matter that she didn't believe in? Or is it "In Focus" host Stephanie Hamill who resembles Ivanka enough to make any admiration Trump expresses uncomfortable? It's easier to guess that Trump probably enjoyed "surviving Jeffrey Epstein", but for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately this is not a joke.
All of these guesses show the difference between these two men, not only in taste but also in temperament. Trump's favorite television series are his channels of exposure, and they're only as good as effective at telling us what he's thinking, no matter how far those brain blurs are from the truth.
In contrast, one can ponder Obama's list and look for similar topics, traits that are interrelated. He's explained why he likes everyone, but sometimes a series reveals things about his observer that the person isn't saying.
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Aside from those higher guesswork, the thrill of putting up lists of the best entertainment at the end of the year isn't about demonstrating our level of taste or proving our opinion is "right" or "wrong". by definition there is no such thing. Instead, it's a reminder that we are in agreement about experiences in our own time and in our own living room.
Every show can be a neutralizing magnet and remind people who care that we have something in common. In these rooms one can admit that although our politics are not right, we can at least meet on this floor, sit peacefully and enjoy the view.
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