Carly and Donald

TV Recap! Republican Presidential Debate

I know I promised in our last edition of TV Recap! to review an amazing new rerun of Lawrence Welk involving a cowboy-themed rendition of “La Marseillaise” (performed on the melodica!), but sadly I have to temporarily postpone that into perpetuity. There was a surprisingly compelling program on The CW last night! I was confused as you, dear readers—for a while, I was hoping Devin would refuse to pose shirtless with Carly Fiorina and finally get his comeuppance from Tyra, but it turned out it was not “America’s Next Top Model: Guys & Girls.” It was the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate and Airplane Hangar! Let’s get straight to it, shall we?

First, let me commend Jason Sudeikis on his moderating skills. I was very surprised to learn he had gotten into politics and seemed to know so much about what the candidates were saying about one another in the break room—but then again, he always seemed a little too sober in his comedic work. I also liked the one-two punch of Bana Dash (sp.?) and Hew Hughitt. It was really nice of Jason Sudeikis to let these audience members ask questions. However, I thought Bandana Ash (sp.?) should have colored her hair black—it’s that kind of minor detail that throws off a program’s intention to have two people surgically alter themselves to look like exact opposites. Nevertheless, it was a strong team backed up by high production values and the musty smell of rotting plane seats.

CNN moderators

Second, I’d like to get straight to the horse-race question, which is who broke their leg and had to be put down on the field. My heart goes out to you, Scott Walker. For too long you were given massive amounts of steroids, and now your dreams of being treated kindly by your trainer on the occasion of your retirement to a Kentucky horse brothel are gone. I had been looking forward to seeing future generations of show bets.

Third, it’s obvious that there is no way anyone can keep all of the people and issues straight—who believes what, when so-and-so’s first word was “Reagan,” and which person smoked who’s stash (does it really matter? That stash is gone). At first, I was really impressed with William Jennings Bryan, who, though sadly aged, is still capable of soaring oratory that makes me rethink my stance on free silver. Bryan’s performance tonight reminded me of his famous work in Inherit the Wind, where he unspooled a brilliant legal argument for throwing all books into giant “thought-pits” that would prevent them from interfering with our “freedom to religionate.” He is so clearly deserving of an Emmy.

Bryan and Huckabee

But then I found myself mesmerized by Ted Cruz’s measured phrases. I was already a fan of his voiceover work for the Texas release of The Ten Commandments—no foreign actor has ever captured Charlton Heston’s stentorian Moses with quite the same Southern lilt—but the visual effect of his quavering jowls and carefully tended scalp tendrils strongly reinforced his claim to having the most rectangular visage in the race. It’s an important qualification for the Presidency: can you squarely face our enemies?

But I soon became overwhelmed by all the attractive personas. I had to pause the show and resort to one of my favorite ways of sorting through complicated feelings about TV people (which I experience as the feel of garlic oil between my fingertips, owing to synesthesia): a pro/con list! I used this recently to evaluate which American Ninja Warrior had the best shoulder sculpting, although it just confirmed the obvious: Isaac.

So, without further ado, here is TV Recap!’s official assessment of the top 11 Republican candidates!

Table of Repub pros/cons

Reviewing this list, the conclusion is inescapable: Someone forgot to invite Hillary.

By the end of the debate, my nightly espresso began wearing off and I began dozing. My notes aren’t clear and I’m operating from memory here, but I really liked the part where they made the candidates draw pictures of their wives or mothers or Mother Theresa for potential display on the British 10-pound sterling note, then pose shirtless with cardboard cutouts of a cowboy named Rawhide in order to get to the next round with Devin, who is a real jerk by the way. This climactic sequence pulled me into the action and made me feel closer to the candidates. I hope future debates can live up to the excitement, because I could really taste their sweat.

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