“Trump: White House — Impeachment”
one out of four
Rating: TV-14 for language, situations and remarks audiences might find uncomfortable.
Director: Stable Genius.
Cast: Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
Released by: U.S. Electoral College.
Showing: All day, every day on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS.
Of Note: This is a satirical review. “Trump: White House” is not a real TV show; it is reality.
By Kaylee Brewster
By the time the third season of “Trump: White House” rolled around, the first thought on my mind was “Oh boy, here we go again,” in dreaded anticipation of more flailing democracy in action.
For those that need a recap of the show’s premise: Donald Trump, a real estate mogul/reality TV star becomes president of the United States. Season one introduced audiences to Trump and his ever-changing staff and constant stream of Twitter gaffes. Season two mostly dealt with his isolationist foreign policy and an ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, which brought Trump to power.
Season three begins by concluding the season two cliffhanger: A partial government shutdown over border wall funding ends with Trump declaring a national emergency to pay for it. It was a dramatic way to start the season.
Season three also, finally, brought the Mueller storyline to conclusion with investigators releasing a report on the Russia investigation. The nation, the world and the show’s fans waited with bated breath only to discover that the report was a vague mess. It was like the writers couldn’t decide whether they wanted Trump to be guilty or not. Mueller did not find that Trump did anything criminal nor was he clearly exonerated. Most boring payout in the history of television.
In a new story arch, Trump spontaneously pulled troops out of Syria, abandoning Kurdish allies that fought with the U.S. against ISIS. Even his Republican supporters disapprove of the decision, which opens the door for Turkey and Russia to waltz in and take over, letting loose a few ISIS prisoners in the process. The story fizzles out after the ISIS leader is killed by a Trump order. Trump gets his man, but ISIS declares a new leader and begins to rebuild. It’s another vague and seemingly pointless chapter to the tale.
Trump’s trade war with China continues to pop up from time to time. Trump has promised a new deal with the country is coming, but “ongoing talks” keep stringing viewers along. It’s mostly a forgotten subplot.
Amidst these main themes, “Trump: White House — Impeachment” took some bizarre turns. There was the time Trump befuddled the world with a sudden public statement that he wanted to buy Greenland. Not long after that he got into a fight with the National Weather Service over where Hurricane Dorian would hit. Oh, and then that one time Trump nearly started a war with Iran and was about to launch an airstrike against the country, but then decides against it.
As entertaining as all this was, it was nothing compared to what the writers planned to end season three, a titular “impeachment” process, something audiences have been speculating was coming since season one.
In the three years since the show premiered, the internet has abounded with fan theories on how impeachment could happen. In season three it unfolds with Trump cutting off an expected military aid delivery to the Ukraine and then making a phone call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (not to be confused with Voldemort from the “Harry Potter” series, something writers should have thought of before naming the character). In the call, Trump asks the Ukrainian government to work with his private attorney to investigate a potential 2020 presidential rival. His plan unravels when a whistleblower reveals the chain of events and the story goes public.
Despite a confusing series of rambling events, the one thing “Trump: White House — Impeachment” succeeded at this season was gifting the audience with yet another edge-your-seat cliffhanger (recall how season one ended with the threat of a nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea). An impeachment trial in the Senate is expected to kick off season four, which also happens to be an election year.
The process of getting there, however, was rather dull.
Throughout the impeachment hearings, while long-term diplomats, ambassadors and intelligence officials mostly agree Trump did the things he was accused of, Democrats repeat the same old cries of “guilty” and Republicans constantly complain about the unfairness of the inquiry, saying Trump did nothing wrong. As in the first two seasons, we see Trump incessantly tweeting his innocence. If every American got a dollar each time he declared the process was a “hoax,” “sham” or “witch hunt,” we’d be able to pay off the national debt. Viewers, however, stayed tuned in for the payoff, a House vote to impeach.
The storyline was written to create drama and boy howdy did it, on the internet and in the fictionalized nation. On the show, reaction to the impeachment is muddy, with the general public disagreeing over the most basic facts of the case. Fans and critics took to the internet to debate its believability, arguing Republicans would never support a president who leveraged taxpayer dollars and foreign influence in hopes of winning an election.
Regardless of the implausibility, impeachment serves no purpose if it doesn’t move the story forward, and right now it seems like the writers are spinning in circles. The plot is set up with a Republican majority in the Senate, meaning Trump won’t likely be removed from office, making the impeachment seem frivolous. Like the Mueller report, the showmakers seem to be spending a lot of time developing something that will end up being a dud.
A plot turn meant to give the series some life may prove to be its death, one way or another. Either the series will end with the impeachment of Trump and the country won’t be subject to this strange show anymore, or the show will go on and the expectation of decorum in democracy will end. Unless it already has.