I’ve always had a soft spot for political humor. From George Carlin to Bill Maher, Jon Stewart to John Oliver. Having gown up on Sesame Street and the Muppet Show, my earliest childhood interest in politics came from the likes of D.C. Follies and Spitting Image.
Imagine how excited I was to learn that Spitting Image, the British satirical television puppet show, had returned and is streaming on YouTube. When I saw the characterizations of Trump and Biden with the headline: Spitting Image Episode 1, I nearly fell out of my chair. The show is back.
The original series, which aired on ITV from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s, was central in the moral opposition to the longest period of British conservative rule at the time. Thatcher and Reagan were prime targets as were the Royal Family and other pop culture figures.
Spitting Image was purposely offensive and it’s format was as politically incorrect as you can imagine. It was not a show you could watch if you were easily offended. No one was safe. That being said, I’m happy to say, nothing has really changed.
The show has always had the ability to make you laugh by exaggerating the personal characteristics of politicians, business leaders, celebrities, and other VIPs. They call the show Spitting Image for a reason. The characters are exaggerated truths of themselves.
The reboot of the series, right from the second scene, demonstrates their desire to keep pushing one’s moral limits in the age of cancel culture and social justice warriors. It literally depicts Donald Trump’s asshole stretching out from under the bedsheets to tweet his followers. Hilarious, insulting, and offensive, particularly to someone who reads those tweets in real life with a sense of admiration.
While the program concentrates on the idiocy of conservative rule as it did during the Reagan-Thatcher era, liberals and progressives are by no means exempt. New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been mocked for being too perfect. Nancy Pelosi was ridiculed for kissing the ass of every racial demographic, and Greta Thunberg was depicted as a raging teenager who took up arms against the injustices in the refereeing of a soccer match. Again, hilarious, insulting, and offensive, with a hint of truth.
The timing of the show’s return couldn’t be more perfect. Premiering about six weeks before the American election, peek conservative rule in America and Britain, and a culture seemingly offended by everything.
Whether you lean more to the right or left doesn’t matter. If you’re easily offended, Spitting Image is not the show for you to be sure. But, if you don’t take things too seriously and have an open sense of humor, there is no reason why conservatives, liberals, libertarians and progressives can’t once again enjoy a program that turned me on to politics all those years ago.