Isn’t it nice that people are more politically aware these days? And all it took was a tanking economy and a self-destructing planet.
MSN.com’s video network is currently producing a series that tries to capture some of the excitement surrounding the current Presidential race by creating a online campaign site for a new political party – The Republicrats.
The Republicrat Party nominee is Sean Masterson, a motor-mouthed, young, white, male simpleton with the cheerful manner of a TV weatherman (his previous occupation).
Republicrats is a little edgier than you might expect from a satire produced by a megacorp. In this case “edgier” translates to occasional swears, an extremely broad gay stereotype, and a few decent satirical jabs at American foreign policy.
The production value of the Republicrats is strong, though not particularly stylish. The series’ best feature is the acting, and the more saggy material is boosted by the cast’s enthusiastic yet believable deliveries, particularly in the “behind the scenes” segments where the campaign team spitballs ideas, which leads to some fun, The Office style humor.
Sean Masterson (both the character and the actor) is the writer and creator of this series, and he gives himself most of the best lines. He speaks in political double-talk and rapid fire one-liners and there are several gems in his weatherman-fast patter. In describing alternative food sources, he compares crickets favorably to “Popcorn! With legs!”. I LOLed.
The rest of the cast is strong as well, and it’s particularly nice to see character actor Gary Anthony Williams as Masterson’s campaign manager (you might remember him as Smart Brother in the notoriously underrated Undercover Brother).
Like Masterson, Williams does a great job of delivering ridiculous political patter with the forced sincerity of real politicians, though his extended material doesn’t give him much to work with, and his solo segment in which he recounts how his grandfather donated his heart to Masterson (one of Materson’s campaign slogans boasts he “has the heart of a black man. Literally.”) stretches a thin joke way past the point of tolerability.
This being web 2.0, much attention is paid to user interactivity, and viewers are encouraged to send in videos if they’d like to be First Lady or Vice President, or if they just want to ask Sean about issues. This leads to your typical batch of half-funny, half-intelligible video responds, like this one:
Part of the satire of Republicrats is the idea that if people can’t commit to one party or the other, they can simply choose a party where their input informs the choices the candidates make. Because although American politicians are supposed to cater to the will of those who voted them into office, and voters are supposed to have direct influence on what laws are passed, it never really feels that happens.
Sean Masterson is presented as a mindless panderer, but the idea of politicians who will listen to the voice of their country doesn’t sound too bad these days. Here’s hoping!