It’s surreal to think about how much TV has shaped Donald Trump’s image. Not just because of The Apprentice, but in terms of how we’ve engaged with him on television for the past year, from the disturbing soundbites of Trump speaking at rallies to the number of jokes routinely made about him that didn’t quite take him seriously enough. We all became somewhat desensitized, because it was happening on TV so often.
In this week’s episode of the Vulture TV Podcast, we talk about the role TV has played in normalizing Trump, and what scripted TV might look like in a Trump era. How will it affect comedy? Will political TV shows take on different tones than they used to? Will writers generally lean into more progressive ideas? And is TV pushing us further into bubbles? As Jen Chaney puts it:
Just like our political landscape, our media landscape is fractured and has been for a long time. The digital revolution that made it possible to watch practically any TV show from anywhere we choose has also made it possible for us to sit in the same room with our loved ones while staring at multiple screens projecting vastly different images. The question “What’s everyone doing?” might yield a single answer: watching TV. Or: scanning the internet. But what’s being watched or scanning may vary wildly from person to person. Our worldviews are being shaped in potentially radically divergent ways even when we’re sharing the same space at the same time.
I believe that technology has been a force for good on a number of levels, but I also think that it’s made us grow too accustomed to sitting next to one another without looking up or listening. While we have more ways to connect with each other than ever before, it’s also much, much easier to tune each other out. Forget clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. We’re ear buds in, heads down, can’t win. That’s not the only reason some Americans didn’t anticipate the outcome of this election and couldn’t figure out how to bridge the divide that led to it. But it’s certainly a factor.
We’re also joined by Vincent Rodriguez III to discuss how the election affected him, and Josh’s arc this season on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Tune in to the Vulture TV Podcast, produced by the Slate Group’s Panoply, every Tuesday, on iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please send us your burning TV questions! Tweet us @Vulture, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave us a voice mail at 646-504-7673.