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Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 11:55:00 AM
Friday April 25, 2014 MYT 1:41:34 PM
by sharmila nair
From super intelligent to adulterous to power-hungry, leaders of the land of the free have been portrayed in many ways in television series.
Some people are so fascinated with the president of the United States and would stop at nothing to find out all they can about who he really is, his favourite hangout joints, whether he cries at the end of a romantic comedy or even his shoe size.
And since he doesn’t have his own reality TV show in which we can take a glimpse into his private life, the only thing that comes close to imagining what the president is like at home and what he really does behind closed doors is through a television series with a POTUS character.
Of course these fictional shows may not give us an accurate representation of the president’s behaviour, but nevertheless shows like Scandal and The West Wing do give us a side of the leader of the free world that many want to see.
Now TV’s US presidents come and go but only some remain in our hearts and memory long after they are assassinated, impeached or simply killed off to give the show’s writers some new material to work on. Here are the ones who made the cut:
Scandal (President Fitzgerald Grant)
Played to perfection by Tony Goldwyn, President Fitzgerald Grant is the poster boy for all things red, white and blue – well, except for his extra-marital affair which threatens to make his world come crashing down.
Married to an almost perfect woman, Fitz courts a lot of drama as he gets entangled in a deliciously dangerous and oh-so-naughty affair with his White House aide, Olivia Pope. All that sexual tension between the two lovers and their super-secret trysts make for a delicious viewing.
Other than that one dirty bit on his otherwise impeccable resume, Fitz was born to lead and that he does with a great sense of pride. His Ivy League education also comes in handy now and then.
House Of Cards (President Francis Underwood)
If there is one war that any world leader should not get into with President Francis Underwood, the fictional 46th President of the United States, it has to be a war of words. Francis (played by Kevin Spacey) is a ruthless and cunning politician whose flair for words would definitely bring one down without much effort.
He is known for his biting remarks and colourful quotes such as, “If we never did anything we shouldn’t do, we’d never feel good about doing the things we should”, “They talk while I imagine their slightly salted faces frying in a skillet” and “A great man once said, everything is about sex. Except sex. Sex is about power”.
When Frank is not busy fighting his opponents, he is hell bent on getting what he wants – more power and materialistic possessions – and doesn’t think twice about killing those who stand in his way.
The West Wing (President Josiah Bartlet)
There have been a few presidents featured on this multiple award-winning show but Martin Sheen’s Josiah “Jed” Bartlet is the one that the audience favours. Classified as an “ideal liberal president”, Bartlet is a distinguished leader with lots of intelligence, personality and a great sense of humour.
He may also be the only fictional US president who was created based on a few real presidents and their characteristics, like Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. The series even had a story arc in which Bartlet hides a serious illness, like Kennedy, during a presidential campaign.
Creators of the show were also inspired by actual events that happened, and used the situations to mould Bartlet’s character even further.
24 (President David Palmer)
In the show where people don’t eat or use the toilet, actor Dennis Haysbert plays President David Palmer, a Democratic senator from Maryland who eventually becomes the first African-American US president.
Of course, he is not the only president featured on the adrenaline-pumping show that had millions of people hooked worldwide.
David, often described as a committed and honest leader who has the best interest of the American people at heart, is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Sherry with whom he has two children Keith and Nicole. But of course, no First Family is free of scandal and David’s is no exception.
Together with show protagonist Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), David fights to keep the “land of the free and home of the brave” just what it is and may or may not have paid for it with his life. Is this where you say spoiler alert?
Commander In Chief (President Mackenzie Allen)
Do not even bother coming up with “PMS-fuelled speeches” and “international pillow fight” jokes to describe Geena Davis’ role as US President Mackenzie Allen.
Yes, she is a woman and yes, she is the President of the United States of America ... in this show.
Proving that women have to work twice as hard even in the White House, Mackenzie is a force to be reckoned with and no, nobody should mess with this Iron Lady. Sworn into the office after her predecessor suffers a stroke, Mackenzie surprises her people, and everyone else around the world, with her commanding ways and quick wit.
Calm and intelligent, she is a university chancellor with two Nobel Prize awards but is first and foremost a loving mother and wife to an understanding husband who doesn’t mind decorating the White House Christmas tree while his wife is busy running the country.
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Entertainment, Entertainment, President of the United States, Barack Obama, television, movies
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