A month ago, I posted the final scene from a remarkable Election Night special done by the British program, Spitting Image, on June 11, 1987. The song performed was one of the most scathing pieces of brutal satire I've seen on television. Arguably the most scathing. With the U.S. mid-term elections coming up in a month, I got to thinking about that Spitting Image Election Night broadcast and tracked down the entire show.
I posted a wonderful retrospective special about Spitting Image here a few weeks back, but for those who need a brief refresher course, the puppet show was created for ITV by Peter Fluck and Roger Law (who went by "Luck and Flaw") and Martin Lambie-Nairn. It was on the air from 1984-1996, and during that time won 10 BAFTA Awards. They even made an effort to crack into the U.S. market with a couple of specials, but though it didn't catch on with the public here, it still won two Emmys in 1986 and 1986 in the Popular Arts Category.
Since this Election Night special is all about British politics -- and from 30 years ago -- it's a pretty safe bet that much of the humor (sorry, humour) and references will be missed here, but a lot still gets through. And over all, it still can be greatly admired for the sheer audacity and technical achievement, including its meshing their puppetry with live action.
And all the while, just imagine a show like this being put on in the United States.
And then, there's of course that remarkable last scene that wraps it all up. Scathingly and brutally.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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