TIM FAN­NING MY VIEW

Does Sarah Palin re­ally ex­ist, or was she in­vented by comics out of bore­dom?

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FOOD & DRINK -

Tina Fey, the tal­ented cre­ator and star of the NBC com­edy 30 Rock, first reg­is­tered on most peo­ple’s radars over here when she took the mick out of Sarah Palin, the Repub­li­cans’ vice-pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee in the 2008 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Some would have thought the for­mer Gov­er­nor of Alaska was be­yond par­ody but not so, as Ms Fey ably demon­strated on leg­endary US com­edy show Satur­day Night Live. So close to the real VP can­di­date was her car­i­ca­ture that Amer­i­cans weren’t able to tell where Fey’s im­per­son­ation ended and the real Sarah Palin be­gan. Fox News in the US was so con­fused that it used a graphic of Tina Fey play­ing Sarah Palin in a news item about the lat­ter’s on/off pres­i­den­tial bid last year. De­spite the fact that Fox News em­ploys Palin as a com­men­ta­tor. Per­son­ally, I’m not sure there is a real Sarah Palin.

In Game Change, the drama­ti­sa­tion of John Mccain’s decision to pick Palin as his run­ning mate in the afore­men­tioned elec­tion, which aired re­cently on Sky At­lantic, Ju­lianne Moore was ham­pered by this strange blur­ring of re­al­ity. Moore, a tal­ented ac­tress, not only had to play a char­ac­ter with whom the US public is in­ti­mately fa­mil­iar, but she also had to over­come the men­tal im­age of Palin based on the Tina Fey car­i­ca­ture. At the same time, she was play­ing Palin straight, not for laughs.

It’s a prob­lem that might have arisen in the script meet­ings for a new HBO com­edy show be­gin­ning on Sky At­lantic next month. Veep, which is writ­ten by Ar­mando Ian­nucci, the man be­hind the Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal satire, The Thick Of It, and its big-screen spin- off In The Loop, stars Ju­lia Louis-drey­fus as, yes, you guessed it, the US vice-pres­i­dent.

In the pub­lic­ity shots for the show, the for­mer Se­in­feld star, who like Tina Fey, has great comic tim­ing, also looks a tad like… yes, Sarah Palin! Of course, the cre­ators deny that their comic cre­ation is based in any way on Palin. But it’s un­likely that the ques­tion of sim­i­lar­i­ties didn’t arise when Ian­nucci was dream­ing up the new show. Ini­tial re­ports from the US are en­cour­ag­ing, with LouisDrey­fus, in par­tic­u­lar, re­ceiv­ing plau­dits. The show uses the same fly- on- the-wall style and ex­ple­tive-laced, rapid-fire di­a­logue as its Bri­tish pre­de­ces­sor. Whether it takes aim at po­lit­i­cal cul­ture in the US re­mains to be seen.

Hope­fully, for those who have Sky At­lantic, Louis-drey­fus can man­age to dis­as­so­ci­ate her vice-pres­i­den­tial char­ac­ter from the real Sarah Palin (who­ever she is) while rais­ing as many laughs as the great po­lit­i­cal moose­hunter.

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