Before he became the inciting incident in the post-apocalyptic thriller that is our age, Donald Trump spent most of his life cultivating the image of a disgustingly wealthy businessman and cameo-worthy celebrity. He was the rich bully of his time, inspiring many movies and TV shows to feature barely fictionalized versions of him as villainous characters meant to symbolize the greed and cynicism of 1980s capitalism. Interestingly, none of the following examples ever went so far as to imagine a future in which this character would become president.
A Trumpian New York City Developer Starts A Hate Campaign Against The Ninja Turtles
It was only a matter of time before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles squared off against the most quintessential of all New York City foes: rising property values.
In the fourth season of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles show, the Turtles are beleaguered by real estate magnate and rotund blowhard Fenton Q. Hackenbrush, who runs the not so subtly named Donald J. Lofty Enterprises. Hackenbrush wants to demolish the sewers completely and turn them into Donald J. Lofty luxury condos. For that, he needs the Turtles to disappear. (If Hackenbrush is anything like the real Trump, he probably thinks the Turtles are the wrong color to live in one of his buildings.)
Also, if you demolish the sewers, where will people shit?
In an interview with April O'Neil, Hackenbrush sells his greedy plans to the public on the basis that his sewer reconstruction will "flush out the worst menace in the city: the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles." Of course, the people of New York don't have any problems with the Turtles, so Hackenbrush forces a group of employees to dress up in those bad Turtle Halloween costumes we all used to wear and go commit crimes.
Heroes in a half shell, White power!
Then an evil turtle named Slash arrives in the city, and Hackenbrush immediately mocks him as "some kind of foreigner," but then bribes him into sowing mayhem, fanning the flames of turtle racism.
"When Dimension X sends its mutants, they're not sending their best. They're sending Bebops. They're sending Rocksteadys."
Hackenbrush is eventually exposed by some ace reporting by O'Neil (New York Times, pay attention). As punishment, he is loudly fired by the actual owner of the company, Mr. Lofty -- who looks surprisingly a lot like Fred Trump, Donald's father. We're not saying TMNT intentionally created a world in which Fred Trump would repeatedly yell "You're fired" at his heir, but that's immediately the best Trump origin story we've ever heard.
"And your TV show sucks!"
The Devil's Advocate Features A Rich Murderer Who Owns Trump Tower
In The Devil's Advocate, Al Pacino is the titular Devil (not a spoiler; you don't cast Pacino in a movie about Satan and make him the lovable dad), who has set up a law firm in New York in order to subvert justice and release evil into society. And who is Satan's favorite client? The guy who lives atop Trump Tower.
Though it is slightly inaccurate, since he never claims to have the best murders ever, just fantastic.
Alexander Cullen, played by a suitably balding Craig T. Nelson, is a Trump-esque real estate mogul accused of murdering his wife, stepson, and maid -- dire straits for a guy based on someone who once bragged he could shoot a person in the middle of the street and get away with it. His arrest immediately prompts Pacino's law firm of Fire, Brimstone & Ham to send their new ace attorney, Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves wearing his dad's suit), to defend Cullen. Why? Because, oddly, he's Lucifer's best client, having racked up "16,242" billable hours in one year. That's a lot of shady business.
1.85 years of shady business, to be exact.
But being a hated New York business tycoon and employing a massive team of evil lawyers doesn't necessarily mean Cullen is a Trump clone, right? Luckily, for the sake of subtlety, when we finally arrive at Cullen's home, we see that it's literally Trump's apartment in Trump Tower. The filmmakers managed to rent it out, preserving its natural appearance as Liberace's mind palace.
"Try not to touch anything -- you'll get metal poisoning."
In the end, Cullen is found not guilty, despite Lomax knowing that he murdered those people, thereby finally giving in to his true nature as the son of Satan. That's right, the Devil's son loses his innocence by defending Trump. Burn.
A Sci-Fi TV Show Villain Morphs Into Donald Trump ... Played By Donald Trump
Night Man was a late '90s low-budget TV show based on the Malibu Comics series about a San Franciscan saxophone player who can sense evil and wears a laser eye. Despite that, it somehow managed to run for two seasons, possibly because of its reliance on magnificently bizarre cameos -- none of which were more utterly mystifying than Donald J. Trump in technically the only real acting credit to his name.
In this episode, Night Man is chasing a face-changing villain called Face to Face, who decides to engage in some quick identity theft to make a large withdrawal from the bank. Who better to transform into than the self-proclaimed richest man in the universe, Donald Trump? (No really, please suggest someone better.) In one of the most perfect sequences in the history of the medium, Face to Face slowly morphs into The Donald, dazzling audiences with peak mid '90s CGI while simultaneously reinforcing the idea that Trumps looks like a melting Claire Danes.
"Actually, Mr. Trump, since you declared bankruptcy several times, we wouldn't give you money for a Happy Meal."
Donald Trump -- remember, this is the real Donald Trump playing a man who has shapeshifted into Donald Trump -- walks into a delightfully green-screened bank, and then sits down with the bank manager to illegally withdraw $10,000. Sadly, the nuanced layers of a real man pretending to be a fake man pretending to be him do not translate to Trump's performance:
Could they not find a real bank that would allow Trump to walk in?
Weirdly, in his utter boredom and bad acting, something spectacular happens: Trump seems ... nice. He's subdued, polite, even charming. It seems that all you need to do to make Trump likable is carefully control what he says and make sure he's not physically in the same room with any human beings.
A Disney Show Paired Donald Trump With A Dead Pirate
Before Disney found a way to become rich off Johnny Depp wearing a lot of eyeliner, it first got its pirate feet wet with The 100 Lives Of Black Jack Savage, a lighthearted romp wherein the undead spirit of a mass murderer teams up with a fictional Donald Trump analogue to save both of their souls from burning forever in hell.
Luckily, Disney would never reuse "Jack Savage," or his ship the Black Bird, or anything like it ever again.
When Daniel Tarberry, a rich real estate mogul from New York, has to flee the country because of legal troubles, he buys a luxurious Caribbean mansion to lie low in, but doing so summons the ghost of Black Jack Savage, who was hanged on the island for his crimes. The two are now forced to save the lives of 100 people in order to save themselves from eternal damnation.
Something tells us the bulk of that hundo doesn't lie with the murderous pirate.
Tarberry is a greedy shark who insists on hanging a portrait of himself in every hotel room he owns and constantly tries to weasel out of paying his contractors a dime. He's not very respectful to women, referring to every lady who talks back to him as "the poster girl for PMS." He's also a straight up racist, first assuming Black Jack is his cabin boy, then loudly exclaiming that he wants to change all the locks because he "found a black man in my kitchen."
It's the version of 48 Hours nobody ever wanted.
The writers had intended to start Tarberry off as a real piece of Trump, only to eventually learn from his mistakes and become a better man. He even occasionally refrains from treating Black Jack like some weird Jim Crow genie.
"I feel we're finally becoming friends. Now sing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' for me."
But the show never got to the redemption part, as the network pulled it after only seven poorly rated episodes. Believing that people are interested in seeing a Trump redemption story might have been the most misjudged part of The 100 Lives Of Black Jack Savage -- a Disney show that opens with a black man being lynched.
Gremlins 2 Had Trump Fight Gremlins
Nobody really expected Gremlins to get a sequel, especially not its creators. And when it did, no one could have predicted that the real villain wouldn't be gremlins, but the world's most notorious New York City mogul.
"Grab 'em by the pits."
Director Joe Dante wanted to have the Gremlins run amok in a fancy New York skyscraper. But the movie still needed a villain, a rich guy so obnoxious that audiences wouldn't feel bad about watching midnight demons tear him several new assholes. And then it hit Dante: "At that time in New York City, there was one major character who was Mr. Billion."
"Hey, your centerpiece is a clamp, like your name. That's ... that's clever ..."
At the time, Trump was known for being "overbearing and obviously kind of goofy," said the film's writer, Charles S. Haas. "He was an emblem of what was going on in the '80s and '90s with greed and money and crassness, and the whole world being for sale." And so they created powerful millionaire Daniel Clamp, a Trumpian mogul (with a dash of Ted Turner) who also happens to be running violent animal experiments in his tower Clamp Center.
Actor John Glover modeled his performance of Clamp on the director, whom he saw as "incredibly gentle, supporting and encouraging," rather than on Trump, which is why Clamp can say weirdly racist nonsense like "Let's lose the elm trees. People see elm, they think Dutch. Disease" and still sound like a swell boss. It's also why we unreservedly root for Clamp when he shoves a Gremlin into a paper shredder.
And also because he seems to be the only one who realizes gremlins aren't that difficult to kill.
Consequently, Gremlins 2: The New Batch offers a peek at an alternate universe in which Nice Trump helps us fight small-minded rage goblins, as opposed to the universe we live in, where those goblins got him elected president.
Sesame Street Thinks Donald Trump Is Garbage
Over its nearly 50-year history, Sesame Street has striven to be not just entertainment, but also a tool to teach children. And many times over, it has tried to teach them that Donald Trump is the king of the trash people.
The first time we encounter Sesame's Trump is in '88, as a grouch named Ronald Grump. Grump is trying to con fellow grouch Oscar into letting him build a three-trash-can-high Grump Tower on his spot in return for a "duplex can-dominium." Oscar simply adores Grump at first, because he exemplifies grouch values, as "his name is on every piece of trash in town." Grump is also grouch-famous for building "a swamp in a day," a line so apt that the Sesame Street writers should get a retroactive Emmy for it.
"Our trash cans are the biggest, just amazing."
"What about dumpsters?"
However, Grump immediately tries to evict Oscar for keeping pets in his fantastic, just the best tower. This forces all the Sesame Street residents to band together to buy Grump off with their garbage, making the first lesson most American kids learned about Donald Trump was that they need to pay him to go away before he ruins everything.
"But we are paying him and he still won't leave!"
Donald Grump returns during the show's 2005 parody of The Apprentice, in which lesser grouches are fighting for the privilege to assist Grump in peddling his trash all across town. After a series of pointless tasks, Elmo, whose hard work and positive attitude wins the day, immediately gets fired by Grump, who exclaims, "I can't have a good helper! I got my reputation to think of."
"And we only have enough room for one narcissistic diva on this show."
However, the Trump animosity really boiled over during the Street's 25th anniversary show in 1993. The entire special episode revolves around the residents of Sesame Street fighting Grump (this time expertly portrayed by human forehead vein Joe Pesci), who's trying to convert the entire block into a garish Grump Tower. At first he sweetly attempts to convince them that having their street become an overpriced boutique is a good thing. But when the residents don't agree, Grump starts threatening Muppets like they're in Goodfellas.
"And don't you dare fucking laugh."
Fortunately, Grump's plans fall apart because Oscar and his trash heap (which are on city property) keep Grump from selling a single condo. Furious, he rips up his plans and screams that Sesame Street didn't deserve a Grump Tower anyway. So that's charm, bully, and now abandonment. If the show had ended with Grump taking Oscar to court for loss of potential revenue, Sesame Street would have achieved the quadfecta of the Trump negotiation style long before Nancy Pelosi coined it.
Can you tell us how to get to Sesame Street? It might soon be the last sanctuary city left.
Since he became president, Trump has not been shy about his desire to gut PBS, the public station that was home to Sesame Street until 2016. We can't help but think that Ronald Grump has something to do with that.
Cedric will never stop politicizing Muppets. The best way to boycott his leftist agenda is by following him on Twitter but then never interacting with him in any shape or form. That'll show him.
Why should you have to deal with the Trump presidency alone? Make your cats miserable too with this Donald Trump cat costume.
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