4 TV Characters Who Would’ve Gotten Weird During All This
Politics has gotten strange over the past few years. It wasn't that long ago that the worst thing about Facebook was someone asking you to play Farmville. But ever since the conspiracy theorists figured out how to monetize their lithium withdrawals, we've all become one scroll away from discovering that someone we once respected has gone completely off the ideological deep end. In a way, that's what's great about TV shows. We can welcome these characters into our lives for a time, and if we don't like what they're doing, we can stop watching them. We can just block them from our lives without the worry that they'll stalk us using a burner account.
But we also live in the age of reboots, remakes, revivals and reimaginings. These TV characters we thought we knew so well still have the chance to come back with some pretty out-there ideas. So, here are a few of them we suspect might crash the crazy train. We admit we could be way off base here with this fan fiction, but at least we're not "pregnant Sonic the Hedgehog" level off base. Perspective, people!
Janice Soprano, The Sopranos
The political climate that has taken hold since Donald Trump won in 2016 has ushered in a new golden age of family arguments. It's gotten so bad we can't even agree on how to pronounce the word "divisiveness," much less overcome it. For someone as manipulative as Tony Soprano's older sister Janice, politics definitely would've become yet another pressure point she could use to aggravate her little brother.
Janice Soprano is a self-serving opportunist whose personality can instantly flip from new-age hippie sage to callous, backstabbing shrew depending on what she stands to gain out of the situation. She never had to think of the long-term ramifications of her actions because she's A) always manipulated someone else to do the work for her and B) never had to clean up her own mess.
Just look at her relationship with Richie Aprile. One of the main reasons Janice got together with Richie in the first place was because Tony hated him. Tony wasn't really conflicted by any loyalty towards his sister. When he found out about the two of them, his response to Richie was, "She's your f--king problem now." Janice kept making the feud worse by convincing Richie to make a move against Tony, which led to Tony ordering Richie killed. Only Janice took care of that herself, shooting Richie to death after he punched her in the face during an argument. The first person she called after that was Tony to ask him to dispose of the body, which he did.
In 2019, series creator David Chase was asked what he thought Tony Soprano's opinion on Trump would've been. "He would think the guy was full of [expletive]," he said, "Whether he thought he was a good president or not -- I don't know that Tony thought much about that question at all, with anybody who was in office. But I know Tony would have thought Trump was penny-ante, in terms of his lying and presentation." (A.J. though? He might've thought otherwise.) Also, there's a 0% chance the real-world murder of Frank Cali by a QAnon adherent would not be incorporated into this plot somehow.
If that was how Tony felt about Trump, Janice would've made MAGA her entire personality just to annoy the crap out of him. She might have thought that Trump's "alleged" ties to organized crime would be a good thing for the family business. Someone has to have some dirt on this guy in a safe somewhere in case they needed a DOJ investigation to magically go away, right?
But much like her dating history, Janice would eventually start to feel like she was betting on the wrong horse. Seeing all of the scandals Trump got caught up in only to see him wriggle out of any consequences must've made whatever supposed evidence the family had to use as leverage feel more and more useless with each passing day.
Her biggest problem would be that she is physically incapable of admitting she was wrong about anything. She would've kept up the charade all the way through the 2020 election cycle, while voting for someone else in secret (third-party, most likely) because she's the type who would never pass up an opportunity to say one thing and do the opposite when there's plausible deniability.
The Gang, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
For the show's first 14 seasons, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia has been surprisingly apolitical. Even during the crazy political climate of the Trump years, the show hasn't really addressed much of that insanity, much less use it as a plot device. But a lot has happened since season 14 ended back in November of 2019. Between COVID-19, mask mandates, the storming of the Capitol, and the city of Philadelphia being the backdrop for a ton of election related craziness ... it seems that history may be handing
Oh, and it looks like that could be exactly what will happen. Four days after the Capitol riot, show creator and star Rob McElhenney responded to fans' questions about season 15 saying, "Yes. We're doing one and it will most likely be all about this bullshit. Also dick jokes."
How would The Gang take on the lockdowns during the pandemic? Technically, they already did that six years ago in season 9, episode 7, "The Gang Gets Quarantined." See? The show is already way ahead of the curve. In that episode, it was a self-imposed quarantine, and they still lost their damn minds. Given everyone's blatant disregard for authority on the show, they'd be able to up the ante with a sequel episode about CDC guidelines without retreading a single joke.
Remember Rudy Giuliani's November 7 press conference at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia, conveniently located between a crematorium and a sex shop? That description alone makes it sound like it's across the street from Paddy's Pub. And given how batshit that press conference was, it would not be difficult for an unhinged nutjob like Frank Reynolds to seamlessly Forrest Gump himself into that scene.
Allegations of voter fraud in Philly? You know Dennis or Mac must've had something to do with that. If only the margin of victory had been close enough to warrant a recount, because it would've been hilarious to see a dyslexic illiterate like Charlie volunteer for the job.
But an episode on the Capitol riot will be their crowning achievement .,. if they could pull it off. On one hand, it was an extremely dark moment in American history, and the seriousness of that event really shouldn't be laughed off or diminished, and certainly not by sitting members of Congress.
Howeeeeever ... if there's one thing It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia is known for, it's gleefully crossing the line. Plus, the cast of colorful characters who stormed the Capitol on January 6 displayed exactly the kind of behavior we'd expect to see from the show, and that goes double now that most of the Capitol rioters are starting to see their day in court. Claiming they were invited there by Trump and therefore deserve a pardon has Mac and Dennis written all over it. Stealing a laptop from Nancy Pelosi's office and trying to sell it to Russian spies was about as well thought out as any of Charlie's capers. Asking a judge to let them go on vacation to Mexico while out on bail? Total Sweet Dee move.
Or what about Jacob "Q Shaman" Chansley, the man with the horned fur headdress and the red, white, and blue war paint who instantly became the siege's unofficial mascot? If there's one man who's qualified to channel all of the grace and nuance and dignity of the Q Shaman, it's Danny DeVito as the gun-lovin', Obama-hatin', cocaine-for-breakfast-havin' Frank Reynolds.
Alex P. Keaton, Family Ties
From 1982-1989, Family Ties told the story of Steven and Elyse Keaton, two liberal ex-hippies raising their three kids (four after season three) and dealing with life in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. The show was originally intended to have the parents be the main characters, but the focus shifted more towards their children's antics, mainly due to Michael J. Fox's break-out role as the Keaton's Nixon-loving, ultra-conservative son Alex P. Keaton.
What really made Alex P. Keaton so popular was that he was written in a very careful way to appeal to both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives loved him because they felt he perfectly encapsulated the ideals of capitalism and traditional values. Liberals loved him because he was such an over-the-top caricature of what they felt was wrong with the Reagan years, and watching him placed in situations where he had to go against his ideals gave them a nice rush of dopamine.
The series ended with Alex graduating college and landing his dream job on Wall Street. In one episode of Michael J. Fox's late-nineties sitcom Spin City, which was also from Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg, Alex P. Keaton is mentioned as being the junior Senator from Ohio.
So, where did Alex P. Keaton go from there? Goldberg said in a 2008 essay that he believes Alex would've become disillusioned with what the Republican party had become and would have become a pro bono lawyer for the Children's Defense Fund. Michael J. Fox has said that he believes Alex would be "just now getting out of prison." So, why not extrapolate a hybrid of both? An old school Reagan Republican with an extremely smart mouth, disgruntled by the current state of the party he helped to create, trying to absolve himself by trying to do non-profit work, but could also be a criminal ... Why does this sound familiar?
Ah, yes ... The Lincoln Project! The super PAC that was founded in 2019 by a group of former Republican campaign operatives hell bent on convincing Republican voters to reject Trump in 2020 and restore some dignity to the White House. Because if anyone knows about dignity, it's the guy who gave us all Sarah Palin, someone who got owned on Twitter by Domino's Pizza, Kellyanne Conway's husband, and a sexual predator.
We're not necessarily saying that Alex P. Keaton would've become such a sad sack of never-Trump bitterness (or corrupt enough) to fit right in with The Lincoln Project. No, we're saying if he had been a part of The Lincoln Project, he might've given them the credibility they sorely needed: a Midwestern, quick-witted, charismatic, old-school Reagan Republican and small town doctor who is also a werewolf that discovered the lost city of Atlantis ... Sorry, this is Cracked. We talk about Back to the Future so often here that all of Michael J. Fox's other roles sometimes blur together.
King Of The Hill
Given that the adult characters on King of the Hill would now be in their seventies, plus the fact that they all live (clap four times) deep in the heart of Texas, statistically speaking it'd be a safe bet they would have supported Trump. The big question would be, who would've gone all in for QAnon?
Dale Gribble, or "Rusty Shackleford" if you're asking for his I.D., seems like the one who'd be the first to join in on QAnon. He is, after all, the show's resident government-hating conspiracy kook. But upon closer inspection, that may be the number one reason he wouldn't. For one, he made it clear over the show's thirteen seasons that he was never keen on being a part of any movement, because that's how they get you. Being a fringe loner was his jam, and even when someone agreed with one of his theories, he'd think it must be some sort of PsyOp campaign.
On the other hand, if Dale did join in with QAnon, there would be a solid chance the other members would think he's just a little too intense. You'd have to be pretty far gone to have the WWG1WGA crowd consider you a problem for their credibility. Besides, Dale would probably never know when the meetings would take place because he'd never allow himself to use a computer, much less social media.
Hank Hill? Not a chance. Sure, his overall political ideology might be more conservative with a dash of libertarian, but he was essentially a pragmatic centrist. He was always the type to accept or dismiss things on a case-by case basis, going along with whichever side he found most reasonable, yet always willing to break from those ranks the moment he would think things "just ain't right."
Bobby Hill would be turning 36 this year (feeling old yet?), and would most likely follow in his dad's footsteps ideologically speaking, as Hank had always been the magnet next to Bobby's moral compass.
Boomhauer's out, too. He might attend a rally or two if he heard some hot chicks would be there, but he's just a little too laid back to get swept up in any partisan extremism. We did find out he was a Texas Ranger in the final episode, so he might have a Back The Blue sticker on his ‘68 Dodge Coronet.
Peggy Hill would've been a fervent believer in QAnon, at most for 2 days, mainly because she was pretty easily manipulated. Over the course of the show, she got sucked into two different pyramid schemes, a diploma mill scam, a cult, and got conned into smuggling drugs into prison by a death row inmate. She's certainly pliable for these kinds of things, and every time she goes in on something she tends to go way overboard. Fortunately, Hank has always been there to pull her back from the brink at the last minute.
The only one to go all in for Q and possibly stay there would have to be Bill Dauterive. Divorced, overweight, and chronically depressed with Mariana Trench-level self-esteem, Bill would've gotten sucked into QAnon just for the companionship. His Army service would've given him elite status with the patriot crowd, and he would've milked the attention for all it was worth, being extra careful not to let anyone know that his service was limited solely to being a barber.
And Luanne? Bernie. 'Nuff said:
This is all speculation ... for now. It was announced recently that King of the Hill is in serious negotiations for a revival, which will reportedly show what the characters are now like in the present day, impact of Trump included. Here's hoping they accomplish that goal a little more gracefully than the Roseanne reboot did. We'd hate to see Peggy suddenly die of an opioid overdose after some off-camera, Ambien-inspired racism.