Review: The Trump Show - The Harsh Reality of a Presidency

Alex Walker looks at new series The Trump Show, arguing if it really does have a basis as a documentary

Alex Walker
3rd February 2021
Credit: IMDb
This four-part BBC series details the history of the Trump Presidency, and it’s initially hard to find the problem with it. The writing is excellent, and the interviewees can be almost equally divided into those with a very interesting perspective, and the utterly laughable.
File:Stormy Daniels 2015.jpg
Stormy Daniels, Credit: Wikimedia Commons

What’s more, there are some really outstanding features. The soundtrack is unbelievable with perfect choices every time. It's also worth noting that Stormy Daniels, who appears, isn't treated as someone of lesser status because of her work in porn, but rather as a woman who was manipulated, exploited and mistreated. The creators have managed to pick the worst bits of the Trump Presidency and create a perfectly curated showreel of awful incompetency, which works very well. Yet, despite this, the final episode is deeply haunting, detailing the change we’ve seen over the last year, where the slightly-wacky-yet-deeply-disturbing reality TV show descended into a truly malevolent display of tyrannical, white supremacist, totalitarian dogfighting.

But there is something rotten, yet ineffable, in this series. Something inherently wrong, which can’t be quite identified…

Donald Trump, Credit: IMDb

The BBC have certainly been quick off the bat, and it shows. The production lacks the pensive reflection or hindsight of a true historical documentary. Because of this, it isn’t really the historical series it pretends to be. The creators have replicated all the tropes of a historical documentary, but it remains a veneer, an impression of a documentary. In reality, it remains a piece of source material, a series which historians of the future will watch in order to understand how we, today, thought about the former-President. It’s almost as if the writers are willing the Trump Administration to be over, pleading with the fates to end this chapter of history. The message they are trying to present is clear. Trump is over.

But in reality, the forces he has called up from the depths of hell aren’t going anywhere, and will only multiply.

I don’t think this is what they wanted, but maybe in presenting it, they have captured something many of us feel. Like children, the free world threw it’s toys out of the pram, electing and pandering to a populist who tore apart the playbook, and in every moment, treated Liberal Democracy and the lessons of Civilisation with complete disdain. When the US got angry with the teachers, they turned to the biggest bully in the playground, and now they have realised that actions have consequences, and have run back to the adults asking for help to get rid of him, we all want to bury the last four years, and pretend it didn’t happen.

The documentary's blind spot is that it pretends the Trump Administration was just a blip

This ‘documentary’ shows us a substantial blind spot; it pretends that this chapter of history is over. It pretends that Trump was just a blip, rather than evidence that the often neglected, and taken for granted, democratic system that protects us from autocratic tyrants requires faith. You can’t abandon it when you don’t like it, and chose someone who inherently despises the system. That path leads to one place, violence in the corridors of power, and gallows on the steps…

Yet is it all that bad? There is an endearing humanity in this chasm-like flaw. Unintentionally, the documentary has captured a certain fear. But maybe it isn’t fear, maybe the grievous sin that The Trump Show commits, is hope. I can only offer the reader one fact which I know to be true, you HAVE to find out for yourself.

Rating: 6/10

The Trump Show, Credit: BBC
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AUTHOR: Alex Walker
An English Literature student, who enjoys playing devils advocate. Interested in sharing my vacuous opinion on Film, TV, Music, Sports, and Political history. Find me on Facebook if you want write a piece together, or just want to tell me my articles are rubbish somewhere Zuckerberg can hear. Twitter, @TheAlexJLWalker

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