Antidotes to the Election

By Allyson Coan

No matter who you're voting for, we can all agree that this election is a bit...tense. I recently started re-watching The West Wing for the 13th time as my own antidote to this election and I asked my colleagues to help me compile this list of other election alternatives.

  • The West Wing the Complete First Season

    2003 by Alex Graves

    This is one of my favorite shows of all time. In my opinion, seasons 1-4 are the best--holy moly, the last episode of season two!--but season seven is a good foil to our current political climate.

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  • The American President Dave.

    2007 by Michael Douglas

    This one's a twofer! Let's start with The American President. Like The West Wing, this one is written by Aaron Sorokin and features Martin Sheen. Rotten Tomatoes calls it "a charming romantic comedy with political bite." The second feature is Dave, which I haven't seen (yet), but RT's description makes it sound great! "Ivan Reitman's refreshingly earnest political comedy benefits from an understated, charming script and a breezy performance by Kevin Kline."

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  • Wag the Dog

    1998 by Dustin Hoffman

    Days before a presidential election, spin doctor Conrad Brean is hired to distract the public from a sex scandal involving an underage Girl Scout type. Brean's scheme: getting Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to stage a fake war with Albania. So goes the outrageous manipulation in this dark comedy. Or maybe it's down to a catchy slogan about horses. For more spin-doctoring, check out the sitcom Spin City.

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  • Bulworth

    1999 by Warren Beatty

    Nothing revitalizes a campaign like planning your own assassination and then telling everyone what you really think. A sly screenplay with witty incorrectness, this stands the test of time. Plus, there's a knockout performance from Halle Berry.

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  • Dr. Strangelove, Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    2004 by Stanley Kubrick

    Creepy in its own special way, and very quotable. Great for the election and Halloween season!

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  • Election

    1999 by Alexander Payne

    High school politics have never been so racy. Overachiever Tracy Flick wants to be class president; popular social studies teacher Jim McAllister thinks it's a terrible idea. The conflict begins. Now cast aside ethics and morality--everything that shouldn't happen in a fair election does. File this under dark comedy, cross-referenced with mockery of high school culture and American politics.

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  • Napoleon Dynamite

    2004 by Jared Hess

    Vote for Pedro!

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  • Parks and Recreation.

    2010 by Amy Poehler

    Fictional Pawnee, Indiana, may be satire of an American town, but it's sure full of idiosyncratic characters who care an awful lot. I challenge you to watch without feeling your heart grow two sizes bigger by how much people can accomplish together. Bonus: their portrayal of the public library is delightfully mean!

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  • Air Force One

    1998 by Harrison Ford

    "Get off of my plane!"

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  • Idiocracy

    2006 by Mike Judge

    The year is 2025, and the the average intelligence has decreased so much that a former professional wrestler is the President of the United States. This movie, released in 2006, has a cult following and has been getting a lot of attention recently.

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  • Veep.

    2013 by Julia Louis-Dreyfus

    Julia Louis Dreyfus has deservedly won five consecutive Emmys for her role as Vice President Selina Meyer. It's hysterical--The Daily Beast calls it "the funniest show in America"--and her political party is purposefully left ambiguous. Also be sure to check out Armando Iannucci's The Thick of It, the British political satire show on which Veep is based.

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  • Scandal.

    2012 by Shonda Rhimes

    If your idea of taking a break from a dramatic election is watching even more over-the-topic political dramatics, Scandal is the ticket. Something goes awry in this imaginary Washington? Olivia Pope has it handled.

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  • The Purge : election year

    2016 by James Demonaco

    This movie makes our current election cycle seem tame. Rotten Tomatoes calls this "a nastily effective diversion."

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