Is it the chicken or the egg? Does pop culture influence politics or does politics influence pop culture?
Pop culture, specifically television, often features or bases skits and even entire episodes on politics. Politics is always associated with touchy, controversial issues; these provide writers a lot of material to work with. Writers can leave their opinions on certain subjects in subtle or sometimes obvious ways.
There are several shows that seem to constantly “push the envelope” by addressing politics in their shows. Comedy has been an excellent tool at addressing the issues without hurting anyone’s feelings. Shows that come to mind are Family Guy, South Park and Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Night Live always dedicates a skit or two making fun of politicians or laws. This year is an election year, the presidential candidates offer a ton of material to make fun of. SNL often opens the show with a presidential update with one of the actors impersonating Obama or Romney. In addition, the show has the “weekend update” segment which takes the past weeks news and makes fun of it. The segment hosted by Seth Meyers simply explains the issue and says “Really?” The weekend update makes fun of politicians and political issues without missing a beat. It is one of SNL’s longest running skits. Proof that politics and humor are one in the same.
Saturday Night Live capitalizes on politics stubborn ways and the result is excellent entertainment. Perhaps, the best television occurs during election years because there is so much material to work with.
Politics fuel television but, political views also gain popularity through entertainment. Someone who may not be interested in a hot issue maybe educated on the issue through the television medium. It may not be the best way or the most unbiased way to educate Americans, but it does occur. Politicians understand this and occasionally guest star on shows to show their softer sides and offer a more personal view to their voters.