It has been an interesting first year for President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump. While President Trump has spent all year dominating the news for his various actions, his 47-year-old wife has had a much more low-key year as first lady.
The Slovenian native has been in the news for her fashion choices, her apparent trepidation for her new role in the spotlight, and for her strange holiday decorations in the White House. Though the first lady did not move to Washington until summer 2017 after her son Barron Trump finished out the school year in New York City, it seems that she is trying to be more vocal and show Americans exactly who she is.
However, when first lady Trump recently revealed her favorite television shows, we were all left scratching our heads. Let’s take a quick look at the Trump’s relationship with their televisions and Hollywood (and find out the first lady’s favorite show on Page 5).
The Trumps v. Hollywood
Before he became president, Donald Trump was known for his money and his role as the host of the reality TV series, The Apprentice. He even had a cameo in the 1991 hit, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. However, since the 2016 presidential campaign and his subsequent election, Trump’s relationship with Hollywood, which tends to be left-leaning, has become rocky at best.
In December, Tom Hanks said he would not attend a screening of his critically acclaimed film, The Post, if the Trumps chose to host a screening at the White House. Hanks’ co-star, Meryl Streep, has also called out Trump for his bullying.
Next: Does Melania really enjoy the most famous impersonation of Donald Trump?
A perfect impersonation
We’ve all been laughing at Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of President Trump on Saturday Night Live for over a year, and apparently, Melania Trump sees the humor in it as well. While Trump himself has lashed out at SNL and Baldwin, the first lady is apparently amused by it all.
In an interview with WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Baldwin said,”Someone told me — who’s friends with someone in the White House, or formerly in the White House, that Melania Trump loves SNL and she loves my impersonation.”
The office of the first lady’s director of communication refuted Baldwin’s claims saying, “That is not true, which is why Mr. Baldwin has no actual names to go with his bizarre assertion.”
We have no idea who is telling the truth here, but we’re amused either way.
Next: How much television do the Trumps watch every day?
Despite the fact that the Trumps now have a tenuous relationship with Hollywood, they still adore TV. It has been reported that the president watches up to four hours of television a day, starting with CNN at 5:30 a.m. How else would he know who to lash out at on Twitter each morning?
His love for TV is one thing he has in common with Melania, who also loves staying tuned into the small screen.
Next: Donald Trump likes this movie, but likes TV shows better.
Television over movies
While the Trumps clearly enjoy television, they aren’t exactly fans of movies. Though Trump once told reporters that he enjoys the classic film Citizen Kane starring Orson Welles, Patrick Healy, a journalist for The New York Times, reported that Trump doesn’t exactly have the attention span for movies.
He said, “Trump once told me that he had trouble sitting through movies. That he knew in the first five minutes if he’d enjoy it or not. And he had no problem getting up and leaving.”
Though both Trumps enjoy television, Melania’s favorite TV shows reveal just how different her taste is from her husband’s.
Next: This is Melania’s favorite TV show.
An ironically named crime drama
Recently, the first lady told New York Times journalist Katie Rogers that her favorite show was the hit Shonda Rhimes-produced drama, How to Get Away With Murder, starring Viola Davis. In every single season so far, someone gets murdered, and a lot of times, the murderer gets away with it.
Though we aren’t going to read too much into it, Mrs. Trump’s favorite show did cause us to raise our eyebrows.
Next: This drama is another one of her favorites.
A hip-hop musical drama
The first lady revealed that aside from HTGAWM, her other favorite show is Fox’s Empire. Empire is a hip-hop musical drama starring Taraji P. Henson and Terence Howard, produced and created by Lee Daniels.
Considering President Trump’s treatment of women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, the fact that the first lady watches and enjoys both of these diverse shows is very shocking. According to Rogers, “reality TV did not come up once.”
Next: Are there any odd insights to gain from Melania’s favorite shows?
Some odd insights
Though first lady Melania Trump is certainly no Michelle Obama, her TV faves may reveal some interesting things about her. Perhaps she doesn’t share some of her husband’s racist, sexist, and perverse ideals, but she also hasn’t spoken out against them.
What we do know, is that when you look at HTGAWM, the series has certainly had some interesting titles. They have included, “He Deserved to Die,” “She’s a Murderer,” “Kill Me, Kill Me, Kill Me,” and “We’re Bad People” — but we’re sure the first lady doesn’t have time to pay attention to something as trivial as episode titles.
Next: Did Donald Trump ruin TV in 2017?
“However you feel about the president, and you do feel about the president, you can’t deny that all TV shows are influenced by him in some way.” Stephen Colbert’s message at the 2017 Emmy Awards definitely rang true. It seems like no matter what you watch on TV, it’s somehow been affected by Donald Trump’s presidency.
From scripted TV to award shows, here are the ways Trump impacted TV in 2017.
If any scripted TV shows involve politics, they have to keep a close eye on what’s happening in the real world. A number of TV shows have taken Trump’s presidency head-on. Even so, they’re adding more fear about our current reality.
For example, American Horror Story: Cult premiered Season 7 with the episode, “Election Night.” It follows the aftermath of the Trump presidency, with an analogy of clowns to depict a representation of Trump’s America.
Other series have had to alter their episodes — and quickly — based on real-life events. The hit TV show Scandal apparently had a storyline that had to be completely thrown out. According to TV Line, it “too closely mirrored the actual investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia.”
Next: Is this what really won Trump the Presidency?
Reality TV typically doesn’t have to worry about urgently rewriting scripts. However, we do have it to blame for Trump’s presidency. Trump’s authoritative position on The Apprentice tricked viewers, and then voters, into thinking he was a “successful businessman.”
Vice’s description pretty much sums it up: “If he hadn’t been on The Apprentice, he wouldn’t have been able to convince anyone that he could ‘make a deal’ with other countries as president.”
While reality TV still serves as a form of escapism from our actual reality, it’s needed now more than ever. The difference is that now, we have to watch through skeptical eyes. At this point, who knows what current reality TV star could be our next president?
Next: These shows can’t avoid talking about Trump.
In some ways, Trump’s presidency has greatly aided late-night TV. For one, it’s helped hosts find their voices and connect with their audiences. It has also ensured there will always be something to talk about. Viewership for late-night TV has also undoubtedly skyrocketed for hosts like Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, and Stephen Colbert.
As described by CNN, “Late-night comics are channeling the hopes and fears of their left-leaning audiences. They are treating the Trump presidency as a crisis, but also as a tremendous opportunity.”
With their voices reflecting our fears as viewers, watching late-night TV can feel like a coping mechanism. On the other hand, it can feel downright depressing to be reminded of just how shocking the political environment has become.
It goes without saying that the responsibility of late-night TV hosts has shifted. What was once “reporting on the events of the day” has turned into “helping Americans process what happened.”
Next: Their world became Trump, all the time.
News channels had no idea what was coming to them during the campaign. Sure, every channel covered the world of politics, but it was set to die down once Trump lost the election.
“CNN had already been bolstering its entertainment coverage,” according to IndieWire. “For example, to fill the void when the campaign news died down and interest in Washington and politics was set to wane.”
However, once the votes came in, their world became all Trump, all the time. No matter how much Trump berates the “fake news” channels, they are obligated to continue giving him attention with a constant flow of unbelievable moments coming from the White House.
Yes, their reports on current political events are absolutely necessary. However, it’s hard not to reflect on the days when headlines involving the president weren’t incredibly controversial.
Next: The one area that you wouldn’t normally expect to be affected.
Watching football at home on a Sunday can no longer be enjoyed without wondering: What will the president tweet about next? Unsurprisingly, Trump hasn’t taken too kindly to those who are taking a knee during the national anthem, following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick. The more people who join the fight against racial oppression, the angrier Trump gets.
One of his tweets reads, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Even the NFL has stated, “Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem.” However, Trump seems to think it’s his right as the president to make orders regarding these athletes’ careers.
It’s worth noting Trump’s tweet regarding President Barack Obama’s involvement in the NFL back in 2013: “President should not be telling the Washington Redskins to change their name-our country has far bigger problems! FOCUS on them,not nonsense.”
While the irony is clear, it mostly stands out in the fact that Obama was urging the replacement of a football team’s name due to racist connotations, and not calling to “fire or suspend” anybody.
Next: There’s no question that these shows are now more political than ever.
We’re not saying award shows shouldn’t get political. In fact, they should. Since the dawn of time, they’ve served as a platform for celebrities to spread messages of love and equality, and to combat hate together.
At this point, there’s no questioning whether or not award shows will get political. It’s a question of how anti-Trump they’ll be. While the 2017 Emmy Awards definitely bashed the president significantly, there was still one moment that just didn’t sit right: that Sean Spicer cameo.
Sure, they were trying to make a joke, but it definitely wasn’t a funny one. All it did was give Spicer validation and make him seem like just another funny celebrity. From his rolling podium, he stated, “This will be the largest audience to witness the Emmys, period — both in person and around the world.”
The former White House press secretary was making light of one of the first and most obvious lies of the Trump presidency. Considering the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was dismal compared to Obama’s first inauguration, Spicer insisted that Trump’s crowd “was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.”
It set the tone for what would follow in the Trump presidency. For the Emmys to make a joke out of it contradicts many of the powerful messages delivered from award winners. CNN noted, “The second Spicer rolled that podium onto the Emmys stage, he won. Bigly.”
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
Additional reporting by Chelsea Leary.
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