The world of television and how Hollywood delivers it keeps changing. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have become prestigious brands whose original programming draws a pile of Emmy nominations. In 2017, Netflix has received 91 Emmy nominations, second only to HBO's 111. Hulu has 18 nominations, and Amazon has 16, just a few less than Fox's 21.
But as much as technology changes, some things remain the same. The entertainment factories keep ripping on Republican politicians in the crudest terms. Hulu has created a sitcom called "Difficult People." The characters are two unlikeable, self-absorbed stand-up comedians. In the new season, they're taking out the political pitchforks.
One of the comedians, a gay man named Billy, mocks Vice President Mike Pence as a "failed prototype for one of those Japanese sex robots." The ridiculous plot involves Billy pretending to participate in a new Pence program called Sixpence None the Gayer, where the federal government pays gay people $6,000 to become straight through electric shock therapy.
When Billy joins this purported Pence program to get the cash, a package arrives in the mail complete with beer, a "Make America Straight Again" hat and an electric shock therapy kit. Liberals have tried to insist Pence favored government funding of conversion therapy, pointing to a pledge on his 2000 campaign website that favors "assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." Lost on them is the irony — or hypocrisy, really — that they favor transgender people in the military or prison doing that very thing.
Billy also notices a new vice presidential seal on an envelope: a red, white and blue swastika. You see, stupid voters put Nazis in the White House.
"Difficult People" viciously mocks the Reagans, too. When an elderly man has trouble with a computer at work, a younger man complains, "I don't need to watch you fumble around like Ronald Reagan." Later, a sobriety sponsor for one of the comedians proclaims, "Nancy Reagan was an AIDS-ignoring monster."
The Reagans ignoring AIDS is one of the sturdiest lies of the Hollywood left.
But that show looks like "Masterpiece Theater" next to Netflix's comedy "Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later." The show is based on an old movie about kids attending summer camp at Camp Firewood in 1981. It is set in 1991, and its plotters inserted former President Reagan boasting that he stole a nuclear weapon after he left office so he could blow up the summer camp. This is just too asinine to be funny.
And it gets more stupid by the minute. Reagan and then-President George H.W. Bush come to camp, and someone proposes — complete with a diorama — that instead of blowing up the camp they rebuild it as a Reagan tribute. Crazy Reagan throws the diorama on the floor and urinates on it. But that's not enough. Then he defecates on it. That's still not enough. He then makes President Bush defecate on it, because Bush did whatever Reagan ordered him to do. See?
On some TV shows the Reagan bashing is much more realistic. A recent episode of the FX series "Snowfall" — the feverish one trying to connect the explosion of crack cocaine in Los Angeles to Reagan backing the Nicaraguan resistance — had a scene in which a former Black Panther is throwing darts at a painted image of Reagan's head. Imagine anyone in TV Land uncorking plots and visuals this mean-spirited on the Kennedys, the Clintons or the Obamas.
We know the left remains emotionally overwrought by the reality that Donald Trump was elected president, but its never-ending demonization of the Reagans shows that its anger never softens. Its bitterness never relents.