It takes a lot of cojones (or maybe just complete stupidity) to make the same mistake twice. But that's just what New York mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner managed to do when he got caught up in yet another sex scandal. In keeping with tradition, the newest issue of The New Yorker features a clever cartoon cover (say that three times fast) mocking this latest piece of news from the nefarious world of politics.
In the illustration for the August 5 issue, we see Anthony Weiner à la King Kong, straddling a strategically placed Empire State Building, but with a slightly, shall we say, risqué twist. As you've probably noticed, Weiner's scandal lends itself to countless parodies, late-night talk show jokes, and other sorts of fodder for hilarity. (Seriously, his name is Weiner.) But the barrage of media attention and comedic content inspired by his sexual indiscretions is nothing new or unusual. Rather, Weiner's scandal is just the latest in the slew of politicians' sordid affairs that have sparked full-on laugh riots in the comedy world. From fake campaign commercials to parody songs to just straight-up hilarious commentary, these are some of our favorite reactions to political sex scandals.
John EdwardsNorth Carolina Democrat John Edwards was once a state senator, nominee for Vice President, and candidate for President of the United States. But his political ambitions were dashed when news broke that he had fathered an illegimate child with his mistress and former campaign worker Rielle Hunter. The scandal, which caused a national outrage, also inspired an abundance of humorous parodies, including several Saturday Night Live sketches. And we can't forget MadTV's "Viva La Cheata," a musical parody of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" starring Jerry O'Connell as Edwards.
Herman CainPresidential candidate hopeful Herman Cain was a frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination in 2011, but he was forced to suspend his campaign when four women sued him for sexual harrassment and misconduct. When the fourth season of Arrested Development premiered on Netflix this summer, fans were introduced to a new character named Herbert Love. Mr. Love, a bizarre conservative politician who has an affair with Lindsay Bluth Fünke, is an unmistakable caricature of Herman Cain. If you have a Netflix account, check out his role in the latter half of Season 4. And if you don't, change that.
Mark SanfordWhen South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford went missing for a few days in 2009, it didn't take too much investigative reporting to discover that the married politician was visiting his mistress in Argentina. On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart had a few hilarious choice words about the scandal, calling Sanford "just another politician with a conservative mind and a liberal penis."
Bill ClintonNothing epitomizes the political sex scandal quite like President Bill Clinton's Monica Lewinsky affair. There are too many jokes, songs, commentaries, and parodies to count, but one of our favorite takes on the scandal is Billy Bob Thornton's sleazy, womanizing American president character in Love Actually. Also, when the creators of baracksdubs decided to put together a presidential version of Robin Thicke's suggestive "Blurred Lines," there was no better fit than good ol' Bubba Clinton.
Eliot SpitzerIn 2008, New York governor Eliot Spitzer made headlines and was forced to resign when The New York Times reported that he had been a patron of a high-priced prostitution service called Emperors Club VIP. In all legal proceedings, Spitzer was referred to as Client #9, a moniker that inspired a musical parody of the scandal, set to the melody of Love Potion No. 9. Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler also had some hilariously incredulous commentary on the subject in their signature "Really!?!" segment.
Arnold SchwarzeneggerCalifornia governor and Kennedy husband Arnold Schwarzenegger seemed to have it all. That is, until it was revealed that he had an illegitimate child with one of his longtime household employees. The Governator's scandal prompted yet another brilliant "Really!?!" sketch (unfortunately sans Amy Poehler)
David VitterWhen Louisiana senator David Vitter was identified as a client of the the "D.C. Madam" prostitution service, he did not face criminal charges because of the statute of limiations. The Republican congressman did however face a wave of mockery from the press and public alike. Funny Or Die put together a fake campaign commercial with video footage of Vitter accompanied by captions like "David Vitter has a diaper fetish."
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More:Chelsea Handler Reads Anthony Weiner's SextsAlec Baldwin Calls on Disgraced Weiner to Drop Out of Mayoral RaceJon Stewart Address Weinergate Scandal After Defending Weiner
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The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.