Who Shot the President - the impeachment series

2016-04-07 11:06

I don’t think I have been this excited to watch anything on TV since the “Who Shot JR” reveal of Dallas all those years ago. The difference being, that unlike that dead squib of an episode, the Parliament Channel did not disappoint. And whereas I don’t have a clear recollection as to who JR’s shooter actually was, I can say with absolute confidence that this week’s Impeachment Debate was something I will never forget.

And nor will my kids.

It was simply wonderful. And all the better because we knew how it was going to end and could not be disappointed, when along with the walk-out, it concluded with the same President in the same seat. There could be no spoilers because the episode was always going to terminate as predicted, which meant it was all about the journey.

It made us laugh, it made us cry, and at moments had us squirming on the edge of our seats. There was something in it for everyone. It was family fun, which is so rare nowadays, if we think about it.

I had cleared my afternoon for the event. And although I ran late, the kind folks of parliament even delayed kick-off as if knowing just how important it was for me to not miss a thing. The popcorn was ready by 3, just in case, and the family were primed, at a moment’s notice, to gather around the TV for the show.

And what an afternoon it was.

Characters were fully developed and one could see the amount of work that had gone into the production. The EFF were clearly tasked with the role of the naughty kids in the room and with adding the fun and joie de vivre to proceedings, whilst the DA balanced the mood with seriousness and rational arguments. Each played their role with perfection.

Other parties, in cameo roles, added wonderful depth to proceedings but were no doubt foils to the leads. One also couldn’t but appreciate the screenplay, along with the physical stamina required to stand down, to proceed and to stand down again, as ordered by the speaker who seemed to be engaged in a bizarre game of "Simon Says". The choreography was a delight and I found myself wondering if there wasn’t perhaps a River Dance influence somewhere. Of course at time, the West End show Wicked popped to mind, but that was something completely different.

The ANC, or the villains in this production, seemed to lack some commitment, and one had the sense that they had played this role a few times too many before. They seemed to me to be somewhat stale and tired, to the point of exhaustion, with the Minister of International Relations nodding off at one point. I felt that this might have overstated their lack of enthusiasm for the event but I thought the EFF’s Mbuyiseni Ndlozi was a comedic highlight and managed to revive both parliament’s and her energy, even with the Minister having fallen quite fast asleep. On a side note, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him, in the future, challenging Trevor Noah as host of the Daily Show. He clearly is the person to watch.

Any review would be incomplete without mention of the Deputy Speaker. Although initially disappointed to have been deprived of the iconic, irritable and uncompromising Baleke Mbete, the magnificent performance by newcomer Lechesa Tsenoli was wonderful. He seemed to delight in the role and embraced the position with gusto. The only time that he seemed to almost lose his demeanor was when one of the Members of the Honorable Parliament was caught taking a selfie, something we apparently frown upon in South Africa. Unlike the flouting of the Constitution, which is something that according the ANC we can simply plaster over and move on. Everyone makes mistakes after all.

There is little doubt that the episode set us up for a sequel which will be aired when the President is removed from office. I am certain this will be soon. And until then, it is unlikely that anything else will be of comparable interest.

All in all, it was a superb production and I would recommend that if you watch one episode this summer that is the Impeachment one. You wont be sorry. No one is. Not even the President.

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