The set up: Some high-ranking Air Force officer has snapped and locked himself in the room in a missile silo in Fargo, N.D., threatening to launch nuclear missiles at the Soviet Union if they don’t abandon Communism. The Soviet Union caught wind of this and has announced that if they are attacked, they will retaliate.
President Julia Mansfield has called a meeting with her top advisers. The main players in this scene are:
National Security Adviser Helmut Luger
STRYKER, HAWKES and LUGER are sitting in the Oval Office, waiting for PRES. MANSFIELD.
LUGERSo that’s it, general, Mr. Secretary; we have 64 hours.
STRYKERI say push the button. What the hell? We’re here.
HAWKESAre you crazy? We’re talking about the destruction of the world.
STRYKERNot all of it, most of it. Look what most of it is: the Chinese are an aggravation. And Africa —(to HAWKES)if you pardon me — is a real pain in the butt.
LUGERIndia’s a zoo.
STRYKERTotally.(to HAWKES)You ever see those people, Hawkes? They’re the dirtiest looking bunch with the most God-awful teeth.
HAWKESYou are talking about God’s children, here. You’re talking about my brothers.
STRYKERNo, Hawkes. You negro guys have great teeth. Those big white ones. I love your teeth.
LUGEROh, they’re the best, those teeth.
STRYKERIt’s Indian teeth I’m talking about. I bet there’s not one dentist in the entire country.
HAWKESDentist? They don’t have food! They’re starving.
STRYKERWhat difference does it make? They don’t have teeth.
(STRYKER and LUGER laugh at STRYKER’S zing.)
HAWKESAs long as one man starve, we all starve. As long as one man weeps, we all weep. As long as one man suffers, we all suffer.
(STRYKER and LUGER are facepalming at HAWKES going off on a diatribe.)
HAWKES (cont.)As long as one man dies—
STRYKER(interrupts HAWKES)Now look at it this way, this could be the best thing to happen to this world. We’d be purifying it. Europe would probably survive, so you’d still have terrific shopping. The tropical islands will be left with those great drinks.
LUGERIt would be a public service, Hawkes.
HAWKESDid it ever occur to either of you maniacs that a large portion of the United States would be destroyed.
STRYKERWell, let’s hope it’s the part of the country that needs destroying, Hawkes. Let’s hope it’s our prisons, our slums, our ghettos.
LUGERLet’s hope it’s Detroit.
HAWKESWell, maybe it will be New York.(to LUGER)Maybe it would be the end of Hymietown. Hmm?
LUGER(defensive)Are you calling me a Hymie?
STRYKERHelmut, are you a Hymie?
LUGERI am NOT a Hymie!(MANSFIELD and SEN. COTTON enter)How dare you call me a Hymie!
STRYKER(to LUGER)Ya know, my wife thought you might be a Hymie.
MANSFIELDWhat is going on here?! We are in the midst of an international crisis. This is unbelievable.
LUGER(pointing to HAWKES)He started it. He said I was a Hymie.
MANSFIELDMr. Luger, if you please.
LUGERI’m sorry Madame President, Senator.
MANSFIELDI need you with me gentleman. Please. I’ll be talking to Premier Zolotov this afternoon. And I will probably meet with Major Brower again. As you know, this is all top secret. There could be no leaks — not even families. You will be kept informed and updated as the situation changes. We have 64 hours. That will be all gentlemen.
(LUGER, STRYKER and HAWKES head for theexit.)
STRYKER(stops LUGER)You sure got Hymie hair.
Mind you, this is directly after a scene where the president’s husband tells their young son not to let an Arab classmate bully them. “You let an Arab talk to you like that? Jews beat up Arabs. If they can, you can. You kick the humps off his camel.”
An episode later, we’re introduced to a televangelist character who talks about his recent appearance on The Phil Donahue Show where he “completely destroyed that faggot atheist abortionist.” I'm not sure if Phil Donahue, himself, was the "faa," or if the "faa" was another guest on the show. Either way, he seriously used the words "faggot atheist abortionist."
So what did we miss by only getting seven episodes of Hail to the Chief? More horribly offensive TV.
Now, I’m willing to give the show the benefit of the doubt. Yes, it was the ‘80s, so we were apparently able to say horrible things on TV. I’m also willing to concede that the writers made it offensive on purpose, to show how ignorant these people are. Look at Blazing Saddles.
The difference here is that this movie took place in 1874, when people really were horrible. Also, the ignorant characters here were either the bad guys or the townsfolk. The bad guys remained ignorant and eventually got what was coming to them and the townsfolk came around and learned that Black Bart was a good guy.
The show, however, makes the protagonists ignorant. Okay, the evangelist isn’t a protagonist — he’s trying to get the president impeached because she’s a woman. But everyone else mentioned above is a supposed to be on the protagonist’s side.
How are we supposed to pull for the woman who marries a philandering racist?
She picked a general for Chiefs of Staff who seems to believe that Europe would survive a full-scale nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, so clearly, he’s not much of a strategist. Anyone who has seen Wargames can tell you that the only way to win a nuclear war is not to play. Oh also, he uses the word “negro,” and not to describe what league the Kansas City Monarchs played for.
She picked a National Security Adviser who thinks he got a teenager pregnant, called the Ayatollah a “raghead” (no, I mean while talking to him) and who thinks being called Jewish is one of the worst possible insults.
For Secretary of State, she went with the guy who uses the phrase “Hymie Town.” Yes, I understand that that’s a reference to Jesse Jackson the previous year. My point is that didn’t quite work out for Jackson when he used it while trying to run for president, did it? It's a shame too, because up until that point in that scene, LaRue Hawkes seemed to be the voice of reason among the three of them.
So if they were going for Blazing Saddles-style offensive, then they failed pretty hard. If they weren't, then holy shit, what were they trying to do?
I guess it’s probably a good thing that this show didn’t last very long. At the very least, it freed up the writers and producers to work on another project of theirs that began airing on NBC that fall.
|Thank you for being a friend|
FUN FACT: There was another failure that also lasted April to July of 1985, the months Hail to the Chief aired.
|New Coke — The New Coke of all failures|
And remember, the show's lack of quality has no bearing on Julia Mansfield's ability to fight Calvin Coolidge... or does it?