Parallel Histories


So I’ve been watching FlashForward, a show you might enjoy if you like Lost, but almost certainly won’t enjoy if you don’t, as it seems to be cobbled together out of similar concepts (the flashes, interconnectedness, predestination vs. free will) and many of the same actors. I like Lost, so I enjoy it.

In this week’s episode we had scenes with the President and Congress. The President is some old white dude, who, apparently, is in his second term, so reality on this show diverges from our own at least by 2004, we don’t know yet if he’s a Democrat or a Republican. 9/11 is referenced, so that has definitely happened too. Oddly, though, in playful lovers banter the two lesbian characters joke around a threesome with Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in space.

So apparently in the most recent election, Palin ran, not as this guy’s running mate. So he’s probably a Democrat. Did he run against Clinton in the primary?

I’m intrigued by Senator Clemente, who we are supposed to perceive as a bad guy, since she’s opposed to our established good guys. I think she’s a fictional stand-in for Clinton actually (which makes it weirder that they talk about Clinton’s actual existence. It’s a bit like in Jacqueline Susann’s book Dolores, which is thinly veiled novelization of Jackie Kennedy’s life (so thin as to barely be a veil) when they reference her new lover as being “as rich as Aristotle Onassis,” a) we get the point, and b) you already have an Aristotle Onassis in the book!). Clemente is a powerful lady Senator who believes she had had a good shot at the presidency if it weren’t for something the bureau chief did. He’s pretty disrespectful to her, actually, calling her by her first name (he says “Joyce,” but her name plate said “Jane.” Significant? Or mistake?) when she asks to be addressed as Senator, and snidely noting that he doubted she’d have a second term. (Implying perhaps that she ran in ’04?)

By the end of the episode she’s become Vice President, and she reveals that in her FF she was the President, following in the grand tradition of female Presidents on tv (cf Laura Roslin) that they only become president by succession, not by election.

It’s absurd to me that even when a writer can imagine a world where the whole planet blacks out at the same time for mysterious reasons, these same writers can’t imagine the US electing a woman president. I feel like, it’s “funny” because it’s true.


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3 Responses to “Parallel Histories”

  1. Silvie Says:

    “…even when a writer can imagine a world where the whole planet blacks out at the same time for mysterious reasons, these same writers can’t imagine the US electing a woman president.”

    Well, FF is actually based on a book by a sci-fi author (ironically, it’s probably his least-liked book) from Canada. A fairly constant theme in his books is that the U.S., in the next few decades, gets more and more conservative (the author himself is wildly liberal). I don’t know how much involvement he has in writing the series–there are MAJOR changes between the book and the show–but having a woman be elected even Vice President is an improvement on those grounds.

  2. gnatalby Says:

    Huh. That’s interesting to know. I had no idea FF was based on a book. Everything awesome comes from Canada.

  3. Booze. TV. Food. How Do *You* Spend Friday Nights? Says:

    […] thanks to Liss, and I think Senator (now VP!) Clemente is seeeeecretly Hillary Clinton. How strange that even in a totally fictional world a woman can only become president thanks to […]

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