If there's one thing we've come to learn about politicians, it's that almost all of them are at least a little bit insane. In real life, that's extremely disconcerting. But on the small screen, dirty politicians bring juicy drama—and incompetent ones bring comedy gold. The recent premieres of HBO's Veep and ABC's Scandal—which feature a hilariously bumbling vice president and an adulterous president with lots of vices, respectively—got us thinking about some of the more ridiculous politicians who've graced our TV screens over the years... so we've listed some of the more outrageous ones below. Will Veep's Selina Meyer or Scandal's President Fitzgerald Grant ever be as notorious as these dubious few?
The womanizing Quimby is reminiscent of every real-life politician with skeletons in the closet...but more specifically, he's a parody of Ted Kennedy—hence the Boston accent. He's wildly incompetent and tends to disappear when he's needed, but when he is around, he basically just throws money at his problems in hopes that they'll go away.
Davis was notorious for taking bribes, and in Season 3, he even started acting as a consultant for drug kingpin Stringer Bell! Of course, he was also trying to pull the wool over Stringer's eyes, which almost led to his assassination (sheeeeee-it!). In Season 4, Davis started dipping his grubby hands into the police department's pockets. Getting in with both the good guys and the bad guys has its price, but Davis had a knack for playing with fire.
Eustace Bailey Farnum was a conniving, greedy hotelier who wasn't particularly popular—he only became the mayor of Deadwood because no one else in town wanted the job. Known for talking down to those less fortunate than he, Farnum's power-playing personality was quite the facade—the real commanding forces in town were Al Swearengen, the brothel owner, and later George Hearst. Sorry, Farnum, but money talks.
Kyle MacLachlan plays the lovable, naive mayor of Portland, Oregon on IFC's Pacific Northwest-set sketch show. There's not much to him, really, but that's kind of the point. He's easily persuaded—remember when Fred and Carrie convinced him to start a petition to never hold the Olympics in Portland?—but at least he holds his city in high regard, even if it means trash-talking Seattle.
Awesome sidenote: The real mayor of Portland, Sam Adams, plays the fictional mayor's assistant on the show.
Victor came off like some kind of hopeless romantic when we first met him, chasing after Gabrielle with intentions to marry her. But his chivalrous disguise shattered when Gabrielle found out he only wanted to win the Latino vote in his bid for Governor. Later, he tried to pay off Gabrielle's former lover—teenage gardener John—to keep him quiet. But he got what was coming to him in Season 4, when in the midst of a tornado, a flying white picket fencepost took him down for good.
As you may've guessed, this comedy by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who else?) chronicled the fictional personal life of the real-life former president, and portrayed George W. Bush the character as an all-out buffoon.
This lady had her hands in all sorts of unpleasant things. Her M.O. was messed up from the get-go, when she was just a lady trying to frame the innocent Lincoln Burrows. But working with an organization know as "The Company" and poisoning the president so she could take his place? That's some Game of Thrones-level stuff.
A main player in the United States' "opposition party," Jarvis was eventually revealed as one of the cogs in the Event conspiracy machine. When President Martinez was wounded during an assassination attempt, Jarvis became a key suspect—he was trying to convince the president to keep a top-secret detention facility top secret. He was named acting president while Martinez recovered...and proceeded to allow a bunch of aliens manipulate him, kickstarting their plan to move their home planet into Earth's orbit. Smooth move, Jarvis!
So, way back in 2009, before the series takes place, Waldon was involved in a drone strike in the Middle East that killed hundreds of innocent children. He's not the most ethical guy in the world. But he's also kind of clueless. For a guy who was once the director of the CIA, he's not particularly skilled at picking up on terrorist cues—he was trapped in a room with a guy who had a bomb strapped to his chest without ever suspecting it.
Baltar was elected Vice President before challenging President Laura Roslin for the higher office. His empire was marked by an impressive streak of bad decisions and low points, including settling into New Caprica, unwittingly revealing the ship's location to the Cylons through his affair with a Six (Gina), and eventually surrendering the human race to the Cylons. He then became the Cylons' presidential puppet, which led to the death of even more humans. Great going, Mr. President.
Few politicians are portrayed with such indignity as the poor mayor of Quahog. Voiced by the real-life Adam West, the animated version is a delusional man-child.
In Season 1, Mayor Lockwood (the male one) was a slightly corrupt, jerkish gent who bullied his son, Tyler, in public. But in the season finale, a plot to expose all of the town's vampires via supersonic noises accidentally swept up both the mayor and Tyler—though they weren't vampires, they were werewolves! But no matter, he was accidentally murdered before he could explain. In the wake of his death, Lockwood's wife inherited his title (because that's a standard way to do things, right?) and has been doing a pretty terrible job ever since. Not only is she routinely oblivious to everything going on in town, she eventually befriended the ancient vampire posse. Basically, she's a really bad mayor...which makes her perfect for Mystic Falls.
First of all, Logan was never elected—he started out as a veep and took office after Air Force One crashed, seriously wounding his then-boss, President John Keeler. But as soon as Logan landed in the White House, he started conspiring like the best of 'em. He sold nerve gas to terrorists, and was even involved in the assassination of President Palmer (to say nothing of his eventual dealings with the Russians). So basically he was a pretty bad dude. But man, it sure was fun to hate him! And watching his motorcade get attacked by a fully body-armored Jack Bauer in Season 8 was one of the best 24 scenes ever.
What ridiculous TV politicians would YOU add to this list?