Tanner '88

HBO (ended 2004)



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Tanner '88

Show Summary

Welcome to the Tanner '88 guide at TV.com. Director Robert Altman and cartoonist G.B. Trudeau combined forces for this ground breaking satire following the campaign of fictional Democratic presidential candidate Jack Tanner, mixing real life politicians and celebrities with the fictional characters. In the first season, we meet Tanner as basically a nice guy who doesn't have the killer instinct of his competitors, but nevertheless forges ahead with the help of his campaign manager T.J. Cavanaugh (Pamela Reed), youthful aide Stringer Kincaid (Daniel Jenkins), ditzy assistant Andrea Spinelli (Ilana Levine), Emile the pollster (Jim Fyfe) and teenage daughter Alex (Cynthia Nixon). Other regulars include kindhearted newspaper columnist Hayes Taggerty (Kevin J. O'Connor), filmmaker Deke Connors (Matt Molloy), and Dukakis campaign head Joanna Buckley (Wendy Crewson), Tanner's secret love interest. In the second season, set sixteen years later, Alex is now a documentary maker following the Bush and Kerry campaigns, utilizing Jack, Andrea, and TJ for funds and support. The original working title of this show was Tanner: A Political Fable.moreless
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  • "Exercise your right to vote..."

    I had the pleasure of watching the entire Criterion Collection set of "Tanner '88" a couple of months ago and was throughly entertained by its scathing look at the political system, an insider's view that remains relevant to this day. What really enhances the movement of the story is its focus on trials and tribulations of three "families"- Congressman Jack Tanner and his doting daughter, Tanner's much-put-upon support staff, and the ever-present media. Some characters mature (like Andrea and TJ) and some devolve into attention-hungry man-children (like Molly and Deke), all the while exposing the fact that just because you look presidential doesn't mean you have the "right stuff" to run the country.

    Questions? Comments? Drop me a line anytime.moreless
  • "Tanner 88" proves itself as hilarious satire over 10 years later.

    "Tanner 88", lovechild of Garry Trudeau (writer; "Doonesbury" cartoonist) and Robert Altman (director; other projects include "The Long Goodbye" and "Gosford Park"), re-aired on the Sundance Channel shortly before the 2004 US presidential election. Sometime after that, the entire series was released as a Criterion Collection DVD. "Tanner" spins the tale of a Michigan congressman's battle for his party's (the Democratic Party's) presidential nomination, filmed in the guise of a documentary.

    While one almost has to have been from the 80s to appreciate some of the show's humor, most of it is still relavent today. Which parts? Buy the Criterion Collection DVD. It belongs on every American's shelf.moreless

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