Fiscal Cliff 2

The Sequester Affair

Like most sequels, this one is not as exciting as the original.  Most of the same cast is back to reprise their roles from the original psychodrama, but this time the storyline is missing some of the plot elements that caused so much talk by national reviewers the first time around.  Gone are the wild tax increases that would have plummeted the entire nation into recession.  While the bus that was driving wildly toward the cliff that would have sent many to their deaths at the bottom of a dark abyss was stopped in the first episode with two wheels hanging over the edge, we learn in the sequel that this was just a temporary save.  Yes, the bus is on the move again and headed back toward the cliff.

Statesman Rescue

Statesman Rescue (Photo credit: Nonsequiturlass)

If the plot seems to be just a retread of the original, perhaps it is just that.  Actors seemed unhappy with the long script and claimed they just did not have time to read it all before this turkey went into production.  Writers blamed the executive branch, I mean producers, for forcing such a close in deadline.  The executives blamed the writers for preparing such a script.  It really does not matter now.  This thing is out before the public and we will have to wait to see how the audience reacts.

Back in the lead role is Barack Obama as President of the United States of America.  Audiences seemed to warm up to him enough to want to bring him back in the role again.  At the end of the last episode, it was unclear whether John Boehner would return in the role of Speaker of the House.  Part of the last cliff hanger saw members of Boehner’s old gang ready to depose the leader and put someone new on top.  The sequel does not indicate how Boehner survived to lead the gang against the President in The Sequester Affair, it just claims that his council of henchmen reelected him.  This script element may seem implausible to the many who buy a ticket and some popcorn to sit down and watch this drama again.

It is clear this time out that Boehner will win no Oscar for his portrayal of the opposition leader.  His humorless, “I have indigestion” look is back, but more ridiculously out-of-place as the villain trying to rob from the poor and give to the rich.  He just does not come off as evil enough for the task.  Also due for luke warm reviews are the ambiguously political duo of Obama and Joe Biden as Vice President of the United States.  While Biden is given only a small part here, the screen writers have given him a couple of opportunities to say things that are not quite helpful to the heroes.

Missing from this particular installment of what we hope is the final chapter are women leads.  All of the women in this drama have minor roles to play.  Last time out Hilary Clinton was able to somehow stay out of the fray.  As the nation’s top statesman… uh, statesperson, she was given little face time and did not even appear in the last half of the movie.  Perhaps they are trying to save her to be a hero in a sort of spin-off in a few years.  Unbelievably, her husband Bill as former President of the United States, may have given the best performance in the first half of the original movie.  He does not reprise his role here.

Nancy Pelosi, playing the part of the Minority Leader, also has seen her part reduced.  She was not very believable in the first movie so it is strange they brought her back for another supporting appearance.  Her character really has nothing to do in The Sequester Affair except stand around in a few scenes looking confused.  She no longer seems to be the dynamic performer who was nominated in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role years ago.  She certainly is not Meryl Streep, that is for sure.

The rest of the women who appear on screen seem to be there more for background decoration than anything else.  The villains of this piece, the Grand Obstructionist Party, or GOP for short, are all played by crabby old white guys.  As it should be with villains, there is not a likeable one in the bunch.  Younger performer Paul Ryan has been given an almost non-existent role since his character was not warmly received at the box office last time.  The so-called heroes of the production are not to be considered strong protagonists.  The script has them robustly proclaiming hollow explanations at times, leaving the audience unfulfilled.  Indeed, they do not even clearly exhibit an understanding of the caper and seem quite surprised at having to fight the same battle again.  Will our heroes again stop the bus from going over the cliff?  Will the poor be robbed to give money to the rich?  Will tax loopholes be closed to help pay down the deficit?  Will this awful franchise leave us with another cliffhanger, opening the door to another one of these productions?  I guess you will need to grab a box of popcorn or your favorite movie candy, walk across the floor that is sticky with pop spilled during the children’s matinée and grab an uncomfortable seat.  The game is afoot.

As a side note, Jesse Jackson, Jr. was once again unable to accept a supporting role in this production.  The first time around he had health issues that did not allow him to appear on-screen.  In fact, he did not appear anywhere.  Nevertheless, the public decided they wanted him to return in the part, so they elected to bring him back for more.  Unfortunately, legal trouble has seen his character written out completely.  He may return in 46 to 57 months, but we do not foresee another major role in his future.  Who knows?  Perhaps he will be back.  Bad actors make comebacks all the time.

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7 thoughts on “Fiscal Cliff 2

  1. Well said!! The best explanation of the mess in DC I’ve read to date.

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  2. I think that it isn’t until episode number 6 (or 7?) that the plot even starts to change. I believe that is scheduled to come out about 4 years from now. Sadly, nobody expects that the writers will stray very far from this time-proven receipe, though.

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  3. Michelle Obama’s star is rising as is her billing in this sequel.

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  4. […] as if he just ate something at a low-class restaurant.  While he could claim only minor victory in The Sequester Affair, this time he intends to rob from the poor and give to the rich, and he will shut down the United […]

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