Servant of the People

Netflix now streams two seasons of “Servant of the People”, the comedy series from Ukraine that Volodmyr Zilensky created and starred in. The show, which was produced and starring Zelensky (and also starring him), is about Vasily Goloborodko who becomes the president of Ukraine. His profane rant against corruption and incompetence by the government is captured by one of his students. It goes viral via social media. It is this episode that, as you all know, catapulted Zelensky into the real presidency of Ukraine.

This is worth the effort.  This is more fun than I anticipated – Zelensky has a great comic acting talent. Also, the production values are higher than expected. In fact, I thought it would look like a 60s Eastern European film with all its grainy black-and white backgrounds, poor lighting, and sad backdrops. It actually looks more like “Friends” and “Parks and Recreation.” It is very professionally assembled, directed, performed, and paced well.

The Ukraine’s current events add a dark subtext to an otherwise light-hearted comedy. This gives the show an unusual emotional resonance that is unlike any I have ever seen. Many episodes are shot outside, with President Goloborodko moving from Kyiv to Kyiv. The scenes depicting life in the streets of Kyiv look beautiful and peaceful. It is heartbreaking to see the Russians’ brutality in the area.

This show is better than “Celebrity Apprentice: the White House Years” in America. While “CA:TWHY,” was at times quite funny, there were moments when it got a little too much. Who can forget the episode in which “President Trump”, while ripping up classified documents from his desk, is crawling on the ground collecting fragments to tape them back together. You know, the Sharpie-colored one. The “Drink Your Bleach!” episode. Oder the one in which head conssigliere Rudy Guliani holds a press conference at the Four Seasons Landscaping Company’s driveway (mistaking the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia) to reveal their bombshell evidence regarding election fraud.

This gave new meanings to “You can’t make it up!”

However, Zelensky was not gifted at comedy.  I found his humor too angry and too snarky, which was not my cup of tea.

As it progressed to season four, CA.TWHY was progressively outlandisher and less credible, just like many TV shows. Season Five was premised on the idea that Trump would cause a storm to the Capitol in order to overturn 2020’s election results. For doing so, you will pay absolutely no political or any other price so,Instead, he would emerge as the head of once-respectable Republican Party. This was too ridiculous to believe. For satire to work, it must have credibility.

If you haven’t seen the most recent episode of Season 6, which has suffered a lot in ratings, you may not have seen them. But you do know what I mean. Can anyone believe that Trump would call upon the Russian President, with whom he had a very cordial relationship, to not only cease the fighting, to open humanitarian corridors and to end the murder of civilians but also to give him information on Hunter Biden?  You mean it. This reminds me of Tom Lehrer’s famous comment, “Political satire was obsolete when Henry Kissinger won Nobel Prize.”