Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Tanner '88 was a series on HBO 17 years ago where they invented a fake presidential candidate, Jack Tanner, and had him run for office and interact with the real people running, and film it as a satire on the presidential race. I've seen a few episodes, and it's like an early reality show. It's interesting.

Tanner on Tanner ran last year, as an "update" on Tanner '88, having Cynthia Nixon, who played Tanner's daughter, play a filmmaker making a film about her dad's presidential run, 16 years later. It ran as a 4-part series on HBO, and was more a satire on independent filmmaking than on the political process, but there were also the same political elements where this fictional character interacted with real politicians, mostly at the Democratic Convention.

I didn't see Tanner on Tanner when it ran, but found the DVD for a couple of bucks on Amazon, and just watched it. It makes you never want to make an independent film. That speaks well of the show and poorly of independent film. Frankly, it makes all creative endeavors feel kind of shallow and meaningless. That speaks well of the show. I guess.

It's directed by Robert Altman and written by Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), so I suppose it almost had to be good. It is good. It's thought-provoking. Don't watch it right before you want to create anything, though. It'll take the steam right out of you.