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The Trump inauguration, or the return of ‘The Twilight Zone’?

A Scottish TV critic lampooned the Trump inauguration as the return of the classic TV series.


Chris Tognotti

Internet Culture

Published Jan 15, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 5:02 am CDT

Anyone who’s seen an episode of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone knows there’s no limit to how entertaining the uncanny can be. That is, until it becomes real life. 

Scottish TV critic Damien Love satirically joked that the show would return to the airwaves next week with its most ambitious, improbable, engrossing, and disconcerting episode yet. After all, who could possibly predict that a political candidate could flaunt all conceivable norms of acceptable political discourse, decency, good taste, throw in a bit of an authoritarian streak, and still prevail? And what kind of macabre future would that make for? Fertile ground for some veteran screenwriters, no doubt.

“It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible.”

If it weren’t obvious enough, that description reads a lot like what just happened to the U.S. in the 2016 presidential election, and indeed, that’s the subject of Love’s sharp-witted, viral bit of satire in Scotland’s Sunday Herald this week. 

Running down the TV offerings for the coming week, Love noted the coming broadcast of the Trump inauguration, and here’s how he described it.

“After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present.

The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.”

Make no mistake, Jan. 20 is going to feel like a very surreal experience, perhaps for Trump’s supporters and detractors alike. How many truly believed this day would come? The ceremony and festivities are slated to begin at 9:30am ET with the start of the musical program, with opening remarks scheduled for two hours later at 11:30 a.m. ET. Then, the big moment: Trump will ascend to the presidency at about noon, with Chief Justice John Roberts performing the swearing-in.

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2017, 12:22 pm CST