Mr. Firth Goes to Washington

Charles Firth was one of the founding members of The Chaser comedy team, appearing on CNNNN on the ABC. But he later moved to the USA with occasional appearances on The Chaser’s War on Everything.

In Mr Firth Goes to Washington (a title parody on the 1939 James Stewart film Mr Smith Goes to Washington) he sets about de-bunking the Bush Administration. As if it hadn’t managed to do that all on its ownsome anyway.

Now on SBS, Firth likens the Bush presidency to a Hollywood movie. And it’s not a bad analogy.

According to firth it has all the elements of a popcorn movie. There’s a hero (Bush) and a villain (Al-Qaeda). That’s pretty obvious. But his other parallels are equally amusing.

Like every good screenplay, the story has to open with an inciting incident. A big, eye-catching action set-piece in the first act. Enter 9/11. It immediately pits Bush as American’s very own Harrison Ford. Firth finds lots of footage of pithy, aggressive sentences to help the audience understand the premise. Some would even make a ripping poster by-line.

Firth says the scene of Bush on a navy warship declaring victory in the Iraq War was actually filmed a few miles off Los Angeles. He even visits a set said to be used for filming Baghdad scenes in Hollywood movies.

Every good film needs a refrigerator moment, declares Firth. That’s the point when you’re home and you open the fridge door and shout “wait a minute…that isn’t possible!” It’s the moment when a plot hole suddenly hits you in face. In the Bush years, the refrigerator moment was the realisation that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq -the reason America was told to invade the country.

He even proffers up a romantic sub-plot, when Bush diverted attention from the war to a political battle against calls for gay marriage.

It’s all an amusing theory if you don’t take it too seriously – Firth certainly doesn’t. He gnarls at the camera, with a delivery not too far removed from that of Dave Hughes. There are easy-target montages of dumb Americans who know nothing of US politics, and fake experts throughout, further underlining the irony of Firth’s theory.

This isn’t an attack of Michael Moore proportions, thank goodness. It’s a perfect “short” to Wednesday’s main attraction.

Mr. Firth Goes to Washington screens 8:30pm Tuesday on SBS.


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