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Reality Shows of the Dictators

PUTIN YOU ON
“Smile!  You’re on Candid Comrade!”  The playful side of Vladimir Putin is on full display here in this popular prank show.  Watch as hapless citizens get taken in by such hysterical practical jokes as having their tea spiked with the radionuclide polonium-210!  Hilarity ensues as the dupe’s condition steadily deteriorates until the final reveal, when Putin himself runs in from the control room, exclaiming “You got Putin’d! Da, is good?!?”  This season culminates with Putin’s funniest and most elaborate prank yet! Tune in on January 20th, 2017!


NEXT OF KIM
North Korea’s own Apprentice-style series focuses on the search for a worthy successor to Kim Jong Un.  Each week contestants are assigned a simple task, such as golfing straight eighteen hole-in-ones in under an hour; writing, performing and recording a perfect double-platinum selling pop record in a day; or abstaining from defecation for as long as one month.  Failure to successfully complete a given task results in execution by mortar round.


EATIN’ WITH IDI
This culinary/travelogue series followed Idi Amin as he trekked from village to village, feasting on the remains of his fallen opposition.  Though starting off strong in the ratings, the show was ultimately cancelled after losing out to the similarly themed Pol Pot Luck.



ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIFTH GRADE SOLDIER?

Another program which Pol Pot had a hand in creating was this family quiz show. Brainy parents squared off against precocious kids to answer questions concerning Marxist theory, irrigation, or where the sun goes at night. Consolation prizes of hoes and shovels were awarded to second place, while the winners (after having their glasses removed and stepped on) were simply never heard from again… Lucky fifth graders received a brand new AK-47 as a parting gift!


 FIDEL-ITY
In the mid-60’s, Fidel Castro’s reputation as ladies’ man lead to this early entry in the reality dating genre.  Female hopefuls, vying for a shot at El Caballo’s affections, lived in his palace while competing in various challenges.  Those chosen to remain were given a non-exploding cigar, while the losers were forced to make a humiliating, soot-faced exit.  Episodes were known for their punny titles, such as “The Bay of Chicks” and “The Cuban Missus Crisis”.


CHAIRMAN MAO’S GREAT LEAP FORWARD

Contestants must endure a number of extreme challenges, leaping blindfolded from one obstacle to the next, all while being doused with green slime, dunked into vats of pink foam, or slowly starved to death for the sake of the greater good.  Winners got to take home a bag of grain.


IMELDA’S CLOSET
They say you can never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.  In this inspiring makeover show, poverty-stricken women are asked to try on one pair, selected from Imelda Marcos’ stunning collection of over a thousand designer shoes, as Imelda and her co-host George Hamilton discuss the shoe, its history and its fabulousness.  Soon after, the guest returns the shoes and is forcibly removed from the premises.



OPERATION CONDO

Augusto Pinochet has ways of finding out who finished all the peanut butter… and they aren’t pretty! Too many coups spoil the broth in this series, which asks the question: “Can six deposed South American leaders live in exile, under one roof… without driving each other crazy?” (Keen-eyed viewers may recognize a young George H.W. Bush, popping up early in the show’s run, as Jorge, the ever put-upon building super!)

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Written by Lance Hansen

Lance Hansen

Lance Hansen is a cartoonist and writer from Philadelphia. His comic strip “Mister Morals”, appears regularly in MAD Magazine, along with other pieces. He is currently working on a number of long-gestating projects.

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