Spitting Image gets closer to the knuckle than ever in its second episode, as running subplots begin to develop amid the ripped-from-the-headlines material.
This recap of Spitting Image season 1, episode 2, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
In a lot of ways, this week’s Spitting Image is even more risque than the premiere, especially in how it plays on some broad cultural stereotypes. Admittedly, though, it’s in service of a broader point, which I hope people recognize — it’s not as if the point is subtle, after all. What’s also a laugh is how genuine subplots are beginning to develop, each one informed by the latest news developments, but building absurd narrative throughlines into the UK and the US’s abysmal response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, we open with Michael Gove, cheeks like sorry-looking ballbags, revealing a new track and trace system to the British public — a middle-aged woman standing behind a net curtain, drinking too many “quarantinis”. Trump’s premature discharge from Walter Reed and his infected spluttering all over his Secret Service detail is presented as the next step of his alliance with his pal “Corony”, a floating virus who contracts a lethal dose of POTUS-45. How long will it last? Four more years, at least.
One of the new arrivals this week is Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp, whose famously unwavering positivity makes for some lighthearted relief, poking fun at Liverpool’s 7-2 loss to Aston Villa — “So many wonderful goals!” — and messages from Manchester United and Everton that include a box of human feces and a stack of dynamite. “Look at the engineering!”
The fly that stole the show at the Vice-Presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris isn’t left out of the loop either; Spitting Image episode 2 reimagines it with Trump’s head, feeding the blue-skinned, horned Pence, who isn’t allowed to be alone with any woman who isn’t his wife, talking points for the debate.
Then there are the on-going schemes of an extraterrestrial Dominic Cummings, whose plan to repair the country is to enslave the unemployed and force them to work underground until they devolve like the people in Scotland and Wales. Boris is just happy that the wine club is still delivering. Cummings sups a red through his fingers.
Elon Musk gets some stick this week too, launching products he has no knowledge or understanding of, including the Blam-X cannon, which fires him into a wall. In his concussed delirium, he meets a version of himself from the future who warns him that he must leave Earth for Mars by November 3rd. Might not be a bad idea.
One of the big recurring gags is at the expense of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. When she meets with African-American delegates, she’s wearing a kente cloth and a dashiki and reading Michelle Obama’s autobiography; when she meets with LGBTQ representatives she’s wearing a vest and a hard hat with a rainbow sex toy attached — she even starts snogging one of the delegates. Diagnosed as having panderitis, a condition that causes an involuntary desire to pander to every voter base, she has to look herself in the mirror to regress to her true identity, which turns out to be an energy-gobbling blue blob.
Easily the riskiest bit, especially alongside David Attenborough continuing to struggle with social media, Greta Thunberg deciding to save West Ham United, and Elton John asking Quentin Tarantino to make a film which reimagines Watford as having won the FA Cup final, is a “wet market buffet” attended by world leaders including the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, who arrives with a bat on his shoulder. When asked about the somewhat oppressive laws being enacted in Hong Kong, he assures Boris that the death penalty is only reserved for the most extreme cases, such as when protestors use umbrellas. Oh, and Boris eats the bat.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.