Tuned In

Monday on Fox: It's Evil Vice President Night!

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We all know, of course, that Hollywood is liberal. And liberals hate the Bush Administration. And Bush Administration haters hate Dick Cheney the hatingest of all. So you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that there’s a TV network that has not one but two series featuring a sinister Vice President of the United States. Which knee-jerk lefty network would that be? HBO, maybe? CBS, home of Memogate?

Actually, that would be Fox. Corporate sibling to the New York Post, owned by the same company that signs Bill O’Reilly’s paychecks, run by that notorious pinko Rupert Murdoch. 

Monday night, Fox’s thriller Prison Break returns after several months’ hiatus, and it jumps right back into its pulse-pounding, implausible and addictive story about Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) attempting to free his framed-up brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) from getting the chair at an Illinois maximum-security joint. It also jumps back into its backstory, about a Vice President (Patricia Wettig) who’s deeply involved in the conspiracy to see that Lincoln fries for the murder of her brother. Her brother, incidentally, was apparently involved with a potential alternative-energy technology that had oil companies very nervous.

One suspects the show’s writers may have been vaguely aware that we’ve had a Big Oil-connected VP (or two) in recent history.

An hour later, you get 24, where we’ve learned recently that TV’s worst president is being pushed around by his domineering, super-shady VP, who wants to pre-emptively declare martial law in Los Angeles, ostensibly because of the terrorist attacks that have been unfolding over the day–but probably, the foreshadowing suggests, mainly because he’s got a serious power jones.

So: two vice presidents, tied respectively to a vaguely oil-linked conspiracy and an attempt to abrogate America’s civil liberties in the name of homeland security? Is Murdoch too busy surfing MySpace to watch his own network? Maybe it’s a sign, as I’ve said before, of Murdoch’s brand of conservatism: the kind that’s glad to cash in on the zeitgeist no matter what the political fallout. Maybe making Prison Break’s evil executive a woman could be received as crypto Hillary-bashing by conservatives (at least the ones who bought all those Vincent Foster "murder" conspiracy theories).

Or maybe Fox’s evil vice prexies are just coincidence. After all, neither of them has picked up a shotgun yet. But it’s only March.