Scripted TV shows took aim at Trump in 2017

"Will and Grace" returned to TV loaded with jokes aimed at President Donald Trump. Photo Credit: NBC / Chris Haston

By Meghan Giannotta @MeghGia

Late-night hosts have had plenty of new material to work with since President Donald Trump took office, but the talk show realm isn’t the only scene that adapted to the political climate in 2017.

Viewers catching new episodes of their favorite scripted television shows, like “Will & Grace” and “Broad City,” found several references to the presidency this past year, with plots either directly mentioning Trump or nodding to political and social issues.

Others, including “Master of None” and “Insecure,” purposely stayed away from the politics, their creators citing a need to create a space where a divided nation could escape reality.


“I don’t want the stench of the current administration on this show,” Issa Rae, creator of “Insecure,” told The Guardian after the show’s second season premiere last summer.

TV writers that took a different approach found their episodes among the most talked about in 2017. As the year comes to a close, we revisited seven TV shows that added Trump-tied plots and jokes to their latest seasons.

“Broad City”: Before Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer even returned for their fourth season, they were already taking aim right at Trump. The trailer saw the women beeping out the president’s name, and it continued through the season. “We got to a point where, in real life, we’re talking about the current administration, talking about Trump, and it sounds so gross like every day saying it so many times and we just didn’t want to share airtime,” Glazer said at the Television Critics Association press tour last summer. “He’s got enough. It’s just a different kind of joke.”

“Will & Grace”: The election didn’t just fuel the revival of “Will & Grace,” it dominated the entire pilot episode. The writers took just about every opportunity to poke fun at Trump that they could, from comparing his skin tone to a bag of Cheetos snacks to changing his campaign slogan to “Make America Gay Again.” The jokes took off on Twitter, but didn’t end there. Early on, Karen (who voted for Trump) offers Grace a job designing the Oval Office.

“American Horror Story: Cult”: If the events on Nov. 8, 2016, ended with Trump conceding the election, this season of “AHS” would have been entirely different. The season picked up on election night with Sarah Paulson’s character breaking down as Trump is revealed as the next president on the TV screen.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Tina Fey didn’t flood the third season of her Netflix comedy with jabs at the presidency, but she couldn’t get away without slipping in at least one solid reference. Centered around Kimmy’s desire to attend college in New York City, her friend Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski) drops a truth bomb: She went to “Trump University: Go Pricks!”

“Madam Secretary”: While the CBS show didn’t specifically name Trump, a specific scene in the latest season led viewers to believe it was taking aim at the president. After Tea Leoni’s character was groped by a fictional Filipino president, fans felt the script was in reference to the leak of the 2005 Billy Bush video.


“She’s Gotta Have It”: Spike Lee’s Netflix remake to his 1986 film focused mostly on the gentrification of Brooklyn and rise of feminism in 2017, but he started off with a nod to the political climate. The eight-episode of the series, titled “#LoveDontPayDaRent,” opened with a montage of anti-Trump posters that read “The Ugly America,” and the Daily News cover from Nov. 9, 2016.

“Black-ish”: The series starring Tracee Ellis Ross kicked off the year with an episode titled “Lemons” that reflected a nation divided post-election. Blurring the lines between fiction and reality, the episode saw Dre (Anthony Anderson) stand up for his country among a group of employees torn up about Clinton’s loss. One line, in particular, sparked buzz on Twitter: “I love this country as much, if not more, than you do and don’t you ever forget that.”