Timely ‘Swing State’ Satirizes the Alt–Right


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Written and directed by Jonathan Sheldon, “Swing State” is comedy parodying the current elections.

Anubhuti Kumar, Staff Writer

In the midst of an election season where every day brings unexpected twists and the only guarantee is another scandal before election day, “Swing State,” written and directed by Jonathan Sheldon, successfully satirizes the terrifying ideas being thrown around this election season. Released on Nov. 1, the film blatantly depicts the ridiculousness of the propaganda of the right wing — a dilemma which has infected the United States and seems to be spreading around the globe. The comedy stars Alex Beh alongside Angela Kinsey, Billy Zane and Taryn Manning.

“Swing State” follows a left-wing radio host Ethan Smith who guest-hosts a conservative radio talk show when the regular host is in the hospital. Not wanting to be associated with the show, but eager for the cash that comes with it, he decides to create an alternative personality. Under the name Charles Fern, he plays up every stereotype of a conservative Republican in America, from toting guns to comparing Hillary to Hitler, topping off his image with a disguise of a plaid jacket and bow tie. The character quickly manages to become the voice of the nation’s conservative movement.

Money pours in as “Fern” gains recognition and his guest spot on the radio show becomes permanent. Nobody in the party seems to doubt the satirist’s intentions. As his alter-ego becomes more and more successful, it becomes harder and harder for Bernard to give up the farce as Smith dives deeper into the character during election season, spewing nasty hyperboles on air about the Democratic opposition to the Republican incumbent, his personal life catches up to him and leads his true liberal ideology to entangle with the voice he has been giving the extreme right. Humor ensues as the worlds collide.

This extremely relevant movie reflects the politics of 2016. The comedy itself does more to reflect the hypocrisy of politics than our actual news media seems to be able to do. The audience laughs at the exaggeration, but it does not take long to realize that very little exaggeration is required to make humor of this election.

Charles Fern himself is a caricature of Trump. As a new face who loudly forces himself into the party and is crudely critical of the female Democratic candidate, with the possible secret of being a liberal hanging in the air, Smith amplifies and gives a platform to the worst parts of his party. His popularity reveals the terrifying prospects for the future of the United States, both in the film and in real life.

As the seriousness of politics collides with the hilarity of comedic exaggeration and romantic entanglements, “Swing State” keeps audiences both laughing and cringing as it reflects reality back at them.    

“Swing State” is now available to stream on iTunes, Vimeo, Fandango, Amazon and several other outlets.

Email Anubhuti Kumar at [email protected].