Plot: The political titans all gather in Washington, D.C. to hash out all kinds of issues, from taxes to defense to budget concerns, so when they’re not hard at work or at least trying hard not to work, these politicians need a place to relax. And for most of the powerful political figures, that place is D.C. Follies, a friendly bar run by course, The Bartender (Fred Willard). At this bar, you will see all kinds of famous faces, all of the top political personas, celebrities of all kinds, and even religious and mystical figures, all together in one place. If you want to be in the middle of all the action, D.C. Follies is the place to be.
Entertainment Value: This oddball 80s series features Fred Willard as the bartender at a special tavern home to famous people, or at least puppets of those famous people. The show featured a host of distinctive, well crafted puppets, each of which left no doubt as to who they were intended to be. I love the visual designs of these puppets, as they nail the look of the person for the most part, but have this stylized design approach that just looks cool. Now the voices of the puppets…that is a little more inconsistent. I think most of the voice work kind of sounds like poor impressions that are in the ball park, but rarely right on the mark. But the voices come close and paired with the great puppets, the idea gets across and that is what matters here. Fred Willard is our human guide and while he is his usual dry self, he plays second fiddle to the puppets, so don’t expect a lot of presence from him. But if you appreciate his dry, dad joke style humor, you’re in for a treat with this series.
A lot of the humor here leans on political topics and personas, but it is mostly broad and over the top. Nixon is always trying to pull one over on people, Carter is a hayseed, Reagan has no memory, this is the kind of stuff D.C. Follies relies on a lot and as you can imagine, these kind of character driven themes are recurrent. As you’d expect from a Hollywood television production, the politics of the show lean to the left and the show skewers the Republicans more than the Democrats, but since the show uses corny, dad joke humor, it never feels mean spirited. A break from politics comes at times when the show shifts to more general pop culture figures, mostly still well known folks, but some more dated, 80s centric personalities. The episodes also feature a different guest star each time and some are very 80s in their presence, such as Robin Leach, but most are still relevant, such as Mike Tyson and Whoopi Goldberg, If you appreciate dry, corny political humor, skilled puppetry, or you just can’t get enough of the 80s, D.C. Follies is worth a look.