The Watchman: ‘President Show’ Special Tackles Trump, ‘Deutschland 86’ Details Desperate Germany

Deputy editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene
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Comedy Central’s The President Show, starring Anthony Atamaniuk as President Donald Trump, offers a documentary — well, a mockumentary — about Trump’s time in the White House. A President Show Documentary: The Fall of Donald Trump premieres Oct. 22. It is set in 2030, and Atamaniuk described it as “a cathartic acid trip.”

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Anthony Atamaniuk as President Donald Trump

Atamaniuk has been portraying Trump on The President Show since the spring of 2017. Like an athlete before a big game, Atamaniuk has a musical playlist to get him in the mood to play the president. “A lot of Abba, Janelle Monae, some Prince,” he said. “I try to put myself in a positive headspace.”

That’s because some characteristics he digs for to portray Trump, including paranoia and narcissism, he said, can drag him down.

Atamaniuk describes The Fall of Donald Trump as “a look back on how it all started to unwind,” and both a comedic and a political piece. The mockumentary features footage from rallies, from the White House, from Florida, from space. “It’s the most vast 22 minutes you’ll ever see,” he said. “It goes everywhere.”

He won’t say a whole lot about the special, but it sounds like Trump is hard to locate when it begins. The cameras do find him. “Viewers will get a very big dose of Trump for sure,” Atamaniuk promises. “It’s my show — I didn’t cut myself out.”

And Deutschland 86, the follow-up season to Deutschland 83, starts up on SundanceTV October 25. The stylish spy drama, set in ‘80s Germany, depicts a young snoop by the name of Martin Rauch as he embarks on a series of international missions. Germany is divided, and it’s short on cash. Rauch is hired to drum up a bit of hard currency overseas. His stops include South Africa, Angola and Paris.

“There’s a lot of suspense,” said co-creator Jörg Winger, “and there’s a lot of humor because of the absurdity in a lot of those situations.”

The series’ playful mix of tonality, Winger noted, is one thing that makes it different from other dramas. “It’s a really entertaining and fun ride,” he said.

What sets Deutschland 86 apart from other German shows, he added, is its varied cast. “It’s so much more diverse,” Winger said, “than the average German show.”

His highlight of the new season features a suitcase of cash that results in money raining from the sky. Someone misreads the situation, a trigger is pulled, and there’s an “escalation of violence,” Winger said.

Jonas Nay plays spy Martin and Maria Schrader his aunt and his handler for Stasi. Added Winger, “It’s also a bit of a coming-of-age story.”

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