Useful Notes / Bill Clinton

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bill-clinton-in-esquire.jpg
Now everyone gets to see him from this angle.

"Posterity is the world to come; the world for whom we hold our ideals, from whom we have borrowed our planet, and to whom we bear sacred responsibility. We must do what America does best: offer more opportunity to all and demand responsibility from all."
First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1993

William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton (born August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States; serving between 1993 and 2001, succeeding George H.W. Bush and preceding George W. Bush.

The first Democrat president for the United States at the time since Jimmy Carter, he was also the first Democrat elected to two terms since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Plus, he was the first president to be born after World War II. The Clinton presidency is most well-known for a prosperous economy and for his impeachment by a Republican-controlled Congress. Lesser-known are his efforts to put an end to The Troubles in Northern Ireland in 1995 (though things dragged on for a few years, it was ultimately his intervention that helped to end it).

Since leaving office, he has become an acclaimed public speaker and charity organizer. Clinton had perhaps the widest range of satirical portrayals of any president. At the beginning his comedic persona was that of a hickish southerner; a "Bubba" who enjoyed too much fast food and was out of his league in Washington. As his presidency went on, parodies increasingly played upon a "Slick Willie" portrayal, a fast-talker in both the situation room and the bedroom, able to invoke Refuge in Audacity to barrel through scandals with his popularity rating remaining high.

He is currently largely known in media parody/satire for his playing of the saxophone and perpetually groping his interns thanks to all those sex scandals. Given the masterful use of Weasel Words during the Lewinsky scandal (including the legendary "that depends on what your definition of the word 'is' is"), he also has a reputation of being able to talk his way out of anything.

Despite his sex scandal, he was actually one of the most popular presidents among women, due to a number of policies that were generally acclaimed as feminist. Also, due to her own involvement in politics, Hillary Rodham Clinton has perhaps been the target of more satire than any other First Lady: most of these satires played up her own Lady Macbeth nature and the notion of a "Faustian Deal" with her husband wherein she would stay with him, no matter how many affairs he might have, in exchange for helping her achieve political power in her own right.

Hillary ran for the Democratic Party nomination in 2008, but narrowly lost to Barack Obama, who proceeded to ally with her and appoint the former senator as his Secretary of State. Long before Hillary announced she would attempt once again to run in the 2016 presidential race on April 2015, speculation arose in the media as to what title he would hold (First Gentleman, First Dude, First Laddie, among others) if she actually became the next Commander In Chief.


Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Adam Westing: Produced a video about his "lame-duck" period.
  • Chubby Chaser: Often painted as this in the media, sometimes overlapping with a fondness for big butts (due to owning an office in Harlem). A lot of comedians and satirists got mileage out of Lewinsky's fuller figure.
  • Conspiracy Theory: In the Michael Moore film Bowling for Columbine, Marilyn Manson accused the Clinton administration of helping to manufacture controversy around his music, especially in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine high school massacre, to distract the public from the Lewinsky scandal and the embarrassing Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory bombing (which was itself claimed by many conspiracy theorists to itself be a botched attempt to distract from the sex scandal).note 
  • Fountain of Expies: For many people, Clinton humanized the presidency and brought a younger, more dynamic energy to it; it's not surprising that fictional presidents became the main character of movies like Air Force One and The American President during his tenure. Both of those movies, not coincidentally, had presidents with a single young daughter, as did Independence Day. The West Wing had a president with three daughters, but the college-aged Zoe, roughly the same age as Chelsea Clinton when the show premiered in 1999, was by far the most prominent.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The Lewinsky scandal made it all too easy to use Clinton as the punch line of sex jokes.
  • Memetic Mutation: Not inhaling. It depends what your definition of "is" is. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

Appears in the following works:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • As usual, his image is usually the President in most 1990s comics. He specifically spoke at the Funeral of Superman in 1993.
  • Stars as a major character in the limited series Resurrection, in which aliens invade Earth in late May 1998...and occupy Earth for almost 10 years before mysteriously withdrawing in late 2007. Clinton—now a depressed former President—ends up traveling with the main characters across post-invasion America. There are also several flashbacks to the last days of the Clinton administration during the 3-day period where the aliens were first arriving. Since Clinton has legally not been the President since January 20, 2001 and since everyone else in the Presidential line of succession is either missing or dead or so it seems initially and obviously no election was held during the alien occupation, one of the major plot points is the question of who is legally the President and whether or how the government (and many other institutions) will continue in the aftermath of the almost decade-long occupation.
  • Ultimate X-Men states that Clinton was bullied into giving the okay for Bolivar Trask to begin the Sentinel Initiative project. It wasn't until Bush's administration (in-universe) that they were actually activated, however, and Bush was a lot less bothered by them.

    Film 
  • In The Beverly Hillbillies '93 movie, it's implied he's actually related to the Clampetts. They were all from Arkansas, you see.
  • Appeared towards the end of Beavis And Butthead Do America, personally congratulating the duo from (unwittingly) saving Washington from a bioterrorist attack and naming them honorary FDA agents.
  • The plot of 2001: A Space Travesty revolves around rescuing Bill Clinton and his saxophone from alien kidnappers.
  • In the film The Special Relationship (broadcast on HBO in 2010), he's played by Dennis Quaid. The film is about the relationship between him and Tony Blair.
  • Was the President in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
  • He was digitally edited into the White House scenes in Contact. There was controversy over this at the time, as the White House had not authorized the filmmakers to use the footage of the president.
  • Chancellor Valorum from The Phantom Menace was inspired by George Lucas' view of him at the time: a well-meaning leader unable to assert any control over his legislative branch.
  • Stock footage of Clinton is used in the opening sequence of The Siege

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Saturday Night Live originally cast Phil Hartman as a folksy, oblivious President Clinton who was eternally cheating on his diet, particularly in a sketch featuring Clinton stopping at a McDonald's and eating everybody's food. Darrell Hammond took over following Hartman's departure from the show; the skits became widely popular, catapulting Hammond from B-List status and rivaling even Dana Carvey's memorable turn as George H.W. Bush. Clinton 2.0 was more of a Memetic Badass and Pornomancer. Witness his response to being acquitted:
    "I. Am. Bullet-proof. Next time, ya'll better bring some Kryptonite."
  • Conan O'Brien had "Clinton" on as a regular guest, voiced by Robert Smigel (the madman behind SNL's TV Funhouse). This particular Clinton's hormones were jacked Up to Eleven, as were his redneck mannerisms. (See also his Tv Funhouse entry below)
  • Clinton's most famous television appearance was on The Arsenio Hall Show, where he performed with his much-parodied saxophone.
  • He appears as a guest saxophonist in the New Labour Rock Band on Bang Bang It's Reeves And Mortimer.
  • A Rory Bremner special from 2000 had Clinton planning to go into space and seek out alien life forms after his term was up, and took Tony Blair with him. Like a lot of British satire from this period, it emphasized the idea that Clinton and Blair were best friends forever — which of course is Hilarious in Hindsight given Blair's later relationship with George W. Bush.
  • One episode of Quantum Leap featured a moment when Sam was about to go on stage at an "amateur hour" talent show — and the act he was following was sax player "Little Billy C from Hope, Arkansas" complete with dark suit and shades.
  • Another Ersatz version in Sunset Beach, Aaron Spelling's stab at the daytime block. Sara Cummings is introduced as an ex-paramour of "Bob Blythe", womanizing Congressman. She turns up wearing the trademark Lewinski beret/dress combonote  and trying to hide from the paparazzi, led by the wiretapper Miranda Fall (Tripp) and Prosecutor Kendell Moon (Starr). These are thinner, attractive versions of the originals, mind.

    Radio 

     Video Games 
  • BEST. PRESIDENT. EVER.
    • He appears at the end of Cruis'n World too.
  • He's a secret character in NBA Jam. Really.
    • Parodied in an April Fools edition of GamePro ("LamePro"), which touted Hillary and Rush Limbaugh as additional hidden characters.
  • His cat, Socks, almost had his own game for the Super Nintendo, but was canceled last minute when the developer went bankrupt.
  • The unnamed president in Jungle Strike clearly resembles him.
  • The president and his family in Silent Scope closely resemble Hillary, Chelsea, and himself. Not to mention that the penultimate boss who's holding the president captive is named Monica.
  • He (known only as Mr. President) is a selectable character in Ready 2 Rumble Boxing Round 2.
  • Obliquely referenced in the original Grand Theft Auto title. In an optional mission, the First Lady is said to be touring the Vice City hospital which Deever, the cartoonishly evil ex-cop, instructs you to blow up. His motive? Well, she didn't answer his fan mail. In another mission, the Rastafarians dispatch you to attack a "Babylonian" army that turns out to be the presidential motorcade (good luck surviving this mission; it is impossible).

    Webcomics 
  • In keeping with its animal metaphors, he's said in Kevin & Kell to be a rabbit. Ken Starr? A wolf. The title couple have a chuckle over the idea.
  • The Lewinsky scandal makes a few appearances in Ozy and Millie; Millie tries using the Starr report as an excuse for colourful metaphors in a report, and she ends up getting a lecture from her mother about media glut when she uses 'Lewinsky' to inspire a spit-take. (Ozy tries this on his father, but has to rely on "Teapot Dome".)
  • Was mentioned in Ansem Retort, after Zexion revealed part of the reason he slept with the Jail Bait Namine was to get into Clinton's Sex Scandal Poker Game. Namine is surprised that Bill Clinton runs such a game. Then Zex reveals he's not talking about Bill Clinton...

    Web Original 
  • In Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, an Alternate History scenario about a different 1972 election, both Bill and Hillary appear as Young Future Famous People, being legal interns during the impeachment of President Spiro Agnew. Later, Bill Clinton serves as a military attorney in Syria with the rank of captain, and is involved in a battle with insurgents, along with Lt. David Petraeus and Private Bruce Willis. His experiences there encourage him to successfully run for Congress...as a Republican. He becomes a leading figure of anti-Rumsfeld Republicans, and leaves Congress and goes underground after he fails to prevent a fundamentalist from being nominated to the Vice Presidency.
  • In the early days of The Salvation War, The Legions of Hell tried to seduce Bill with an illusion-generating succubus. He promptly saw right through her and killed the monster with a shotgun, claiming that he could identify soul-sucking demons due to being with Hillary for so long.
  • In Rejection And Revenge: The premise of this AlternateHistory.com story is Osama Bin Laden detonating three nukes in Lower Manhattan, Las Vegas, and Century City, on February 11, 1993. Entering his first term desiring the fix the economy, he finds himself drawn into a war kicking and screaming, seeking the advice of Richard Nixon and George HW Bush and after an Al-Qaeda operative who was caught trying to blow up Tel Aviv fingers Hezbollah, he drops nukes on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. It only gets worse from there.
  • The Onion ran an issue in the aftermath of the 2000 elections and recount depicting civil war in Florida and beyond, with Clinton declaring himself President For Life.

    Western Animation 
  • Hhe managed to make at least one appearance in all of the Looney Tunes Expanded Universe shows in the 1990s, including Tiny Toon Adventures (in the Spring Break special), Animaniacs (the original version of the theme included a throwaway line about Bill playing the sax, complete with animation of him doing it), Pinky and the Brain (claiming to be the world's leader when some visiting aliens request to see said person), Freakazoid!! ("Can you tell me who's flying the plane?"), Road Rovers (where he was Hunter's owner), and Histeria! (where he starred in a parody of the Beverly Hillbillies theme and got tricked into admitting he's a liar).
  • He also made a second appearance in Animaniacs (with did all the presidents up to him), and two more in Pinky and the Brain one in the 1996 campaign, he loses to Pinky); the other as a Head In A Jar still serving as President, 22nd Amendment be damned. (Hillary's there, too, and still doing some of his job functions.) He also appeared in "The Pinky Protocol", where Brain tricked Gerald Ford into signing a document (the eponymous protocol) which Brain passed as something signed and filed back when Ford was the President. According to that document, if any President is caught on underwear in public, said President would be impeached and Brain, as "Harold Foster Brain", would become the new ruler of the United States. Bill's shorts from his daily exercises counted.
  • The appearance in Freakazoid! where he asks who's flying the plane is actually his second appearance; his first was at Freakazoid's side when aliens landed on Earth. (The first one was really dumb, the second one only cared about Barbie.)
  • Clinton appeared on TV Funhouse's The X-Presidents as a wannabe recruit. The other Presidents regard him a something of a freak; his 'crime-fighting' gadgets suspiciously resemble sex toys.
  • Family Guy portrays him as a Lovable Sex Maniac who frequently gets naked. And he slept with Lois and Peter.
  • He was portrayed on The Simpsons more than once.
    • In "Weekend at Burnsie's", he was the speaker at an event before Mr. Burns.
    Homer: Bill Clinton, everybody! He's Jimmy Carter with a Fox attitude!
    • In "Homer to the Max", Clinton dances with Marge at a garden party.
    Clinton: [to Marge] Well, I gotta go, but... look, if you're ever near the White House, there's a tool shed out back. I'm in there most of the day.
    • In "Saddlesore Galactica", Lisa gets outraged at how the winning school band of Ogdenville Elementary used glow sticks in their performance, even though the use of visual aids was forbidden. She writes a letter to Clinton, hoping that as a fellow saxophonist, he'd sympathize with her, and in the end, Clinton has the result overturned.
    Lisa: (receiving trophy) Wow, thank you, Mr. President.
    Clinton: No, thank you, Lisa, for teaching kids everywhere a valuable lesson: If things don't go your way, just keep complaining until your dreams come true.
    • In "Bart Gets an Elephant", Clinton is marching in Springfield playing the sax, much to the frustration of Moe.
    Moe: Hey Clinton! Get back to work!
    Clinton: Make me.
    (continues playing)
    • In "Large Marge", he was seen with Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush building domiciles for the destitutes. Their interaction was like The Three Stooges featuring Clinton as Curly, Carter as Larry, and Bush as Moe.
    • Also, in "E Pluribus Wiggum", he was in Springfield posting signs for his wife's campaign. When she told him over the phone he needed to put 25 more signs, he asked what he did to deserve that. She told him he knew what he did and he complained she'd never let him live it down.
    • In "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday", he calls the winning team from the Super Bowl, but Homer answers it instead, though Clinton gets interrupted by Al Gore, who's taking measurements of the Oval Office.
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror" segment "Citizen Kang", Clinton and Bob Dole (his rival candidate from the 1996 election) get kidnapped and replaced by Kang and Kodos.
  • Cartman's mom slept with him on South Park to get herself the right to "abort" Eric, (she confused it with adoption).
  • Clinton also appeared in an episode of Beavis And Butthead while visiting Highland High answering questions and McVicker tries to keep the titular characters away by giving them an out of school pass and fifty dollars.
  • On The Critic Duke has his own theme park, dubbed "Phillipsland". At the Hall of Presidents, Clinton is replaced with one of the drunken animatronic bears from the Country Bear Jamboree. Nobody seems to notice.
    Forrest: You sure like shrimp, Mr. President.
  • Clinton's disembodied head is kept alive in a jar, along with the rest of the presidents in Futurama. He appears in the episode "A Head in the Polls", and hits on Leela.
  • Appears three times on Celebrity Deathmatch.
  • A skit on Robot Chicken had Clinton cut off George W. Bush for a McDonald's parking space, exclaiming that he was having a "Big Mac attack", to which Bush uses Jedi powers to toss Clinton and his car into a pool.
  • On Arthur, D.W. accidentally gets separated from the Reads' White House tour group on a family trip to Washington and runs into an unnamed Funny Animal President who bears a strong resemblance to Clinton in both appearance and voice (and habits—he gets a pizza to share with D.W. while waiting for her parents to pick her up).


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