Useful Notes: Ronald Reagan
Doc Brown: Then tell me, future boy, who's President of the United States in 1985?Ronald Wilson Reagan (February 6, 1911 — June 5, 2004) was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981 to 1989. He was the sixteenth from the Republican Party, serving between Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. Reagan is well-known for moving the country to the right politically, socially, and economically, accidentally causing the biggest World War III scare since 1962 (in the 1983 Able Archer Crisis), and his successful diplomatic initiative to negotiate a peaceful end to the Cold War by working together with Mikhail Gorbachev. Yes, he's the actor who became President. However, many of the jokes about that don't work very well, since, when his political career commenced in 1966, he was only the "former actor who's running for Governor of California". After he vacated that office, he became known as the "former two-term Republican Governor of California who's running for President." People today will more likely know Reagan as the conservative guy who was President in The '80s. You usually either love or hate him. If you see someone in a film or TV show talking about how great Reagan was, then it's a surefire indication that the character is a Republican or someone with conservative right-wing leanings. Conversely, if you see someone in a film or TV show disparaging Reagan, expect the character to hold mainly left-of-center beliefs. (There do exist Democrats who think fondly of him, known as "Blue Dogs" or "Reagan Democrats", and there are also self-described conservatives who dislike him, mostly for his support for policies that they do not think are truly conservative, such as tripling the National Debt, giving amnesty to over 3 million undocumented immigrants, overseeing the largest peacetime tax increase in American historynote , selling military weapons to Irannote ). British media substitute Margaret Thatcher for Reagan to precisely the same effect. Reagan's other use in popular culture is to evoke the 1980's, so expect him to be referenced in anything set in a Popular History version of that decade. Fun fact: Reagan used to be a member of the Democratic Party. He also was very, very addicted to jelly beans. He started eating them when he quit smoking, and he seriously had jelly bean cup-holders placed on government planes. When he won in 1980, he wanted a jelly bean flag of red, white, and blue to be created to the occasion. There were no blue-colored jelly beans at the time, so the Jelly Belly company created the blueberry flavor specifically for the ceremony. It ended up becoming one of their most popular flavors. Surely this was one of his finest accomplishments. Please be cool and use the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment
Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
Doc: Ronald Reagan? The actor?! Then who's Vice-President, Jerry Lewis?
Marty McFly: Ronald Reagan.
Doc: Ronald Reagan? The actor?! Then who's Vice-President, Jerry Lewis?
Reagan's Movie Career:There is a story that Ronald Reagan was playing Trivial Pursuit with his staff aboard Air Force One, and received the question "Who said 'I am the Errol Flynn of B-movies?'". Reagan correctly answered "I did." In any case, the Errol Flynn quote is accurate, and reflected Reagan's dissatisfaction over his movie career, which rarely provided the good parts that Reagan wanted, as he typically ended up playing the archetypical "the hero's best friend/sidekick" character. Ronald Reagan made his film debut in a picture called Love Is on the Air in 1937. His first big break was a supporting part in the Bette Davis prestige drama Dark Victory (1939), but that part unfortunately failed to lift him out of the B-movie ghetto. In 1940, he played real-life American Football Player George "The Gipper" Gipp in the movie Knute Rockne, All American (about a Notre Dame football coach), which featured the line, "Win One For The Gipper." "The Gipper" became one of Reagan's nicknames. He was ineligible for combat duty in World War II due to extreme nearsightedness, so Reagan spent much of the war making Army training films. Another film Reagan famously played in was the comedy movie Bedtime for Bonzo, in which he costarred with a chimpanzee in a standard Ain't No Rule story. Reagan always displayed a sense of humor about this movie; he's famously said to have once signed a promo photo of himself and Bonzo with the inscription "I'm the one with the wristwatch.") During his Presidency, when Clint Eastwood was running for Mayor of Carmel, California, Reagan jokingly telephoned Eastwood and quipped "What's an actor who once appeared with a monkey in a movie doing in politics?", referring to Eastwood's role in Every Which Way But Loose and having some Self-Deprecating Humor at the same time. He viewed That Hagen Girl, a 1947 melodrama co-starring Shirley Temple, as his real Old Shame. It's even rumored that Reagan tried to suppress or destroy copies of that film. There's also a common story that he was originally slated to star in Casablanca, which derives from a claim made by the Warner Bros. publicity office while promoting his film Kings Row. Like many similar claims made by the Warner Bros. publicity office during the period, it has no basis in fact. His most famous role was probably in the 1942 film Kings Row, which contains the famous line: "Where's the rest of me?" (his character had lost both of his legs.) Where's The Rest Of Me? was the title of his 1965 autobiography. He had a memorable Playing Against Type role as a brutal crime kingpin in his last film, The Killers (1964).
Reagan provided examples of:
- Attack of the Political Ad: Reagan's 1984 "Morning In America" campaign ad is widely considered to be one of the greatest political ads of all time.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Occasionally suffered from this but also utilized it extensively to catch his enemies off guard.
- Cool Old Guy: Ran on this trope. Affable, highly witty and he used this image to catch his enemies off guard.
- Controversy-Proof Image: He earned the nickname "Teflon Ron" because of how the numerous political scandals that surfaced during his presidency never affected his popularity. The most infamous being the Iran-Contra affair, involving the executive branch allegedly funneling money and weapons to not one but two groups which were enemies of the United States (specifically, Iran and the Contras, an anti-Communist militia movement in Central America). Any other president would have undoubtedly been impeached and thrown out of office over such a scandal, especially if they were already unpopular to begin with. However, despite the affair being one of the biggest political scandals in recent history, and possibly in the entire history of the United States, all Reagan had to do was make a television address apologizing to the nation and he was off scot-free. He would leave office with an approval rating above 50%, his vice president George H.W. Bush would be decisively elected to succeed him, and today he is a Republican icon who is considered to be one of the greatest presidents in history. Having Oliver North take the fall for the whole ordeal certainly helped; of course, Col. North himself eventually had all charges against him dismissed.
- Crouching Moron Hidden Bad Ass: Embodied this trope. Despite gaining political experience as Governor of California, the media, the Democratic Party and the Soviet Union all mocked the former actor as a irrational cowboy who would cause nuclear war. As time went on though, with him seeing off Walter Mondale, surviving several scandals with no serious damage to his approval rating and his policies targeting the Soviet Union's economy apparently destroying it and International Communism as a serious geopolitical force, the "Crouching Moron" part fell away forcing his enemies to acknowledge the badass.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter in the 1980 debates. The 1980 election was a much closer contest than the final tally suggests; voters had a lot of reservations about Reagan's ability to lead the country, enough that Jimmy Carter initially had a chance of being reelected despite his dropping approval rating. It was Reagan's absolute shredding of Carter in the general election debates that convinced voters he was a viable alternative to what was increasingly seen as a impotent and disorganized Carter administration. The rest is history.
- Deadpan Snarker: AND HOW! The man knew how to rip into his enemies with a well placed joke or several.
- Eagle Land: America, the Beautiful variety. During his first term, he seemed to have gone out of his way to reconstruct this trope after it had taken a battering during the Vietnam War and birthed Type 2. This is the primary reason why Reagan is remembered so fondly by his admirers.
- Happily Married: To Nancy Reagan. They were together for fifty-two years.
Reagan:"I worry when she’s out of sight 6 minutes. How am I going to hold out for 6 days. The lights just don’t seem as warm & bright without her."Reagan (during his victory speech in 1980): "And speaking of Nancy, she's going to have a new title in a couple of months. And it isn't really new because she's been the first lady in my life for a long time."
- Headbutting Heroes: There was lasting bad blood between Reagan and Gerald Ford over Reagan's 1976 primary campaign. Ford took Reagan's challenge as an insult and feared it would undermine him enough to give the general election to the Democrats; He was right.
- Hidden Depths: Was an expert on classical political theory, including various works of Roman philosophers such as Cicero on his bookshelf.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Out of all the post-World War II presidents, Reagan is easily the most iconic. And in the quarter century since he left office, he has become a symbol of the Republican Party whose likeness is routinely invoked by Republican candidates and used as a point of comparison. This has lead to jokes about the Republican Party wanting to dig up Reagan's corpse to run in the next presidential election.
- Hyper Competent Sidekick: George H.W. Bush
- It Will Never Catch On: In the early stages of his political career Reagan was seen as little more than a big-talking ideologue and the idea of him becoming President brought about as many guffaws as the idea of Donald Trump becoming President does today. Nonetheless, Reagan proved his ability to govern during his two-term stint as the governor of California and after he managed to mount a serious challenge to Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican primaries, people began to take him a lot more seriously. Even then, voters had a lot of reservations about him going into the 1980 election, enough that Jimmy Carter had a legitimate chance of getting reelected as the general election campaign began. It was the national humiliation brought about by Carter's inability to end the Iranian Hostage Crisis (more specifically, the failure of Operation Eagle Claw) and Reagan's absolute mauling of Carter in the general election debates that brought voters over to his side.
- Knight Templar: His critics interpreted his foreign policy stance against international communism as as sign that he was this.
- Landslide Election: Both of his Presidential election victories were this trope; particularly his 1984 re-election that saw him win 49 states (and come within a few thousand in Minnesota of pulling off a 50-state sweep).
- Platonic Life Partners: He and Margaret Thatcher were this in spades. They inspired each other ideologically and further strengthened Anglo-American relations.
- Odd Friendship: Even though they were pretty much polar opposites in every conceivable way, he got along pretty well with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
- Rousing Speech: He got dubbed "The Great Communicator" for his ability to deliver these.
- Magnificent Bastard: Bordered on this at times and combined it with Obfuscating Stupidity to devastating effect.
- A primary example was his pre-1985 campaign to destroy the USSR and end The Cold War through economic-warfare. During previous administrations the Soviets has learned of new industrial techniques and devices through industrial espionage and blatant theft. Through the French SDECE, Reagan acquired a list of items which Soviet intelligence wished to acquire from the West and then had the CIA sabotage several of them, possibly costing them many extra months of R&D in some cases.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Behind the genial, Cool Old Guy charm was one of the most cunning politicians America had produced. It caused Brezhnev, the Democratic Party and a hostile media to underestimate him until it was too late for all of them.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Jellybeans. The man stocked the oval office with them and had taken to them when his doctor told him to quit smoking when he was Governor of California. He's also responsible for the creation of the blue colored jellybean as mentioned above.
- Vetinari Job Security: A large contributing factor in Reagan's near-50 state sweep in 1984 was that Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro were laughably bad candidates who anyone that wasn't a hardcore liberal struggled to see as anything other than a Replacement Scrappy. While Reagan had decent approval ratings throughout 1984 and would have likely been reelected no matter who he faced, the margin of victory would have been a lot less lopsided had he faced someone who remotely resembled a president.
- Vindicated by History: Invoked by his admirers over the years, in regards to the "Tear down this wall!" speech. While it is often regarded as Reagan's most memorable speech, it was barely covered on television when it first aired. Now, it's seen as a hugely symbolic speech of the Cold War's endgame.
- What Could Have Been: What if he'd beaten Richard Nixon during the 1968 Republican presidential primaries, or Gerald Ford in the 1976 primaries? Cold War Détente under Brezhnev, Ford, and Nixon may never have happened - or may have happened earlier. Additionally, Gerald Ford was Reagan's first choice for Vice President, but was passed over for George Bush because he would only assume the nomination under demands that Reagan found unreasonable; Historians have argued that Ford did this on purpose because he didn't like Reagan and didn't want to work under him.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Reagan's approval rating dropped 20% almost instantly after the revelation of the Iran-Contra affair.
Reagan in fiction:Anime and Manga
- In the Full Metal Panic! series, Ronald Reagan demanded a giant robot force to go with the Star Wars project, hence the presence of Arm Slaves.
- In Japan Inc, a manga about economics written in The '80s by Shotaro Ishinomori, hence more realistic than other examples.
- Reagan appears in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as a disturbingly shrunken and senile wretch who's stayed in office 20 years longer than is legal.
- In The DCU, wannabe superhero Michael Jon "Booster" Carter, calling himself Goldstar, traveled back in time to 1986 and managed to save Reagan from an assassination attempt. When Ronnie asked him his name, he responded "Boost... er, Gold...," and was forever more known as Booster Gold. Also, in the Crisis Crossover Legends, Reagan apparently faces down a group of armed gunmen breaking into the Oval Office. "You have five seconds to surrender yourselves!" (Gunfire to Reagan's chest ... with no effect beside Clothing Damage.) "Now you have two seconds!" It's revealed to be a disguised Martian Manhunter acting as a decoy.
- Issue #344 of Captain America had The Viper using a serum she got from Slithers (a minor X-Man villain) turning Ronald and Nancy into Brainwashed and Crazy serpent-men with the rest of Washington, DC in an earlier stage of the transformation. The Captain (as he was known at the time because of a dispute with the government) didn't manage to stop the plot before throwing down with the suddenly scaly Commander-In-Chief who was clad only in his underwear. Reagan even used old glory as a weapon during the fight. While Cap was preoccupied with the president, Viper was able to make a Villain Exit Stage Left but she was not able to get very far before she was stopped and defeated by Cobra (who is usually an enemy of The Mighty Thor). He said it was payback for Cap helping Sidewinder retake control of the Serpent Society and had nothing to do with his political affiliation.
- In the 1980's Action Comics ran a Deadman storyline in which at one point Deadman and the Devil drop in at a Washington soiree, possess Reagan and Gorbachev, respectively, then switch to Mrs. Gorbachev and Mrs. Reagan, respectively. And then◊ they fight◊.
- Mortadelo y Filemón: Reagan shows up in several albums written in The '80s ("El Cacao Espacial", "La Perra de las Galaxias" and "Los Ángeles 84").
- In Watchmen (an Alternate History where Richard Nixon is still president), editors at a right-wing newspaper mock the idea of a "cowboy actor" like Robert Redford running for president; the film dispenses with subtlety and has them mocking the idea of Reagan himself running, despite the fact that he would be eight years older on taking office and probably beginning to show signs of Alzheimer's, not to mention losing some of the original irony. The film dialogue rewords it as just "a cowboy running for President", turning it into a dig at someone a little more recent.
- The very first issue of Jon Sable, Freelance featured a clever, forceful Reagan blackmailing Sable into helping with presidential security against an assassin who happened to be an old enemy of Sable's.
Reagan: Do you know me?
Sable: I know who you look like. Got any ID?
Reagan: (holding up American Express card) Will this do?
- A Strontium Dog story in 1987 involved Johnny and Durham Red rescuing Reagan from alien freedom fighters from the future who were threatening to kill him in order to create a Time Storm if all humans did not leave their planet. It's clear that Alan Grant was not fond of Reagan.
Alien 1: So this is he—the Reagan? A puny specimen, even for a human. Just like the defilers to worship such a one! Do you suppose ugliness is a virtue to them?Alien 2: Or stupidity? Have you ever seen eyes so vacant?
- In V for Vendetta, neo-fascist dictator Adam Susan is intended as a reference to Ronald Reagan (and to Margaret Thatcher as well)
- Give Me Liberty has President Rexall, a Reagan Expy who ends up as a Brain in a Jar and goes on to serve three terms.
- Ed The Happy Clown featured the Ronald Reagan of an alternate universe getting his head stuck to the titular character's penis. Surprisingly, Chester Brown stated that this wasn't intended to be a Take That, as being both apolitical and Canadian, he had little idea of the specifics of Reagan's politics besides knowing that he was vaguely right wing and that the American right wing was opposed to pornography and obscenity, both of which Brown had been accused of creating. Instead, he mostly picked Reagan so people would recognize the name (the drawn Reagan doesn't look much like the real man either): Brown had originally been planning it being a left-wing Canadian politician he disliked, but eventually decided that the guy was too obscure even for Canadians to appreciate.
- The page's quote is from Back to the Future, with Doc Brown laughing when Marty mentioned it to him in 1955. When Reagan watched the film himself, he got so amused that he told the projectionist to stop the film and replay the scene. In addition, in his 1986 state of the union address, he would use the closing line "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads.", which writer Bob Gale believes cemented BTTF's place in pop culture. In the second film, the Cafe '80s nostalgia restaurant is shown, a bit of a Theme Park Version of the decade. Reagan was shown on a Max Headroom-like display offering Marty a drink, vying with an animated Ayatollah Khomeni for his attention. This may be a Shout-Out to Doonesbury's "Ron Headrest", a similar Headroom parody. The filmmakers wanted Reagan to play the mayor of 1885 Hill Valley in the third film. Reagan wanted to play the mayor, but it was his aides who turned down the offer. The second film features a newspaper from 1985-A with a line stating that Richard Nixon is seeking a fifth term. When the timeline is restored, it instead says that Reagan is seeking a second term. One alternative script had Biff giving the almanac to his 1967 self instead of the 1955 one. One of the few things Doc teaches Marty about 1967 is the fact that Reagan was the Governor of California back then.
- Reagan is mentioned several times in Born in East L.A.. When the immigration officer asks Rudy who's the president, he answers John Wayne by mistake, which is "proof" enough that he's an illegal despite his protests and his ability to clearly speak English.
Rudy: I'M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, YOU IDIOTS! THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS RONALD "DICKHEAD" REAGAN!
- An indirect shout out in the 1967 (early in Reagan's political career) spy comedy In Like Flint has the president replaced by a double. Flint, hearing the whole evil plan, incredulously mutters "An actor as President?"
- Reagan gets a Shout-Out / Take That in The Matrix when the traitor, whose name is Reagan, says he wants to be "reborn" in the Matrix as an actor and completely forget his past.
- Rumor has it that George Lucas named "Nute Gunray" of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace after Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan, which would make it a Take That. Alternatively, "Nute" may have come from Knute Rockne: All American, the film which gave Reagan his nickname "The Gipper." Supposedly, Lucas was upset about the SDI's nickname, even though it was Reagan's critics who dubbed it "Star Wars," not the President.
- The killer in The Tripper is a psychotic, hippie-hating Reagan-fanatic who dresses and acts like him.
- Is played by Alan Rickman in Lee Daniels' The Butler.
- In Trading Places, Randolph Duke has a portrait of then-president Reagan on his desk, while his brother Mortimer has a portrait of Richard Nixon on his desk.
- He has a prominent role in two of Michael Moore's movies.
- In Roger And Me he is seen inviting some autoworkers out for a pizza, and encouraging them to look for work elsewhere. The cash register at that restaurant was later stolen during the event.
- In Capitalism: A Love Story, Reagan is accused of creating an economic system that favored the rich, causing economic inequality and industrial decline.
- Reagan is frequently disparaged by the narrator of John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany.
- The Salmon of Doubt In Douglas Adams' posthumous collection, a short story starring Zaphod ends with the revelation that Ronald Reagan is an escaped alien-engineered weapon of mass political destruction, and that the aliens responsible will have to make the Earth 'safe, perfectly safe'.
- So Long And Thanks For All The Fish featured "Know-Nothing Bozo the Non-Wonder Dog", so named "due to a remarkable similarity to the American President". The dog's owner and his friends would play a game with the dog where they would shout "Commies!" repeatedly and watch as the dog went berserk.
- In Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, one of the characters, Susannah is transported from the America of 1964 into a fantasy world. When she meets Eddie, who came from 1987, she doesn't believe that Reagan is the president by then, and thinks he's just kidding.
- In Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats, an alternate Ronald Reagan exists in two of the universes. In one, he's a former actor viewed as a subversive by the government. In the other, he's the First Gentleman — Nancy Reagan is president.
- Inasmuch as The Kite Runner is based around the events in Afghanistan from the 1970s up to the present day, Ronald Reagan's election is mentioned. Amir's father Baba is a huge supporter, going out and buying a poster of Reagan the day after the "Evil Empire" speech.
- He appears in A World of Laughter, a World of Tears as the Excited Kids' Show Host for The Mickey Mouse Club.
- The Cthulhu Mythos story, A Colder War, by Charles Stross has Reagan accidentally causing The End of the World as We Know It, by jokingly saying "We'll starting bombing in fifteen minutes!" during a speech in Finland. This leads to the Soviet Union, as well as the warring states of Iraq and Iran, panicking and unleasing their horrifying Magitek weapons they got from studying Cthulhu and Soggoths, but still don't fully understand. The US quickly retaliate by lauching their own horrifying weapons they don't fully understand either, which they got from studing leftovers from the Elder Things, and soon humanity is utterly doomed.
- James Brolin played Reagan in the controversial 2003 miniseries The Reagans.
- Reagan was one of the four X -Presidents on Saturday Night Live's "TV Funhouse," and the comic books based on it, a group of superheroes who fought crime.
Reagan: Just say "no" to pissing me off!
- Due to constant cast turnovers brought about by behind-the-scenes problems, Reagan was largely unscathed by Saturday Night Live's political humor during his tenure. It was only until the very end of his tenure as President, that SNL found its definitive Reagan in the form of Phil Hartman. Sadly, by this point, they were only able to get one notable skit out of Hartman's Reagan, which famously portrayed Reagan as a shrewd, harsh tactician who simply put up a facade of being a doddering Cloudcuckoolander to get away with the Iran-Contra Scandal. This sketch is usually the only one that you'll see on "best of Presidential spoofs" clip shows. See it here.
- In the satirical puppet show Spitting Image he was often portrayed as in a relationship with Margaret Thatcher, and as a Cloudcuckoolander always accompanied by the chimpanzee Bonzo (see Never Live It Down). Along with Thatcher he was one of the Acceptable Targets that made the show enormously popular in the United Kingdom.
- John Casey from Chuck is a big Reagan fan. He keeps a framed picture of Reagan (which actually belongs to actor Adam Baldwin) in his apartment.
- Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock reveres Reagan as the patron saint of capitalism.
- Reagan does not appear in The Americans, but is frequently discussed by the titular Soviet sleeper agents, whose commanders believe he is a madman who will end up destroying the world (and discovering the plans for the Star Wars project don't allay these fears either). In the episode covering the time where he's shot, the Soviets misinterpret the events to cause them to think that a coup within the American government is imminent.
- Read any account of how Able Archer '83 almost went nuclear, and you'll see rampant paranoia amongst the top Soviet leadership concerning Reagan and his intentions as being horrifying Truth in Television.
- In the pilot episode, a Soviet defector is kidnapped on US soil by a pair of undercover KGB agents. In response, President Reagan issues a top secret Executive Order authorizing the FBI to be more aggressive in stopping KGB operations within the United States.
- One episode of Psych has Shawn need Lassiter to punch him. Lassiter refuses, until Shawn says that Reagan was an awful president, leading to Lassiter immediately punching Shawn out.
- The vast majority of songs about Ronald Reagan came from pretty much every punk band from the 1980's (not even an exaggeration, most bands had at least one song about him; although exceptions to the anti-Reagan songwriting trend exist, they're hard to come by). Notable examples include:
- "Reagan's In" by Wasted Youth
- "We've Got a Bigger Problem Now" and "Rambozo the Clown" by Dead Kennedys
- "Reaganomics" by D.R.I.
- "Fascist" by The Minutemen
- "Fucked Up Ronnie" by D.O.A.
- "I Shot the Devil" by Suicidal Tendencies
- "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" by The Ramones, a track criticizing Reagan for making an official visit to a German cemetery where a number of Nazi SS officers were buried. This track is especially notable because the band included lifelong Republican Johnny Ramone, who was absolutely infuriated with this song.
- "Battalions of Fear" by German metal band Blind Guardian is about his policies. As you can probably guess by the title, it's not positive.
- Michael Jackson appeared with Ron and Nancy in a Rose Garden photo op. Reagan honored Michael for allowing the "Just Say No" campaign to use the song "Beat It" in an ad. According to the Jackson biography, The Magic and the Madness The First Lady found Michael somewhat peculiar but attractive. To say that this was controversial would be... an overstatement.
- The music video for The Minutemen's "This Ain't No Picnic" included clips of Ronald Reagan from a war film. The clips were edited to make it look like Ronald Reagan was shooting at and bombing The Minutemen from a fighter plane.
- Rich Little did a fictious appeal to minority voters as Reagan rapping and Nancy on Bass. "Rappin' Ronnie"
- "Secret Service Freedom Fighting USA" by The World/Inferno Friendship Society is often introduced during live shows as being titled "I shot President Ronald Reagan, AND I'M GONNA DO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!" The song itself is supposedly based on an incident from the lead singer's teenage years, when (unaware that Reagan was making an appearance a few towns over) he shouted that during a prank call and was subsequently arrested.
- Genesis' video of 'Landof Confusion' uses Spitting Image and their puppets, including that of Reagan as a would-be superhero.
- Owl City uses part of Ronald Reagan's famous speech about the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle as an intro to the song "Galaxies", which is a tribute to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the tragedy.
- Frank Zappa was a very vocal critic of Reagan's politics. This began very early, with the concentration camp for hippies on We're Only in It for the Money (1968) being called "Camp Reagan", an allusion to Reagan then being governor of California. In the only music video Zappa ever made, You Are What You Is (1981), a lookalike of Reagan is depicted on the electric chair. Several anti-Reagan songs can be heard on Broadway The Hard Way (1987), namely "The Untouchables", "Dickie's Such An Asshole" (also targeting Nixon), "When The Lie's So Big", "Jesus Thinks You're A Jerk". On "Make A Jazz Noise Here" (1988) the track "Star Wars Won't Work" attacks Reagan's "Star Wars" defense project. The instrumental track "Reagan At Bitburg" on Civilization Phaze III (1993) references Reagan's infamous controversial visit to Bitburg, West Germany in 1985 where he laid a laurel wreath on the grave of some SS soldiers.
- Huey Freeman is convinced that Ronald Reagan is really The Antichrist. This is based on actual conspiracy theories by some black militants, citing, among their reasons, the fact that his first, middle, and last names All had six letters.
- In a 1981 series of Bloom County strips, Santa's elves go on strike; Reagan (who is never depicted but heard as a voice on a TV seen from the side) fires them all and replaces with scabs, breaking the union. Any resemblance to the 1981 air traffic controllers' strike is purely intentional.
- In the musical Assassins, John Hinckley Jr. shoots Reagan as an act of love for Jodie Foster. Reagan survives. Like the other assassination attempts, it's presented as a carnival game, with a buzzer sounding every time Hinckley fails to kill the president, and the Proprietor mocking him with Reagan's various quips.
Hinckley: He died so our love could live!
'Reagan': Sorry, Nancy, I forgot to duck.
'Reagan': I sure hope that's surgeon's a Republican.
'Reagan': Where'd that kid learn to shoot, the Russian army?
'Reagan': There you go again.
- The 1984 off-Broadway musical Rap Master Ronnie, co-written by Elizabeth Swados and Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau, satirizes key Reagan administration events and individuals. A movie version was released in 1988.
- Sometime in the eighties, Ronald Reagan was kidnapped by Ninjas. Fortunately, there were some dudes who were bad enough to rescue him, so they did, and then went out for a hamburger (specifically, you get to watch President Ronnie eat one in front of you. What the hell, Ronnie?).
- The heroes of the Engrish-laden classic Battle Rangers also set out to save president Ronnie from a boomerang-tossing despot.
- "Senile Reagan in a Bikini" was the original cohost of the game show segment in Bushgame, a politically-charged spinoff of the Emogame series. Out of... respect(?) after Reagan's death, the character became the more lucid "John Snow".
- Ronald Reagan appears in the cut scenes that precede some of the 1980s missions in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
- Edge The Devilhunter features Reagan resurrected as a demon called The Gipper. The Gipper resembles a set of male genitalia on legs, with Reagan's head appearing in place of the tip of the penis.
- Ansem Retort also used the REAGAN SMASH joke mentioned below...except this time Reagan turned into The Incredible Hulk and really did tear down the Berlin Wall. And as it turns out, the reason Ronald Reagan can turn into The Hulk is because Axel brought a gamma bomb from the future and set it off at the set of Kings Row.
REAGAN RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE!
- Ronald Reagan is a member of the cast of Shortpacked!, after the owner of the eponymous toy store heard one of his employees remark "Bring back anything from the '80s, and it's money in the bank" (just how he was "brought back" is never really addressed although Imported Alien Phlebotinum capable of resurrecting the dead does exist in the strip's universe). "Ronnie" is played as a kindly old man, slightly absentminded, with an occasional tendency to burst into a Patriotic Fervor and total inability to retain information about AIDS. He is also portrayed as remarkably accepting of homosexuality, despite his politics, a stance he explains by reminding people that he got his start in Hollywood and personally knew Rock Hudson.
- Subnormality not only claims that Ronald Reagan is evil, but that he is an excellent freestyle rapper. He's on a date with Margaret Thatcher, who is also evil.
- Homestar Runner: One of the options in the "Choose-Your-Own-Ingredient" Halloween toon, "Halloween Potion-Ma-Jig", demonstrates Homestar's Reagan impression:
Homestar: Well... well... Nancy and I... economics... well... rap music... jellybeans... well... we... probably had a... pet...
Bubs: That's the worst Ronald Reagan impression I've ever heard!
Homestar: (offended) Ronald Reagan?! I was doing my Keanu Reagan!
- In A World of Laughter, a World of Tears, a young Reagan hosts the Micky Mouse Club TV show (which turns into a mouthpiece for political propaganda).
- Reagan is the candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1976 in Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72; he narrowly loses the election to Democratic candidate George Wallace. Reagan then runs for the Republican nomination again in 1980 but loses the primary election to Donald Rumsfeld.
- The Onion did a report on the GOP raising Ronald Reagan from the grave so that Zombie Reagan can be the new face of the Republican party.
- Appeared briefly in a review by The Nostalgia Chick. With the Imperial March playing over his picture.
- He's mentioned in 1983: Doomsday as having survived Doomsday and managed to escape the crumbling US for Hawaii. But en route to Australia, his plane vanishes in the South Pacific, leaving George Bush Sr. as the head of the American exile community.
- The SCP Foundation:
- SCP-1981, an anomalous VHS tape of Reagan's 1983 "Evil Empire" speech. Something happened to the tape so that every time it's played back its contents are different, with the contents always consisting of Reagan giving nonsensical (and creepy) anecdotes and parables while he's being mutilated by an invisible force.
- SCP-095 is a pulp science fiction magazine titled The Atomic Adventures of Ronnie Ray-Gun, where the main character strongly resembles Reagan.
- If Reagan had ever found it necessary to ride into battle on the back of a dinosaur, firing a submachine gun, while the dinosaur clutched a flagpole in one hand—well, then he would've done so. And it would've looked something like this.
- In The Simpsons:
- In a brief cutaway gag in the episode Lisa the Beauty Queen Reagan is one of the heads seen stuck on a pole in the Chamber of Horrors section of the Springfield Wax Museum.
- Members of the Springfield Republican Party mention that they have a mission to rename everything after Reagan. (For example, all schools named in Millard Fillmore's honor will be transferred to Reagan's.)
- Homer's "Rappin' Ronnie Reagan" tape. This is actually a Shout-Out to Rich Little's "Rappin' Ronnie", a fictious appeal to minority voters with Ron rapping and Nancy on Bass. Watch it here
- When seeing Homer's Barbershop Quartet, The Be Sharps, sing at the Statue of Liberty's Centennial Anniversary, Reagan turns to wife Nancy and remarks, "Damn ceremonies. This is time I could be working, Mommy."
- Mr. Burns is partly based on Mr. Reagan.
- Similar to the above Simpson example, the penultimate episode of Mission Hill has Kevin mentioning that the location of the supermarket Super Pig in his home suburb has changed its name to Ronald Reagan Parkway rather than FDR Parkway.
- In The Boondocks, Reagan is depicted as being incredibly anti-Civil Rights by other characters to the point that the revolutionary extremist Huey states that "Ronald Reagan is the devil." Black-hating black man Ruckus however idolizes him for this ideal, who in his dreams stated that he spent his life attempting to make life miserable for black people.
- Family Guy:
- Reagan is depicted in episode "Peter's Got Woods", saying his "Tear down this wall" line and then beating on a brick wall with his bare fists while repeatedly yelling "REAGAN SMASH!". It turns out it was the wall of a McDonald's and the workers inside comment that it was nothing to be concerned about, and that he tends to wear himself out quickly. He is then seen curling up like a child, muttering "Reagan sleepy..."
- The episode "Family Gay" implied he and Gorbachev were gay lovers.
- In an Animaniacs episode, "De-Zanitized," Reagan appears in Scratchansniff's flashback, taking place when he was an actor, and tells the doctor about his dream where he becomes president. Scratchansniff deems him incurable. May be a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment. The episode came out in 1993, a year before he revealed his Alzheimer's.
- He is often referred to on King of the Hill, being one of Hank's two leading presidential heroes (the other being LBJ, who for obvious reasons serves as the only Democrat whom Hank holds in such high esteem).
Hank: Now go do a report on a real president.
Bobby: But which president should I … [Hank glares] … Ronald Reagan.
Jan: Chaperoning? Nice job, Ronald Reagan.
- "I miss voting for that man."
- "Hey, now, if Ron Reagan dyed his hair — and I'm not saying he did — it was only to show his strength to the Communists."
- "Some Day Governor Reagan Will Run For President"
- From "Get Your Freak Off":
McB: Hey, don't call me that!
Hank: Yeah, don't call him that!
- Reagan (and his cabinet) as badass commando superhero(es).
- One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures featured Buster and Babs going to Washington to request aid against a Moral Guardian lady that sucked up Acme Acres' residents' "tooniness". The bunnies go to the Lincoln Memorial for guidance, and seem to hear Abraham Lincoln's voice coming from the statue, urging them not to give up. They walk off, inspired, not knowing that it's just Ronnie in his pajamas, talking to his teddy bear.
- In the "Rap-unzel" episode of the ALFTales cartoon, Reagan (in Melmaccian form) is the doddering, clueless royal father of Prince Gordon, and is finally convinced by him to set up a Federal Communications Commission to foil the Evil Witch's broadcasting monopoly.
- American Dad!:
- Stan Smith worships Reagan more than he does Jesus (and he already does a lot of that). At one point, he asks Nancy Reagan what her husband would have done in a difficult situation. Nancy performs a mocking seance and sends him on his way.
- The first Christmas Episode, "The Best Christmas Story Never", has Stan going back in time to the 1970's to try and kill Jane Fonda for "ruining Christmas", but along the way he makes changes which snowball into Reagan losing the 1984 election to Walter Mondalenote , who handed control of the country over to the Soviet Union less than two months into his presidency. At the end of the episode, after going back in time and failing to set things exactly as they were before, Stan has to shoot Reagan himself.
- A recurring troublemaker on China Il. First stealing a CIA time machine to go back and crap in Steve's mouth for mocking him on an 80's kid talent show. Then assisting Frank and Baby Cakes in finding Thomas Jefferson's crystal palace, which makes him President For Life.