The race for the US Presidency is on, and both candidates are as unqualified as they are hypocritical, as selfish as they are arrogant. Running for the Democrats is Harry Pinko, a lazy stoner who's never held a real job in his life and whose only real political goal is to Troll rich people. His worthy opposition among the Republicans is Skip LaDouche, an alchoholic Corrupt Corporate Executive who enjoys shooting things. So pretty much like every election year, really.
However, unexpected complications arise as both men turn out to have had an affair with media personality Kimmy Faimwhorre, who threatens to go public with the details (and a sex tape) in order to fuel her own career. Suddenly, the liberal and the conservative have at least one thing in common - they absolutely need to silence everyone who knows about the potential scandal, including each other.
What follows is many failed assassination attempts and comedy that's of a shade of black rarely seen outside of theoretical physics experiments.
The Candidates (based on a true country) is a novel by Matthew S Hiley.
This novel contains examples of:
- Angrish: Hatchet descends into this when he finds out that Kimmy, despite just taking a bribe to keep her relationship to Skip under wraps, has already hinted pretty strongly about it on public television.Hatchet: I... I just... What the fff... You stupid wh.... We're so fff... I... I... I...Kimmy: Duke? Hello? What the hell is wrong with you, dude? So when do I get my $460?
- Black Comedy: So very, very black.
- Break the Cutie: Ling-Ling is a sweet, soft-spoken Wide-Eyed Idealist. So of course she's the one who gets bullied into having one of her arms amputated. And then loses the other arm in an accident. And then gets treated like crap by her boss and his toady, who do things like duct-tape her mouth shut because she can't defend herself anymore. And then dies. Really, is it any wonder that she gets progressively less sweet and soft-spoken as the story goes on?
- Comically Small Bribe: Subverted. Hatchet tries to buy Kimmy's silence with $200. She is very offended - and declares that she won't stay quiet for anything less than $500. note
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Luther feels, with some justification, that he damn well deserves some as a decorated war veteran and community leader. Sadly, he's surrounded by outrageous racists who assume that he's a shiftless, thieving thug.
- Evil vs. Evil: Both the candidates are selfish, amoral, incompetent and pretty much entirely lacking in any redeeming features.
- Foregone Conclusion: We know that Skip and Harry will end up wheelchair-bound and Driven to Suicide. The only question is how it happened.
- Funny Foreigner: Ling-Ling speaks in broken English and is notably naive.
- Fun with Acronyms:
- Gag Boobs: Kimmy's breasts are described as "humongous."
- Golden Mean Fallacy: Downplayed. Both extremes are shown to be equally bad and said to not represent the American people, but there's only the faintest hint of what a candidate who did would even look like. Since the specific political flaws Judge Judy accuses the candidates of are attacking gays (especially ones in the military) and pandering to large corporations for Skip, and attacking employers and pandering to lazy welfare queens for Harry, the "correct" policy might be assumed to be some form of pro-tolerance, small-government, patriotic libertarianism, but if so the novel doesn't spend much time dwelling on it.
- Hypocritical Humor: So much of it, starting with the Republicans throwing a Kill the Abortionists pro-life rally, and the Democrats responding with a counter-rally where they fire oil-drenched birds out of T-shirt launchers to protest Skip's environmental record. Oh, and when they find themselves short on ammo, they quickly raid a nearby zoo for endangered birds, drench them in oil and fire them out of the T-shirt launchers.
- Only Sane Man: Luther is this for the Republican campaign and very nearly for the entire novel, being a genuinely decent and reasonable man in a world that is neither of those things.
- The Napoleon: Hatchet is very short, and does not like to be reminded of it. He's resolved that once he's ridden Skip's coat tails to power, everyone who's made fun of him will pay.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Skip and Harry seem to be strongly based on George W. Bush and Al Gore, respectively.
- Number Two: Hatchet is this to Skip, and Moondog is this to Harry. Each might be considered a Hypercompetent Sidekick, but only in comparison to the extreme incompetence of their respective bosses.
- Really Gets Around: Kimmy, to a downright terrifying extent. The forensics team going over her apartment keeps running out of containers to store the sperm samples in.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: Judge Judy gets to deliver one to Skip and Harry in the end. It's noted that the worst part of their punishment is that for once in their lives, they actually have to listen instead of talk.
- Running Gag:
- Every time someone mentions the time Kimmy had sex with a whole baseball team, someone else will helpfully remind them that she also had sex with the mascot.
- People keep showing more concern for wounded or dead animals than for dito humans.
- Skip being sure that Luther has Sticky Fingers.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: It's hard to imagine how it could be any more cynical.
- Straw Character: Very nearly every single character is a caricature of some undesirable political or cultural trait.
- Take That!: To American politics, celebrity, people in general... Hardly anyone is spared. Except Ellen Degeneres, everyone respects her.
- Teeny Weenie: Moondog has one. Unusually, he's not the least bit self-conscious of it.
- Token Good Teammate: Luther for the Republicans, and Ling-Ling for the Democrats. They both get treated like crap by the rest of the team, of course.
- Twofer Token Minority: Luther (a half-black, half-Mexican war veteran with one leg) is specifically selected as Skip's running mate to be this for the Republican side. The Democrats one-ups them by selecting Ling-Ling: a half-Thai, half-Lebanese lesbian with no legs.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: Harry and Moondog fully believe in this trope and repeatedly comment proudly on the Democratic tradition of never taking any initiative but just attacking whatever the Republicans do. Subverted in that not only is this implied to be a really bad idea, but Harry and Moondog only think that they are in any way heroic.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Ling-Ling genuinely believes in the Democratic cause, enough to agree to sacrifice a limb for its success.
- World of Jerkass: Anyone who isn't a Jerkass is likely to be an idiot. Most people are both.
- 0% Approval Rating: Skip and Harry both end up with it.