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Web Video / The Chairman's Ear

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Left to right, the Chairman and Mariusz.

The Chairman's Ear (Polish: Ucho Prezesa) is a Polish political comedy web-series, created by Robert Górski. The show is a satire of the then-current Polish government, and the chairman of the ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The Chairman, played by Górski, is residing in "THAT office, on THAT street",note  from which he controls the government and assesses the situation of the country. Other recurring characters include Mariusz, the Chairman's Beleaguered Assistant, and the secretary, Basia. The three interact with a plethora of thinly-veiled caricatures of MPs, ministers and other important people of Polish politics and thereabouts.

Four seasons were produced. The first three seasons, sans special episodes produced for a video-streaming service Showmax, used to be available on the official YT channel with English subtitles, but they were removed in February 2019, and were aired in syndication after Showmax's closure.


Season 1 spoilers (including the bonus 15th and 16th episode) are unmarked.

Tropes present in the series:

  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • The president's name is not Adrian, or Aleksander, or Artur, or...
    • The US president does that twice in a row to the Chairman, first adressing him as Alexander, then, when corrected, as Jaroslaw Putinski.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: Mariusz got wounded during the masquerade in episode 15, because one of the bullets he was shot by was a live round.
  • Aesop Enforcer: Adam the PR guy arranged the events of episode 15 to teach the Chairman a lesson to not trust anyone.
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong: In the first episode of the second season the prosecutor assisting the Minister of Justice, commenting on the crowd protesting in front of the Party headquarters, muses (with a huge grin on his face) what ZOMO would have done to the protesters if the protests were happening in the communist Poland - then quickly adds how inhuman it was and how thankful he is that those days are long gone.
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  • Artistic License – Military: Mariusz wears the shoulder insignia denoting a brigadier general, solely because they kinda look like "M". He also wears them on his chest.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention "Donald" note  to the Chairman. Also, don't try to harm his cat.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Understanding German (or reading the subtitles) nets you a few bonus gags in the 8th episode.
  • Brawn Hilda: Krystyna, from episode 8. She manages to tackle the German Chancellor's bodyguard, after getting thrown into a reception desk by him. She's also loud, petty and rude.
  • Chaste Hero: The Chairman seems completely uninterested in women. When Mariusz tricks him into watching a porn movie, he reacts with rage.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the most literal sense - Mariusz put a gun in the desk of the Chairman in the first episode, and in the fifteenth one the Chairman shoots him with it, believing he's a secret agent.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Jurek in the second season, who is portrayed rather unflatteringly.note 
  • Covert Pervert: Mariusz has quite a lot of porn.
  • Divide and Conquer:
    • In the second episode the Chairman sics two of his underlings on each other - ostensibly to keep them from becoming complacent, but it's hinted that the real reason is Divide and Conquer (and the Chairman's amusement).
    • The thirteenth episode ends with the entire parliamentary opposition squabbling with each other, while the Chairman walks upstairs and heads to bed.
  • Drama Bomb Finale: Episode 15, the first part of a two-parter season 1 finale. Mariusz is believed to be a secret agent, and gets shot by the Chairman. The last shot of the episode is him dead on the floor with the words 'to be continued'. During the climax all the comedy goes out of the window, barring a single Crosses The Line Twice moment. Subverted in the next episode, when it turned out it was all a set-up by Adam the PR guy, and promptly disregarded in favour of a different plot.
  • Epic Fail: Mariusz sent out his underlings to bring the President of Poland (named Andrzej) to the office. Apparently they forgot his name (then again, very few people seemed to remember it in-universe) and ended up bringing Adrian, a relatively niche opposition politician with a massive grudge towards the Chairman.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Chairman's name (Jarosław, natch) was used only once in the first ten episodes. Everyone addresses him by his title.
  • Expy: A weird case: in episode 22 the Chairman is reading a book called "Antoni and His Mysteries", which is an expy of a real-life book about the real Antoni Macierewicz's alleged dealings with the Russians. The book in the show is written by Teofil Środa, an obvious allusion to Tomasz Piątek, the author of the real book.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • As of episode 13, the President of Poland still waits to be invited to the chairman's office. Any time he tries to get in behind someone, the door gets closed in his face. Not even slammed, gently closed. Season 2 sees him veto two judicial bills backed by the ruling party, but even then he has second thoughts and would rather back off when pressed.
    • The Prime Minister Beata isn't that much better. She's a meek woman Kicked Upstairs and pushed around by her higher-ups.
    • Mariusz also qualifies. The Chairman described him as "his most loyal eunuch" once. Played for drama when it's revealed his spineless might've made him easy enough to be recruited by the State Sec back in the eighties. It turned out to be a ruse, but still...
  • First-Name Basis: Even though it's pretty obvious who the characters are meant to represent, none of them are referred to by their last name. The only exception of Season 1 was Krzysztof Penderecki in episode 11, but even then his first and last names were used separately.
  • Foreshadowing: In the first episode, when asked if the handgun he gave the Chairman was loaded, Mariusz stares down the barrel to check. In the 15th episode, he gets shot by the very same gun.
  • Godwin's Law: Indirectly: In S3E1, one of the gov't party politicians during press conference compares Donald to a "szmalcownik", which is a derogative term for Poles blackmailing or selling out Jews during World War II.
  • Gun Nut: The environment minister (Jan) enters the office carrying a hunting rifle, which he uses on reflex to try and shoot the Chairman's cat. He also carries a S&W revolver.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Antoni's rather intense fondness for his assistant Misio does raise a few eyebrows in-universe.
  • Here We Go Again!: In the second episode of the second season the Chairman thinks that he scored a victory against Antoni by kicking Antoni's troublemaking assistant Misio out of the ruling party. While Antoni was heartbroken at first, by the time the Chairman meets him he has already rebounded by getting himself a replacement assistant.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Even the Chairman himself acknowledges that when it comes to the knowledge of technology he is stuck in The '70s. He thinks that a moving electric car would eventually pull its plug out the socket, and that if there were many such cars their power cords would get entangled. In the second season it is shown that he "browses" the internet by reading web pages which were printed for him.
  • Humble Hero: Parodied in the second season. Mariusz refuses to accept an order of merit for his hard work... which he awarded to himself beforehand. Yes, it's based on a real incident involving the real Mariusz Błaszczak.
  • Informed Flaw: There are a few jokes about the Chairman's height, referring to the real Chairman being 168 cm (5'6" tall), which don't work that well when you realize that the actor playing the Chairman is around 180 cm (5'11').
  • Insane Troll Logic: When accidentally found out by Mateusz in Beata's house, Rysiek argues that he wasn't 'found out' because it was accidental on Mateusz's part (as he wasn't looking for him, just happened to hide in the same place as him).
  • The Klutz: The episode where Witold, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is introduced starts with him tripping over a ladder and breaking a fish bowl and ends with him dropping a chandelier and causing a blackout in the Chairman's office.
  • Malaproper: Ryszard, one of the opposition politicians, has a bad tendency to mix up idioms and references.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Chairman himself manipulates his underlings, and, in some cases, the parliamentary opposition.
  • Metaphoric Metamorphosis: Almost every character appearing in episode 11 is shown like that at some point. In particular, father Tadeusz is shown as a voting urn, representing his influence over the potential voters, and the chairman is represented by an ATM, as Tadeusz wants to fund another moneymaking scheme.
  • Morality Chain: In the first episode of the second season the Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław tries to be this to the Chairman, but isn't very successful.
  • Multitasked Conversation: See Rant-Inducing Slight.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Killing a spider with a Smith and Wesson revolver meant to finish off moose definitely qualifies. The environment minister likes his guns.
  • Noodle Incident: Slightly less noodly when you know about the situation that inspired it, but still counts:
    President: She's giving me the cake. I get up, kindly, take it on a platter, and then the people start laughing! I turn around and see... a huge butt! Barely covered by a black curtain and it wiggles and wiggles... Suddenly there's a flash - somebody took a picture of me with that butt...
  • Not Helping Your Case: In the second episode of the second season Misio (Teddy in the English subs) pays the Chairman a visit to apologize for being a troublemaker, but ends up spending most of the time bragging how much Antoni likes him, and suggesting that the Chairman is afraid of Antoni. Played with, as it turns out that the Chairman's main beef with all of this is that Misio is apologizing at all; the Chairman lectures Misio to never apologize for anything.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, as the politicians are all named after their real life counterparts and First-Name Basis is in full effect:
    • Both the Chairman's rival and the POTUS are named Donald. It's because they're representing real-life politicians bearing that name, Donald Tusk and Donald Trump respectively.
    • In addition to the Chairman's assistant there is another Mariusz (the coordinator of the secret services), the two being named after Mariusz Błaszczak and Mariusz Kamiński.
    • Starting with the second season there is also another Jarosław (Gowin, the Deputy Prime Minister) in addition to the Chairman (Kaczyński) himself.
    • For a case where the characters aren't even named the same, there's "Adrian" (Andrzej, the President of Poland) and Adrian from the Together party.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Witold's attempt to compliment Mrs. Basia leads to him unwittingly implying that she looks old. His attempt to clarify what he meant only results in him digging himself deeper.
  • Puppet King: Both the Prime Minister and the President are essentially controlled by the Chairman.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: After having to deal with Antoni pushing her around in episode 9, Beata, the prime minister, receives a call from her husband, way out of his depth when it comes to housework, and snaps at him. Luckily for her, her rant gets misinterpreted by the MoD.
  • Right-Hand Cat: While it's never shown on-screen, the Chairman has a cat.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The loose plot of every episode references a relatively fresh event in Polish politics or media. Including the show itself's surprise popularity.
  • Ruler Protagonist: The Chairman himself; the government and the president (for the most part) are completely subservient to him. The entirety of the first season happens in his office, with various ministers and other subordinates reporting to him.
  • Sanity Ball: Usually held by either the Chairman or his assistant.
  • Shout-Out: The two goldfish living in a fish bowl on the secretary's desk are named Jacek and Placek.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Mariusz switches his suit for a camouflage uniform in Season 3, to reflect that he's now the Minister of Defense.
  • Spiritual Successor: The series can be seen as an informal sequel to a series of cabaret skits which satirized then-incumbent Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his cabinet; Robert Górski co-created the skits and played the role of Tusk himself. He eventually reprised the role in The Chairman's Ear.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Adrian from Together Party tears Chairman a new one, calling him out on embezzling funds for a propaganda campaign and declaring him no different than all the people he criticized over the years when his party was in the opposition.
  • The Starscream:
    • Invoked by the Chairman and Mariusz, who suspect that Antoni (the Minister of Defence and vice-chairman of the Party) is plotting to overthrow the Chairman. While Antoni has not revolted against the Chairman yet, he shows little respect for the Chairman (e.g. he turns up an hour late to their meeting because he didn't feel like leaving his house sooner), and is one of the few characters that the Chairman has a considerable trouble reining in. There's also the fact that Antoni had the Chairman's office bugged for whatever reason.
    • Invoked again in the first episode of the second season, where the Chairman and Mariusz suspect that the Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław is waiting for the opportunity to backstab the Chairman. Mariusz suggests that the Minister of Justice Zbyszek might also be The Starscream, but the Chairman dismisses the idea, noting that Zbyszek already tried to backstab him once and got burned. Later in the episode Zbyszek does get excited when he thinks that the Chairman is going insane, and lets it slip that he was hoping for that.
  • Status Quo Is God: Double subverted: the episode 15 ends on a cliffhanger, with Mariusz bleeding on the floor, shot by the Chairman for being a traitor, only for the next episode to get back to status quo with everything handwaved by "it was all the PR guy's job; he wanted to make the Chairman less trusting".
  • Tactful Translation:
    • Goes both ways in the episode with the German chancellor.
    • The subtitles do that to "the good Donald's" dialogue as well.
  • Take That!: It's political satire explicitly based on real life people, it's a given. To briefly sum it up: The Chairman is depicted as a Manipulative Bastard, his party colleagues are shown as universally spineless, with exception of the MoD, and the opposition is too busy fighting with other parties and themselves to stand up to the Chairman. Episode 16 takes a few potshots at Donald Trump.
  • There Was a Door: In episode 8:
    Agata: We keep the peace...
    *Krystyna and the chancellor's bodyguard break through the door, fighting*
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Mariusz's expression when seeing the environment minister looking at the Chairman's cat and grabbing his hunting rifle.
  • The Un-Smile: Grzegorz's default expression is a false plastered smile.
  • Vice President Who?: Beata ends up as a Deputy Prime Minister in Season 3, and nobody besides them seems to remember what is her alleged task supposed to be. (For the record, it's social policy)
  • Wham Episode: The first episode of the second season starts with the President vetoing two judicial bills backed by the ruling party, much to the Chairman's fury. He also doesn't show up in the party headquarters to wait in front of the Chairman's office as usual.
  • Who's on First?: One brief untranslatable exchange between the opposition party leaders from episode 22:
    Ryszard: Patryk.
    Grzegorz: Jaki? ("Which?", alluding to Patryk Jaki, a gov't party MP)
    Ryszard: Byle jaki, ale wierny. ("Mediocre, but faithful")
  • Written by the Winners: Discussed:
    President (to the secretary's little kid): You don't have to learn this - next year we'll have new history.

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