On Monday, beloved Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren posted a message to her Facebook page in solidarity with the Writers Guild of America, which is currently mulling a strike. Innocuous enough at first glance, a closer look at the post yields a stunning revelation: beloved Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is a fan of Ballers. In fact, she is such a fan of Ballers that she also mentions the show in the prologue of her new book, This Fight is Our Fight — twice.
This bombshell prompts a closer look at the favorite TV shows of various politicians. From former presidents and first ladies to current congressmen and senators, whose TV tastes are most unexpected? And whose are as predictable as a fourth-wall-breaking Frank Underwood aside? Below is our list, ranked from most to least surprising.
While she’s also copped to enjoying Big Little Lies (who hasn’t?!), I can’t say I expected this earnest, straight-laced, 67-year-old grandmother of three to list Ballers — which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a retired football star in Miami — as one of her faves. The woman truly contains multitudes.
In 2012, when he was just announced as presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan told Entertainment Weekly that he’s a big fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Even more unlikely — he admitted to watching, and somehow enjoying, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, even though he was a favorite target of the show.
It’s not too shocking that the 42nd president watches (or watched) Boston Legal and House of Cards. It is slightly more surprising to discover that Bill Clinton is a fan of Shonda Rhimes productions Grey’s Anatomy and, in particular, Scandal — a show about a president who has a flagrant affair with a staffer.
Like many politicians, Joe Biden cites Modern Family as among his favorite shows (I guess it’s a safe, middle-of-the-road bet?). But according to the Washington Post, Biden’s also got a soft spot for Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, which he used to watch on trips aboard Air Force Two. You do you, Biden!
It is somewhat surprising that Ted Cruz has decent taste in TV, citing Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Veep, and Criminal Minds among his most-watched. It is far less surprising that Cruz, a professed superfan of The Simpsons, agreed to record a video impersonating various Simpsons characters for BuzzFeed in June 2015, a few months after announcing his presidential run. Just…no.
The only show Bernie Sanders has gone on record as being a fan of is Modern Family — which is pretty on-brand for an old-school grandpa.
Madam Secretary, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey — nothing terribly shocking in Hillary’s list of faves. Although it is strange to imagine Hillary and Bill sitting down together to watch The Good Wife, a show about a lawyer whose politician husband is jailed after a highly public corruption-and-sex scandal.
M*A*S*H, The Wire, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, House of Cards, Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Homeland — of course Obama has just the coolest taste in TV. And while those series might be fairly predictable, in 2015, Obama proved his pop-culture bona fides yet again when he named Steven Soderbergh’s period medical drama The Knick as his favorite show of the year. God he’s cool.
The former first lady’s favorite series, Black-ish — a family sitcom about an African-American, upper-middle-class family balancing generational differences while preserving their cultural identity — is pretty on-brand.
George W. Bush
Dubya likes A&E’s flagship documentary series Biography. That sentence is the textual equivalent of Bush’s signature deer-in-the-headlights stare.
The perennially underappreciated Pelosi likes Person of Interest, CBS’s perennially underappreciated political sci-fi drama.
Of course the New York senator would name the iconic New York series Law & Order as his favorite show.
Ronald Reagan, a fan of Family Ties? Why, heavens to Betsy! (Apparently the actor-turned-president even offered to do a cameo, an offer the show’s producers ignored.)
Marco Rubio’s favorite show is The Walking Dead? That is a punchline in itself.
Are you sitting down? Good: As he told People about a month before the magazine ran a story in which one of its former reporters describes being sexually assaulted by our president, Donald Trump’s favorite TV show is basically himself. On top of My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss — a 2004 reality-show spoof of his own show, The Apprentice — Trump says his “guilty pleasure TV show” is “SNL, starring me. They got great ratings. The best ratings in years. It was a terrific success. I enjoyed doing it. It was 50 percent more than Hillary’s show. That makes me feel good.” Really, what else does?