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Spoofs & Satire

America’s Next Top Model Democracy

The winning country receives billions in government contracts and becomes the show’s next host. Who will it be?

Dick Cheney [voiceover]: Last cycle, on America’s Next Top Model Democracy…

[archival footage: Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, and Fidel Castro stand clumped together, nervous and expectant, facing Dick Cheney and the four judges who flank him. They are hanging on Cheney’s every word.]

Cheney: And the winner. Of America’s. Next. Top. Model Democracy. Is …Iraq!

Hussein looks first shocked, then awed. He skips forward in excitement.

Saddam Hussein: Yes! Oh my Allah, I don’t believe it! You guys are so like totally awesome. This is going to work out great for everyone.

Hussein unshoulders his rifle and begins firing into the ceiling.

Fidel Castro: What a rip. This is nothing but a big anti-popularity contest. Look, I already promised the whole Bay of Pigs thing wouldn’t happen again.

Cheney [voiceover]: Since then, Iraq has been an enormous success story, the newly installed government serving as a shining beacon of hope and stability for the entire Middle East.

[montage: Iraqi voters wave their purple, ink-stained fingers in the air.]

Cheney [voiceover]: Now it’s Cycle Three, and once again we scoured the globe, in search of hosts for America’s Next Top Model Democracy.

[flashback: outside Cheney’s secret undisclosed studio]

Cheney [voiceover]: World leaders lined up around the corner, waiting for their chance to interview.

King Abdullah II [to camera]: Jordan is right next door to Iraq. So, if I won, the troops wouldn’t have to drive far.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson [to camera]: People think of Iceland as safe and harmless, but we’re totally a threat to the United States. We’ve got polar bears.

Ernie Fletcher [to camera]: We’re not a sovereign nation, true. And we’re technically part of the U.S. But I hope they will at least consider invading Kentucky.

Cheney [voiceover]: Finally, after months of deliberation, we narrowed our choices down to three. They are here tonight, competing for America’s Next Top Model Democracy.

[opening credits—music: Toby Keith, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue”]

[commercial break]

[opening: the common area of the house]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad saunters into the room. He stops upon seeing a large envelope, set on a stand atop the piano. The large blob of red wax on it displays the seal of the vice-president. Ahmadinejad grabs the letter and hollers over his shoulder.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Chen-E-mail!

Hugo Chávez and Kim Jong-Il rush into the room, half dressed.

Hugo Chávez [reaching for the envelope]: I’ll read it.

Ahmadinejad jerks it away.

Ahmadinejad: Nuh-uh, boyfriend. You read the last two.

[cut to: the confession booth]

Ahmadinejad [to camera]: I’m so glad I got the Chen-E-Mail this time. Every time Hugo reads one it’s a major production, like “Richard Bruce Cheney, vice-president of the United States of America and enabler of the Great Devil, wishes to impart to us the following pack of outrageous lies blah blah blah.”

The last time it took him 40 minutes to read the message. It was like 15 words long!

[cut to: the confession booth]

Chávez [to camera]: Eloquence is of paramount importance to me. If you don’t like it, you can step off, beeotch.

[cut to: the common area]

Ahmadinejad [reading card]: Pardon me / I don’t mean to pry / But your next photo shoot / Will take place in the sky.

Kim Jong-Il: Damn it! I though the last line was going to be something about pie.

Chávez: What does it mean?

Ahmadinejad: I know: the moon. We’re going to do a photo shoot on the moon.

Chávez: Don’t be an idiot. The moon—pshht. You’ll believe anything.

Ahmadinejad: Not the Holocaust.

[cut to: the confession booth]

Chávez [to camera]: He’s so dumb. And a total phony. I mean, Mahmoud thinks he can coast to victory on his good looks and nice suits, but I can totally see through him. Last month, when we were in New York, he said he wanted to go to Ground Zero to give cupcakes to homeless kittens. Like, give me a break.

[cut to: the confession booth]

Jong-Il [to camera]: Mahmoud doesn’t have a chance. The first two winners were Afghanistan and Iraq—there’s no way America’s Next Top Model Democracy will pick the same ethnicity three cycles in a row.

[later: the common area]

Cheney [voiceover]: As their final evaluations near, tensions begin rising.

Chávez and Ahmadinejad sit on the couch together, facing the TV and flipping through the channels.

Chávez: The hell—? I though Ugly Betty was on.

Ahmadinejad: Wait, go back! That was Smallville!

Jong-Il walks in the room and sees the two conversing.

Jong-Il [accusatorily]: What’s going on? What are you guys talking about? It’s me, isn’t it?

Chávez rolls his eyes.

Chávez: You’re like paranoid.

Jong-Il: You were talking about me, I knew it!

Jong-Il retreats to his bedroom, slamming the door.

Ahmadinejad [yelling]: Maybe we wouldn’t talk about you if you didn’t isolate yourself in your room all the time! Y’ever think a that?!

[cut to: Jong-Il’s bedroom]

Jong-Il [talking on the telephone]: Roh Moo-hyun? It’s me, Kimmie. Hi. Yeah, hi.

So, hey. Things are going, you know. Pretty good. Pretty good, I guess. But I wanted to call and say, like, sorry? Because we was always fighting and stuff, before I came here? And, you know, we Koreas should stick together, is what I think. And I… I just… [breaks down in sobs] I miss you so much! Nobody understands me here!

[cut to: the confession booth]

Chávez [to camera]: Kim acts like he doesn’t want us talking about him. But I think he actually can’t stand it when people aren’t talking about him. [circling his temple with his finger a few times] Cray-zee!

[commercial break]

Ahmadinejad, Chávez, and Jong-Il stand huddle in the entrance to the evaluation room. Across from them, arrayed behind a long table, sit Cheney and the judges.

Cheney: Well hello, everyone. You know what time it is, and you know our prizes. The winner will receive billions of dollars worth of contracts with Halliburton and Blackwater; the cover, and a 16-page spread, in The National Review; and will become host to America’s… Next… Top… Model Democracy.

Let’s meet our judges.

Joseph Lieberman, Senator from Connecticut.

Joseph Lieberman [thrusting fist in the air]: Joe-mentum!

Cheney: All right, settle down Joe. Michael Ledeen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Ledeen briefly glances up from his book, Fascism And Why It’s Bad, to nod curtly at the contestants.

Cheney: Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard.

Bill Kristol [under his breath]: I don’t understand why we have to pick just one country to attack.

Cheney: And, at the end of the table, former cheerleader George W. Bush.

George W. Bush: I’m the decider!

Cheney: Of course you are. Now it’s time for your individual evaluations. Mahmoud, you’re first.

Ahmadinejad strides forward.

Cheney: Let’s take a look at your best shot.

A satellite photo of Iran appears on the large screen.

Kristol: Look at that. A uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.

Leiberman: And a heavy-water reactor at Arak.

Cheney: Looking good, Mahmoud.

Ahmadinejad: Ah, thanks. But, you know, those are for peaceful purposes only.

Cheney: Ah-ah! You’ve got what it takes to win America’s Next Top Model Democracy, Mahmoud. I mean, this is a great shot. But you need to think positively. Maybe these facilities are for “peaceful purposes only,” but don’t discount your potential. They could totally be used to make nuclear weapons some day. You just have to believe in yourself. And invest in plutonium extraction technology.

Ahmadinejad [tears glistening in his eyes]: I know. I’ll try.

Cheney: Next up—Hugo.

Chávez steps to the center of the floor. He gives an awkward wave to the judges.

Cheney: Here’s your best shot.

The screen shows satellite photography of Venezuela.

Leiberman: I look at this photo and do you know what I see? Nothing.

Micheal Ledeen: It’s a real disappointment. Do you even have tanks?

Chávez [indignant]: We have fiery rhetoric!

Bush: Yeah, that and a cup of coffee will get you a cup of coffee on the coffee store.

Cheney: We took a chance on you, Hugo. You were the underdog going into this competition. But, even so, we expected more.

The wind goes out of Chávez’s sails. He looks abruptly chastened.

Cheney: Well now, don’t lose hope. The lack of weapons of mass destruction doesn’t mean we won’t invade, you know.

Chávez nods, unconvinced.

Cheney: Kim, let’s look at your best shot.

As Chávez shuffles back into the pack, Jong-Il comes to the fore. A satellite photo of North Korea appears. All the judges perk up in interest, except for Bush, who is engrossed in Garfield Goes Bananas: His 44th Book.

Kristol: Are those nukes?

Ledeen: That’s what I’m talking about!

Cheney: Very impressive, Kim. You really put your all into this.

Jong-Il beams with pride.

Cheney: But!

Jong-Il’s smile falters.

Cheney: But a little bird told me that you just agreed to disable all your nuclear facilities by the end of the year.

Jong-Il becomes very still.

Cheney: Is this true?

Jong-Il: I… I told them guys to none of them tell you nothing about that! Everybody’s conspiring against me!

Cheney: So you deliberately tried to conceal this from us?

Jong-Il looks at the floor. He won’t meet Cheney’s eye.

Cheney: Kim, we are not going to war based on deceptions and half-truths.

The judges struggle to maintain composure, and then burst out laughing. After a moment, Cheney joins them.

Cheney: Hah hah. You should have seen your face! Priceless! All right, back in line you scamp!

Grinning, Jong-Il rejoins the other contestants. Cheney rises, walks around the judge’s table, and stands before the three, manila envelope in hand.

Cheney: It’s been a long journey, but we’re at the end of the road.

The judges have made their selection. There’s only one photo in this envelope. And the winner. Of America’s. Next. Top. Model Democracy. Is…

Cheney puts his hand into the envelope. After a moment of suspense, he produces a photo of Ahmadinejad.

Cheney: Mahmoud.

Ahmadinejad is thunderstruck. His knees nearly buckle. Jong-Il and Chávez embrace him with ill-concealed disappointment.

Cheney: It was a tough decision, and one we did not make lightly. But you’ve got that “something-something,” Mahmoud—that indescribable quality that we at America’s Next Top Model Democracy look for in a winner.

Ahmadinejad: Do you mean Je ne sais quoi?

Cheney: I dunno. Is that Arabic for “oil?”