LOS GATOS, CA—Acknowledging that the former president’s enthusiasm for the project made it all the harder to come clean, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was reportedly unsure Friday how to tell Barack Obama his series idea was just Fawlty Towers. “Oh God, he clearly put so much work into the pitch, but I don’t know how to tell him that John Cleese and Connie Booth already did the exact same thing, like, 40 years ago,” said Sarandos, attempting to find a tactful way to inform the former chief executive that his idea for Chez Obama, which would star the 44th president as a temperamental hotel proprietor who gets into all manner of farcical situations as he tries to corral his eccentric guests and wacky employees, was basically identical to the beloved British sitcom. “I’m just sitting there nodding along as he goes on and on about how there would be so many opportunities for physical comedy in an episode where a bellhop’s pet rat escapes the same day as the health inspector arrives, and I freeze. What am I supposed to say? He’s honestly never heard of this show before? Then he gets all excited talking about how Michelle could even play the intelligent, put-upon chambermaid, and my heart just about broke.” After receiving the bad news, an undaunted Obama immediately launched into his backup pitch for a 12-part miniseries about the early Roman Empire as told from the perspective of the elderly emperor Claudius.

Advertisement