Gaslit’s Wonderfully Warped Watergate
Julia Roberts, Sean Penn light up a comic take on the dark Nixon scandal
You can easily split up the potential viewers of Gaslit, a fabulous over-the-top rendering of Watergate and the Nixon years, into two major groups: those who remember living through the Nixon era, and those who don’t. For me, the most remarkable aspect of this eight-part limited series is that I do remember those days and found myself laughing out loud.
It was certainly not funny back then, almost a half century ago. (June 17 marks the 50th anniversary of the break-in that started the ball rolling.) I was reminded of Mel Brooks’s explanation of why he dared to make a comedy about Adolph Hitler. “If you can make fun of him,” Brooks once said, “if you can have people laugh at him, you win."
Gaslit, premiering Sunday on Starz, manages to do just that. Episode One (the only one of made available to reviewers) quickly deflates all the president’s men with their crazed dialogue, petty absurdities and felonious outrages that brought down a presidency in 1974,…