As Election Day beckons Tuesday, we're looking back today at five of TV's most memorable (fictitious) political contests.
1. BATMAN VS. THE PENGUIN ("Batman," Nov. 11-12, 1966) -- When the fiendish fowl (to use Commissioner Gordon's description of Burgess Meredith's villain) decides to run for mayor of Gotham City, the incumbent Mayor Linseed realizes he has no chance to beat him. So Batman is drafted to run in his place. But thanks to the Penguin's chicanery, the Caped Crusader is painted as the bad guy, while Pengy is hailed as the city's savior.
2. PAT PAULSEN VS. RICHARD NIXON, HUBERT HUMPHREY AND GEORGE WALLACE (1968) -- The deadpan, double-talking editorialist/comedian, right, from the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" ran for the White House on the STAG (Straight Talkin' American Government) Party ticket in 1968. When asked by Tom and Dick Smothers to run, he reportedly responded, "Why not? I can't dance -- besides, the job has a good pension plan and I'll get a lot of money when I retire." (He also ran in 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992 and 1996, but since he wasn't regularly seen on TV anymore, few people paid attention.)
3. GREG VS. MARCIA BRADY ("The Brady Bunch," Dec. 12, 1969) -- On the "Vote for Brady" episode, the step-siblings ran against each other for student body president. The Brady household is divided, with the other kids supporting the candidates strictly along gender lines. (Spoiler alert, if you've forgotten: Greg wins because Marcia decides to drop out.)
4. MATT SANTOS VS. ARNOLD VINICK ("The West Wing." 2005-06) -- These two pols -- Democrat Rep. Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Republican Sen. Vinick (Alan Alda) were running to succeed President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) during the drama's final season. The live episode (Nov. 6, 2005), "The Debate," was one of the series' finest. The candidates' debate was -- eloquent, (mostly) civil and issue-oriented. In other words, nothing like the real thing.
5. LESLIE KNOPE VS. BOBBY NEWPORT ("Parks and Recreation," 2011-12) -- Most of last season's episodes concerned the attempt by Amy Poehler's earnest public servant to win a seat on the Pawnee city council. But first she had to defeat dimwitted Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd), a member of the family that's also Pawnee's largest employer, who was guided by a wily, well-connected political consultant (Kathryn Hahn). In the end, Leslie won in a recount.