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How did pop culture look from inside the White House and the halls of Congress in 2017? After a year as Times reporters covering Washington, we recently shared our analysis with Patrick Healy, a deputy culture editor and former political reporter.

PATRICK HEALY: For starters, let's have fun: What's something about culture and politics in 2017 that most people don't know?

KATIE ROGERS: Melania Trump recently told me her favorite show is "How To Get Away With Murder." I love that the first lady is a Shondaland fan. She also enjoys "Empire." And reality TV did not come up once.

MATT FLEGENHEIMER: Robert Mueller and Freud both reading this with interest.

HEALY: What do you make of her tastes, Katie?

ROGERS: "Empire" is juicy, outlandish drama. Escapism, almost. Larger-than-life personalities, too. Which is interesting for a first lady who is very much not into the spotlight but is surrounded by very big personalities.

HEALY: Matt, what's a culture/politics tidbit most people don't know?

FLEGENHEIMER: Washington's most prolific consumer of pop culture is very likely Ted Cruz. Amateur "SNL" historian, '80s movie buff and instigator of a Twitter feud with Mark Hamill over net neutrality. He explained the meaning of "Star Wars" to Luke Skywalker. It was very Cruz.

ROGERS: '80s movie buff?

FLEGENHEIMER: "The Princess Bride"! Life on the campaign trail with Ted Cruz was basically months of "Princess Bride" imitations with an occasional discussion of Obamacare.

HEALY: Neither of you started off with Donald Trump. He's a pop-culture president like no other. But does he consume pop culture?

FLEGENHEIMER: He seems to enjoy non-cable-news pop culture mostly as a grievance outlet, like his complaints about movie stars.

ROGERS: It's hard to picture him relaxing long enough to enjoy anything that's not frenetically paced like cable news.

HEALY: Trump once told me that he had trouble sitting through movies. That he knew in the first five minutes if he'd enjoy it or not. And he had no problem getting up and leaving.

ROGERS: Did he ever name a movie he liked? I bet he loves "Home Alone 2." He's in it.

HEALY: He once mentioned liking "Citizen Kane" to me, as a great movie about newspapering.

ROGERS: That somehow fits.

HEALY: Has he seen anything this year?

ROGERS: The White House had a screening of "Finding Dory" as the country was roiling in protest against the first version of the immigration ban.

HEALY: What pop-culture moment in 2017 best reflected Year One of the Trump presidency?

FLEGENHEIMER: Gotta be covfefe! It was just remarkable: Trump is midtweet, as ever, and he trails off while discussing covfefe. There was this sort of simultaneous concern and wonder: Is this how the world ends? Did his lawyers tackle him?

ROGERS: It's weird that Twitter gibberish is pop culture now.

FLEGENHEIMER: Sean Spicer even kept the mystery alive by saying the people who were really in the know understood what Trump was talking about.

ROGERS: Speaking of Spicer, I'd say Melissa McCarthy's first portrayal of him on "SNL" set the tone for how this year would unfold. It started a back-and-forth that ended with Spicer onstage at the Emmys after he resigned.

FLEGENHEIMER: Trump plainly hated the impression — and what it said about Spicer's cartoonish image with much of the public. For a lot of political veterans, the strange thing about Spicer/McCarthy was that Spicer was this well-known, typical Republican National Committee guy long before the election. A lot of the reaction in D.C. initially was sort of, "This guy? Recurring 'SNL' bit?" It's surreal for all involved.

HEALY: Was it inevitable that the Trump White House would become its own version of a television reality show?

FLEGENHEIMER: Trump has told aides that he views each day as a TV episode of sorts. And you can hear him read the stage directions sometimes, as our colleague Jonathan Martin likes to say. "Stay tuned!" "We'll be saying something big tomorrow!"

ROGERS: The whole thing does feel a bit like an elimination-based reality TV show. I mean, the last person to leave was Omarosa! She was fired three times on "The Apprentice." Before she ever got to the White House. You just now have a retired four-star general doing the firing. (Or, as she maintains, prompting her resignation.)

FLEGENHEIMER: Omarosa outlasted Michael Flynn, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Tom Price, Anthony Scaramucci. What a time to be alive.

ROGERS: The pathways out of this White House are less about traditional routes — like public speaking or consulting gigs — and more about bending your newfound fame to your will. Scaramucci spent time attending parties in Los Angeles. He was on "The View" and Colbert.

FLEGENHEIMER: Scaramucci came and went so fast there wasn't even time for a recurring "SNL" impersonation. It was all during the summer break.

HEALY: Do politicians in D.C. love or hate "SNL"?

FLEGENHEIMER: I'm not sure the Alec Baldwin bits have drawn a ton of blood among Washington types since the campaign. Are there really any you remember? Maybe if Joe Scarborough put on the wig, Trump would have noticed.

ROGERS: Some of the portrayals of the women have broken through in a bad way. There's a lot of zeroing in on Sarah Huckabee Sanders' weight and Southern-ness that has been seen, by her and others, as unnecessarily harsh and gendered in a way that we didn't get with Spicer or other men in Trump's orbit. But I've also overheard people in her own party making fun of her appearance. And I think the "SNL" portrayal of Kellyanne Conway — as a media-obsessed "Fatal Attraction" type — was viewed as line-crossing.

FLEGENHEIMER: A lot of Washington seemed to have Conway's back on that one.

HEALY: Like "SNL," the late-night hosts often led with Trump jokes this year. Does he stay up late enough to watch? He often starts tweeting at 6 a.m. — not so much at 11:45 p.m.

ROGERS: I get the sense he's a day-later-snippet guy like the rest of us. Otherwise the tweets would be 24/7.

HEALY: Which late-night host has the most influence on D.C.?

ROGERS: Kimmel. In reach, you'd be hard-pressed to say that anyone had a bigger impact on our attention than he did by using a personal story about his son to influence the Affordable Health Care Act debate.

FLEGENHEIMER: Night to night, I'm not sure how much currency Kimmel has. But on health care, his advocacy was without question the late-night event of the year in politics. You had GOP operatives sending out fact-checks on Kimmel like he was the Senate minority leader.

ROGERS: He had multiple lawmakers publicly responding within hours.

FLEGENHEIMER: In general, there are multiple late-night ecosystems. Among all the Democrats potentially elbowing into the 2020 race, it's a very good look for them to be seen on Colbert, Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers. Some of the hosts are functionally arms of the "resistance" at this point, right?

ROGERS: I think Bee is definitely identified as part of the resistance. She hosted a White House Correspondents' Dinner alternative party.

FLEGENHEIMER: It seems like Bernie Sanders is on Seth Meyers every few weeks. Kirsten Gillibrand has a good relationship with Samantha Bee's show. These are the audiences they want to reach.

HEALY: Do appearances translate into donations during off-election years like 2017?

FLEGENHEIMER: Doesn't hurt! And this is where Democrats have to go make pilgrimage to reach primary voters.

ROGERS: The impulse to raise money as a response to sound bites — whether on late night or even on Twitter — feels super 2017.

HEALY: Some politicians send out YouTube videos of their late-night appearances to their donor/supporter lists.

FLEGENHEIMER: Oh, definitely.

ROGERS: Maybe even GIFs.

HEALY: From late night to movies and television, sex and gender have been particularly major themes this year, at the same time as women and some men have come forward with sexual-harassment accusations against powerful men across Hollywood. You have the popularity of "Wonder Woman" and "Big Little Lies" and "The Handmaid's Tale." I wonder about the distance between art and politics this year. It feels very close.

ROGERS: When Congressman Trent Franks was found to have offered a woman $5 million to be a surrogate for him and his wife and was thought to suggest sex as a way to do this, I heard several references to "Handmaid's Tale" while reporting that story. He seemed unclear about whether or not approaching an aide to bear his children was inappropriate, which raises the important question of how an elected official might view a woman's place in this world in the first place.

FLEGENHEIMER: Not a great moment for members of Congress trying to paint Hollywood as deeply out of touch. Then again, Hollywood might be outpacing Congress in this purge-your-predators arms race.

ROGERS: And "Big Little Lies" was about the complications of womanhood and how men mess with the dynamics of the bonds you form with each other. The final shot of "Big Little Lies" — the women frolicking on a beach after this horrible period of their lives — was beautiful. They had bonded out of necessity to protect each other. And that feels very, very current.

HEALY: That reminds me of the scenes in "Wonder Woman" where the Amazons are riding together into battle. You know, we've never had a woman as defense secretary or as chair of the Joint Chiefs. The year began with questions about whether the Trump administration would accept women in combat roles. Then there was Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. I was struck by "Wonder Woman" as a counterpoint to the Trump era — a series of scenes where women were in power, fighting for their home and drawing on their skill and training and intelligence.

ROGERS: Yes. And the need for women to band together and fight, which we're seeing a great deal of now.

HEALY: Are there any American female political leaders in 2017 who remind you of Diana?

ROGERS: No. Those women have spent too much time in man world.

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