Trending: 'Senator Rick Sanitorium' is back on HBO. Sort of...


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The Independent US

Until now, the closest former US presidential challenger Rick Santorum had got to HBO was when Tony Soprano saluted "Senator Sanitorium" for his comparison of homosexuality to bestiality. No more!

Alan Ball, creator of HBO's True Blood, reveals that a character in the new series of the show was inspired by the rise of Santorum. The plotline involves Chris Meloni playing a theocratic leading member of the vampiric political system. It will, one assumes, be less bloody than the real Republican race.

Of course the most famous case of fictional surrogacy for a politician was Matthew Santos – the character played by Jimmy Smits in The West Wing. In a case of art imitating life imitating art, West Wing writer Eli Attie was inspired in 2004 by then Illinois state senator, Barack Obama. The Santos character's rise to the White House was then weirdly mirrored by its original inspiration in 2008. Others in the administration aren't so lucky.

On Monday, Sky Atlantic airs the first episode of Armando Iannucci's Veep featuring a slightly hapless gaffe-prone Vice President. You'd have to ask Joe Biden if he has any idea who inspired Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Selina Meyer.