The following contains spoilers for What We Do in the Shadows Season 5, Episode 4 "The Campaign," which aired July 27, 2023 on FX.

Colin Robinson's short-lived campaign for comptroller allowed What We Do in the Shadows to stretch into a new realm of satire, employing references to real political figures such as Howard Dean and Jeffrey Toobin. Though the FX mockumentary already occupies the horror-comedy space, What We Do in the Shadows proves capable of speed-running the conventions of other sitcom subgenres in Season 5, Episode 4 "The Campaign."

The world of politics has previously been explored in What We Do in the Shadows’ episodes like Season 1, Episode 2 "City Council" and the underground governing body the Vampiric Council, but the daywalking Home Alone fan Colin Robinson allows the series to explore a trope-filled campaign for a traditional seat of human government. The process of running for Staten Island comptroller reads like an episode of a political sitcom, but with the show’s supernatural flavor adding a layer to its ultimate punchline.

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What We Do in the Shadows Continues to Blend and Bend Genres

What We Do in the Shadows Colin Robinson Howard Dean Scream with Vanessa Bayer's Evie Russell

From Veep recreating the infamous image of George W. Bush receiving the 9/11 news while reading to school children to Leslie Knope's obsessive crush on Joe Biden in Parks & Recreation. Political comedies often rely on either allusions or direct references to real-world political figures or events for their humor. What We Do in the Shadows proves no exception to this rule, highlighting two moments from political history. Apart from the specific political references in "The Campaign", Vanessa Bayer's return as Evie Russell stands to mock the more generic concept of a "political marriage" which has likewise been featured by many purveyors of the genre.

"The Dean Scream" refers to the viral campaign rallying cry in which Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean summoned tremendous enthusiasm despite losing the 2004 Iowa caucus. The infamous soundbite, which partially contribute to the downfall of Dean's campaign, has lived on in popular culture; it was played in the background of Breaking Bad and was emulated by Sean Gunn's Kirk in Gilmore Girls. What We Do in the Shadows takes its own stab at the scream through Colin Robinson, whose character inherently adds a layer of humor to the proceedings. The scream's notoriety was earned through its unencumbered enthusiasm, a state unnatural and therefore painful for Colin Robinson to achieve.

While the video conference nudity scandal that ultimately tanks Colin Robinson's comptroller campaign relates back to the real world in the post-COVID era. When Evie ascribes the circumstances of Colin Robinson's nudity as a result of sexual self-gratification that occurred prior to the conference call, it becomes clear that this bears the same details as the political downfall of former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin. The author and legal analyst was suspended from his position at the New Yorker in 2020 after a conference call that caught him in the act merely mentioned during Colin Robinson's final political press conference.

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Energy Vampire Colin Robinson Is the Perfect Candidate for Political Satire

What We Do in the Shadows Colin Robinson and Evie Russell meet the council of energy vampires

When Colin Robinson's opponent, anti-paperwork anarchist Barbara Lazarro, threatens the bureaucratic lifeblood of Staten Island's energy vampire population, What We Do in the Shadows introduces a follow-up to its iconic Vampiric Council. While Colin Robinson discloses his personal excitement for the energy-draining potential of a political campaign, the new council confirms the necessary function of government to the existence of energy vampires. "Bureaucracy is the gum that clogs the gears of every human endeavor," extols the head of the Energy Vampire's Council. "The petty BS, in triplicate, that reminds the common man that he is a useless speck." This beige, emergency meeting of the energy vampires deepens the thesis of What We Do in the Shadows' episode dedicated to political satire all-the-while introducing another underground government into its world-building.

What We Do in the Shadows often wields its supernatural mechanics to offer comedic explanations for real-world phenomenons or recontextualize elements of human history. In "The Campaign," the FX comedy serves more than just run-of-the-mill political satire, it provides a canonic explanation for government's sometimes soul-crushing function in people's day-to-day lives. While Colin Robinson's campaign mishaps allude to the scandals of Dean and Toobin, his position as an energy vampire creates an added layer of comedy unique to What We Do in the Shadows supernatural storytelling.

What We Do in the Shadows continues its fifth season with new episodes airing Thursdays on FX and streaming the next day on Hulu.