Like it's not bad enough that we're suffering through a primary season full of sleazy politicians, they've started percolating through our prime-time schedule as well. Here's a rundown of some of the worst of the worst.
Joseph Quimby (Dan Castellaneta): Mayor of Springfield
A broad caricature of a Kennedy, down to, ahhh, that familiar accent and, errrrrr, a predeliction for ladies that are not his wife, Diamond Joe Quimby is the mayor for life of Springfield despite his near-total lack of interest in actual governance. Unapologetically on the take and repeatedly caught in compromising positions with a seemingly never-ending string of floozies, Quimby is the politician as untrammeled id.
Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammer): Mayor of Chicago
Boss (Starz, second season scheduled later in 2012)
A gritty political drama with more than a whiff of The Wire, Boss follows Chicago mayor Tom Kane as he tries to keep a lid on a steadily-increasing number of scandals, any one of which could potentially bring down his administration. The sole humanizing touch is that Kane has been diagnosed with a rare degenerative nerve disease, which he has chosen to keep to himself in order to maintain his grip on the power he's stepped on so many people to get.
Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn): President of the United States
With a name like Scandal, what were you expecting? The latest soap from creator Shonda Rimes (Grey's Anatomy), Scandal is focused on PR crisis manager Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who has to deal with D.C. scandals ranging from murder charges to a freshly-outed madam with a book full of powerful clients. But her most potentially explosive case involves former White House intern Amanda Tanner (Liza Weil) and her allegations that President Fitzgerald Grant is having an affair.
Peter Florrick (Chris Noth): Cook County State's Attorney
The Good Wife (CBS, Sunday 9 p.m./8 Central)
Once-disgraced political figure Peter Florrick would argue that he doesn't belong on this list at all. Although the series opened with Florrick on trial and ultimately imprisoned for public corruption, which caused personal and professional problems for his lawyer wife Alicia (Juliana Marguiles), his corruption case was thrown out and he got his State's Attorney job back. Now he's plotting a run for governor of Illinois. That doesn't change the fact that he repeatedly cheated on his wife, often with prostitutes. Dude, your wife looks just like Juliana Marguiles. You deserve not to win your election just because you're obviously an idiot.
Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell): Running for mayor of Seattle
The Killing (AMC, Sunday 9 p.m./8 Central)
OK, so it turns out that maybe Darren Richmond didn't actually murder teenager Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay), and maybe homicide detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) manufactured false evidence on behalf of a shady conspiracy against Richmond. And for that matter, it kinda sucks that he's now a paraplegic, after getting shot Jack Ruby-style by Belko Royce (Brendan Sexton III), a disturbed employee of Rosie's dad. Still, Richmond went out of his way to publicize that his opponent fathered a young campaign volunteer's child while he himself was patronizing high-end escorts. Hypocrisy is never a good thing.
Bobby Newport (Paul Rudd): Running for city council of Pawnee, Ind.
Parks and Recreation (NBC, Thursday 9:30 p.m./8:30 Central)
The photogenic but bone-stupid son of the owner of Sweetums Candy, the factory that employs half the citizens of Pawnee, Bobby Newport was told to run for city council by his father. Upon discovering that he had an actual opponent, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), he whined to his campaign staff, "Aren't I running unopposed? I'm running unopposed, right?" Much like other sons of wealthy and powerful men who think public office is their birthright, Newport is a mouthbreathing idiot trading on his dad's prestige, but he hides it just well enough that he might win. That's the worst kind of corruption there is.