15 years after their television debut, actors Harry Johnson and Louise Clark are back, reprising the roles that made them famous – or infamous depending on your political persuasion.
Better known as “Harry and Louise,” the duo sank the Clinton administration’s efforts to pass health care reform in the early 1990s, with a series of TV advertisements that claimed proposed changes would “force” Americans to pick from limited plans designed by “government bureaucrats.”
The ads, paid for by the health insurance industry, were considered controversial with threats such as, “If they choose; we lose.”
The proposed reform dubbed “HillaryCare” never got out of Congress and serious efforts for reform have not been proposed again – until now.
Cue Harry and Louise.
“Well, it looks like we may finally get health care reform,” Harry says in what looks like it might be the same kitchen table set they used 15 years ago. “It’s about time,” Louise responds, adding, “A little more cooperation, a little less politics and we can get the job done.”
That’s right, this time Harry and Louise are using a different script for a new pro-reform ad paid for by Families USA and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.
Johnson and Clark were first tapped last year during the height of the 2008 election by the pro-reform groups for a new series of ads depicting the same characters. Ron Pollack, head of Families USA, re-introduced the fictional couple at a press conference last August and joked, “I did not mean any harm by saying they've gotten older; we all have. They actually are better looking and they’re a whole lot wiser.”
Johnson and Clark later explained the role reversal in a behind-the-scenes video of the making of the ‘08 ad. “Things are much more expensive than they used to be,” Harry said. “Both of us know people who are having problems because they don’t have adequate coverage or don’t have any coverage at all,” Louise added. “We both know more people now than 15 years ago.”
While the duo is still a part of the political lexicon, it seems both sides of the aisle are unaware of their political switch, with both President Obama and RNC Chair Michael Steele recently referencing the Harry and Louise of yesterday.
After all, is the sequel ever as good as the original?