Why Does Bill O’Reilly Play Himself as a Geek Villain?

I’ve noticed this trend in two recent superhero/action movies: Iron Man 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In an effort to seem more realistic, as if they are part of the real world, both movies feature a scene where one character is watching TV and The O’Reilly Factor is playing. But instead of just being some random clip, it’s actually a small scene of political pundit Bill O’Reilly talking about the movie as if it were real life. He comments on the characters and the plot as if it were a real episode of his show.

And in both cases, Bill berates the heroes!

Why would he do that? If he’s playing himself (which he is, according to his IMDB page) and it’s supposed to be his own show, why would he so openly criticize the heroes? Why not fully support Iron Man and the Autobots?

I don’t have an answer, I’m just curious.

This isn’t about Bill O’Reilly’s politics. I’m a liberal-thinking sort of guy, he’s a conservative. It’s probably fair to say I disagree with most everything he says and the way he says those things. But I’ve never watched his show and don’t know enough about him or his politics to offer any sort of critique or argument against him. No doubt he himself believes in his beliefs and values his own opinion on the issues. Likewise, there are probably millions of fans that trust him and value his opinions.

So why come off as a jerk who openly opposes the actions of the heroes?

Obviously O’Reilly has a certain persona as a loud-mouthed, angry political pundit, but is that persona more important than his personal character? Is he playing this perceived persona for the sake of a cameo rather than saying nothing at all?

Let’s take a look at what he says in those two movies.

From Iron Man 2

Here is a transcript of what Bill O’Reilly says in his brief clip from Iron Man 2:

 “When Mr. Stark announced he was indeed Iron Man, he was making a promise to America. We trusted that he would look out for us. He obviously did not. And now we learn that his sectretary, a woman named Virginia ‘Pepper‘ Potts, has been appointed CEO of Stark Inudstries. WHAT ARE HER QUALIFICATIONS!? Miss Potts is doing nothing to manage–(mute)”

He berates Tony Stark/Iron Man and insults Pepper Potts and her ability to be CEO of Stark Enterprises. In that picture, he calls Pepper a “pinhead”. But they’re the heroes! By the end, Tony proves that he is awesome and still a superhero. And Pepper is beautiful and super nice, the viewers are supposed to be rooting for Pepper. By insulting them, he not only comes off as a big meany, but he’s proven wrong in the end because clearly it’s safe to believe in the heroic Tony Stark and Pepper Potts.

So why doesn’t Bill O’Reilly support Tony Stark or think Pepper Potts would be an awesome CEO? Why doesn’t he support Iron Man?

Now for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, O’Reilly interviews John Turturro’s Agent Simmons:

“Now Agent Simmons, you would have us believe that it would be in our best interests to take sides in this so-called ‘alien civil war’…But polls show half the world would feel safer with the Autobots completely gone. Get’em out of here! We don’t need’em here!…Now agent, here at the Factor we have obtained documents that you were fired by the Intelligence Committee. Your psych evaluations report severe delusional tendancies…You sounded like a pinhead agent, and I’ve got a suggestion for you: damage control.”

Now Agent Simmons may be a little nuts, but he’s only ever been 100% correct about everything. He’s only ever been heroic, especially in Transformers 2 and 3. Yet O’Reilly openly mocks him on the air. Once again he calls one of the heroes a “pinhead”. And “Get’em out of here! We don’t need’em here!”? O’Reilly may not be directly backing the Decepticons, but he’s anti-Autobots.

But why? Agent Simmons is only ever a good guy in Dark of the Moon, and the Autobots once again save the world. Why couldn’t Bill O’Reilly use his show to support the awesome Agent Simmons and help promote his book? Why take the side of ‘polls’ that are anti-Autobot?

Is he simply reading the lines given to him by the script-writers, and is therefore just banking on his name and perceived reputation to collect a little paycheck? Or did the writers want him so badly to make these little realistic cameos that they worked with him and these are actually O’Reilly’s opinions given the facts?

If the former is true, does this mean he acknowledges that his opinions are usually wrong and he’s just a mean blowhard? (OK, so I slipped a little bit of politics in there.)

And what do his fans think? If they value O’Reilly’s opinion on the issues, do they support his distrust of Tony Stark, Pepper Potts and Agent Simmons? I wouldn’t think so. Do his fans then have to accept that he’s being a jerk, and is wrong on the issues presented in the two movies?

Either way, I’m just kind of curious.

About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on July 14, 2011, in Geekery, Movies, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. OK this is actually a fun thing to do. If you search Youtube long enough, you’ll find that a man has been pressing up as a superhero and fighting crime in Seattle. His name is Phoenix Jones or something and he basically walks around in a badass costume and deals with other people’s crap. Like he took some drunk guy’s keys away right before he was about to drive. And he’s fought a couple people.

    But what’s even better than an actual costumed crime fighter, is that everyone else lined up to play their parts. The news show that was covering it immediately pulls a J. Jonah Jameson and questions Phoenix Jones’s moral reasons and if he’s really helping at all. The cops are even 100% Batman:Year One. They give Phoenix Jones all sorts of crap. And they’re pissed that he hasn’t been caught doing anything arrest worthy yet.

    And though this whole story is a little out there, I think it helps prove the point that if superheroes were real, we all know where certain people would land on the issue. Bill O’Reilly would most definitely say those things in those situations. You have to remember that at the time he said those lines, the heroes weren’t really being heroes. Tony Stark was all drunk and crappy. And a lot of people count on Stark Industries to make a living; putting a secretary in charge is a bad idea. We all knew that Pepper was great, but the public didn’t. It’d be like Obama getting drunk and having his daughters run the country for a while. Not the best example, but we’d be pissed, and so would Papa Bear.

    And the first half of Transformers 3 was pretty weak anyway, so I guess we can assume that the Autobots were causing problems for the American people that they didn’t discuss very clearly. And Agent Simmons was a disgraced secret agent trying to make a quick buck by name-dropping Optimus Prime. (at least as far as the public was concerned). And O’Reilly would certainly like to think of himself as speaking on behalf of the “public.”

    So the way I see it, writers (and everyone else) already know what would happen if superheroes and alien robots were real. So they wrote what they know Bill O’Reilly would say. Then Bill showed up, read the script, and said “Yeah, I’d say that.”

  2. I can’t bring myself to disagree with anything you just said. So Bill O’Reilly is super-devoted to these movies that he’d be more focused on having his accurate opinion than just doing the pro-hero thing.

  3. alphawolfcindy

    I think it’s a bit half and half as far as the words coming from his mouth. I think they wanted someone who could be the negative voice in the media. O’Reilly probably would say these things in real life, that’s just who he is. To get upset because the news they showed wasn’t supporting the hero is trivial. It adds to the battle the hero is fighting. The enemy is against them (duh), maybe a few close people are telling them they are nuts or can’t possibly do this, and the media has turned against them, it adds to the drama and the story.

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