In its first season on IFC, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen’s series Documentary Now! distinguished itself with an almost eerie level of verisimilitude. The mockumentary series aped the work of filmmakers like Errol Morris and Albert and David Maysles so closely that the casual viewer might not immediately register that the show is meant to be a parody (though the presence of two prominent Saturday Night Live graduates is a bit of a giveaway). But part of the reason Documentary Now! succeeds is that its creators take their show seriously, no matter how ridiculous the premise during a given week, and put a lot of effort into getting the details correct. A big part of that is casting. When Hader and Armisen decided to do an episode about a fictional 1992 gubernatorial election, they knew that there was one person who had to be involved: MTV News veteran Tabitha Soren. How’s that for a blast from the past? Here she is, chipper as ever, in a clip from an upcoming Documentary Now! episode called “The Bunker,” scheduled to air September 14. It looks to be a takeoff on the 1993 documentary The War Room.
Those who came of age in the early to mid-’90s will remember that Soren, as an earnest, fresh-faced NYU journalism grad of 23, became a nearly constant presence on MTV during those years as well as the spokeswoman of its Choose Or Lose campaign, encouraging young people to vote. That memorable career achievement is spoofed here as “Choose Or Else ’92,” but Soren seems the same as she ever was. Meanwhile, Hader and Armisen get to ham it up as political strategists seemingly based on James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, respectively. Soren, as one would expect, plays it very straight. In reality, the former MTV star gave up journalism years ago and is a married mother of three who currently devotes herself to fine art photography. But when Documentary Now! came calling and asked her to send up her ’90s image, she wasn’t about to say no.
Here, for comparsion’s sake, is some geniune Choose Or Loose footage of Soren from 1996.
And here’s a promo from 1991, in which she sports the trademark bob she wears on Documentary Now!