"Throughout The Great, the black comedy’s satirical tone captures how theatrical and nearsighted politics can become amid a crisis," says Shirley Li. "Peter’s and his allies’ denial of the truth—a deeply distressing truth, involving hundreds of thousands of lives lost—resembles the Trump administration’s shunning of medical expertise. Ignorance paves the way for Peter III’s precious bliss; the president prefers to diminish the threat of the pandemic rather than confront the reality of its consequences. For Peter, ruling is a spectacle, not a duty. In the White House, briefings meant to inform the public have been molded into sales pitches and opportunities for the president to boast about his ratings. Peter’s court may be an exaggeration of real-life Russian politics in the 18th century, but the character’s foolish governing strategy in the face of disaster reflects Trump’s. Both men depend on the appeal of denial and ignorance. Theirs is a leadership style that, during an unprecedented global disaster, has endured because the message it spreads—that nothing is wrong and all is bliss—is enticing."