Netflix’s ‘Space Force‘ follows the comedic antics of General Mark Naird (Steve Carell), who heads the titular agency and leads a group of scientists, pilots, and other highly qualified but equally eccentric individuals. With the goal to safeguard America’s space interests, Naird has some lofty ideas. However, the authentic-looking military pomp depicted on the show is balanced by equally silly situations (remember the one where they get a chimp to try and repair a satellite?).
Season 2 plays things closer to home and delves deeper into the characters’ personal relationships and the politics surrounding the relatively young space agency. We hear mention of Lefty Mickelson, as well as a politician named Bob White. Could they be based on real people? Let’s find out.
Is Lefty Mickelson a Real Golfer?
Ever since he is first introduced, Tony, the agency’s publicity manager, remains one of the quirkiest characters on the show. In season 2, we get a hint as to why that might be the case. When Tony calls his father to wish him a happy birthday, the latter berates his son for wasting his time before complimenting Tony’s sister for the “Lefty Mickelson shirt” she got her father for his special day. The social media manager is furious, claiming the Lefty Mickelson shirt was his idea (and not his sister’s). Of course, the father is having none of it and disconnects the call. So who exactly is Left Mickelson?
Well, in case you haven’t heard of him, Phil Mickelson (full name Philip Alfred Mickelson), also called “Lefty” Mickelson, is a professional golfer who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012. He has reportedly won 45 PGA Tour events and, in 2021, became the oldest major golf championship winner in history. Despite being right-handed in other aspects, “Lefty” attained his distinctive left-handed playing style as a child from watching his (right-handed) father play and trying to mirror him, thus ending up using his left hand. It seems the habit stuck and proved exceedingly fruitful over the years.
And so, it looks like Tony’s father is a fan of the real-life golf icon. Considering Lefty Mickelson’s prolific golfing career, it’s not difficult to imagine why the publicity manager’s belligerent, seemingly materialistic father would want a shirt associated with the golfer.
Is Bob White a Real Congressman?
Deciphering Bob White’s authenticity is slightly more complicated. The Congressman (essayed by Tommy Cook) is introduced in season 1 during General Naird’s deposition at a government budgetary hearing. White is one of the senior politicians in the committee overseeing the hearing and seems to have a soft corner for Naird. However, the Congressman is also woefully outdated and claims that the Earth is flat.
In season 2, White remains unseen but comes up when Naird realizes that the Congressman has pulled some strings in order to get Space Force involved in the prestigious Europa space missions. Unfortunately, the politician’s archaic ideas mean that Naird and his team are given a bizarre assignment — to make a presentation on how to fight aliens. Of course, team Space Force decides that a better use of their time is pulling office pranks, which is exactly what they do.
Though there are politicians that share the character’s name, it appears that Representative Bob White, as seen in ‘Space Force,’ is not based on any single Congressman. Instead, White seems to embody a hilariously exaggerated version of an inept politician, which, like many other aspects of ‘Space Force,’ is meant to parody real life.