Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The West Wing

This is so depressing. I am not sure how much more of this I can take.

Watching the President, day after day. Hearing him speak. Following the stated logic of his decisions. It is enough to make me cry.

Of course, I am talking about binge watching " The West Wing." Jed Bartlet, and those in his inner circle, all filled with insight, compassion, wit and searing intelligence. 

This is one of the casualties of the pandemic. Having run through a number of current or recent series in a desperate attempt to avoid anything resembling a show discussing either Donald Trump or Covid 19, I bumped into The West Wing while scrolling through the options which lay before me. It was something I occasionally brushed up against during its long run. I recalled it as a brilliant piece of writing. So why not now dip my toe into the water. What a mistake.

I am now 17 episodes into season one. Only another 139 before the swan song in season seven. I don't know how I will survive seeing a fictional government run so well.

Actually, we now have a fictional government in this country. No functioning Congress, members of the administration whose sole task seems to be to shine the President's shoes, a leader whose moral compass was lost at birth, whose lack of intelligence gushes forth every time his mouth operates, whose prejudices would have made Jane Austen put down her pen, whose errant conclusions outweigh the good ones by infinity to some figure less than zero, whose large fanny is the only way in which he fills the seat in the Oval Office. This is the antithesis of what The West Wing would suggest we are or at least what we can be.

The Bartlet family, at least in season one, ranks even above the Obama's I think. Well, maybe it is a tie. And then I focus on the Trump boys, on his favorite daughter and I get very sad.

There is no Fox News in this universe, at least not yet. There is hardly an internet. No cell phones acting as full on computers. No tweets. A President careful with his words. 

Maybe in the episodes to come everyone will get a little stupider, a little uglier in ways that will make me less uncomfortable with what I have to face each morning when I awake.

Maybe President Bartlet will consort with bad women, bad leaders, bad people. Maybe he will allow a virulent disease to run wild because he doesn't like how he looks in a mask. Maybe he will build a Wall, or tell immigrants from around the globe not to bother coming here. Maybe he will forget how to speak in coherent sentences or form a thought not fed to him by someone on his TV screen. Maybe he will become addicted to golf.

I can only hope so because this Jed Bartlet makes me want to hide under the covers for the next 104 days (and, God forbid, for another four years after that).


Anonymous said...

My wife just ran in laughing after reading this. I have binge watched this show, and now am watching it again.
My favorite favorite show! You are right, it feels like an alternate universe. No "West Wing Moments" with the Rump--RE

Anonymous said...

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world


Anonymous said...

Iloved the west wing and that period of my life.
Thanks for sharing.


Jonathan Klein said...

The West Wing and all its characters and situations are a constant in both of our hearts and minds.It's painful to watch any episode knowing that what you are seeing is merely an idealization of what is possible but never obtainable even if your name is Barack. All we are left with is Lawrence O'Donnell at 10pm. Welcome to our world, my daughter.