Just as a new TV series has a pilot I have often wondered at the amazing parallels between the last two seasons of The West Wing, which ended in 2006, and the 2008 presidential election. It is almost as if The West Wing was the pilot, the test run as it were, for the election. I am not the only one who has noticed the parallel.
Also, this administration makes the liberal democrats of the Bartlett White House in The West Wing seem like Tea Party members.
I was interested in a post on an English blog named Bridges and Tangents by Fr. Stephen Wang of the Diocese of Westminster, London, Dean of Studies at Allen Hall Seminary (now on my sidebar though I’m not on his… but I digress), which talks about The West Wing and the 2008 election.
I admit it: I’m a West Wing junkie. I made the mistake, when I was staying with some friends one holiday, of watching the first two episodes of Season Two, the two-parter when the President has just… Oh dear, I’m about to reveal some plot; and if there is just the slightest chance that you haven’t seen the cliffhanger at the end of Season One, then I’d better leave you to that moment of TV heaven without spoiling it.
I know, some of the haircuts from the first few years are already dating, and we have had plenty of great TV since then. But it’s still, to my mind, one of the most dazzling and thought-provoking shows of all time. My heart still hasn’t healed from trauma of discovering that they were not carrying on into Season Eight.
He goes on to talk about a book called Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, which covers the Primaries leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, and the election itself. It seems that Race of a Lifetime has been reprinted, at least in the US, as Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime.
In any event, I truly enjoy the witty dialogue of The West Wing and the development of the characters. Also, the series is a real civics lesson. Before all sorts of right-wing conservatives have a spittle-flecked nutty – a figure of speech I happy stole from The West Wing’s Ainsley Hayes – I hate the political slant of the series. I really appreciate intelligent TV. The West Wing is smart. Yes yes… I know that the Catholic Pres. Bartlett is squishy on abortion and homosexual marriage. But who can forget the sight on prime time TV of the President of the United States saying the Rosary in the Oval Office and then, after making a bad decision, making his confession to an priest he called in for consultation. We mustn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good!
Anyway, if you are looking for some intelligent, adult TV that does not involve Cylons or green energy rays, try The West Wing. That link (yes… there, to the left… click it… you know you want to) is for the entire series, now reduced in price pretty dramatically. I think they start to hit their stride toward the end of Season One.
In any event, Fr. Wang has inspired me to watch through the series again. The next time I am in London, I will offer to buy him a pint, since in London you don’t find much Mystic Monk Coffee.
BTW… I see that the number of seminarians in formation at Allen Hall is up.