How do you know you’re busy and important? You don’t have enough time to stop and talk to people. You have to take care of business on the move.
So, I’ve been eyeing The West Wing box set since the election. I guess I was hoping that Amazon would either lower the price by a hundred bucks or I would find a way to justify spending $170. Neither of those panned out, but I did finally cave and sign up for Netflix again. The first disc of the first season arrived on Monday. I was expecting to get hooked and I am.
I haven’t been watching long enough to have any kind of opinion of the series as a whole and reviews aren’t really my thing, but I do have some thoughts so far.
First, people who have worked in the real life West Wing, liberals and conservatives, have commented on how accurate the depiction is, but it’s not how I imagined it at all. There are so many people around and they’re always bustling . I pictured a quiet Oval Office that you get to through quiet halls with several closed doors to rooms where quiet meetings are taking place. I don’t know why. It’s not like I ever imagined the staff and the President didn’t work hard, but I guess I naively thought that at that level, there was less bustling! I imagined less walking and talking. I never realized I had all these ideas about life in the West Wing until they were challenged. Now, of course, they seem ridiculous.
Second, another level of my ignorance was reveled as I tried to figure out what staff position each character held. It’s true I didn’t know there was such a thing as a Deputy Chief of Staff. Apparently Obama has two Deputy Chiefs of Staff.
Third, I kept going back and forth on whether the show was outdated or not. In one of the first scenes of the show, you’ve got two characters getting their pagers mixed up and then another character answers his cell phone and the thing looks like the kind of cordless telephone you might use as a land line. The show also seems a bit outdated in its look and feel. I think dramas are much more stylized now. But, I was over and over again surprised by how relevant the plot was, especially to a liberal like me. The Democratic president is accused of not being patriotic enough or being weak on defense. You’ve got problems with the Religious Right. You’ve got Democrats turning against Democrats for not supporting key legislation (on The West Wing, it was gun control, but now it’s health care reform). And a million other small things that a person like me thinks is new, but is really politics as usual.
Fourth, you think the Gilmore Girls talk a lot? This show is basically all talking and I think they just involve the walking to make the talking seem more exciting. It’s not unrealistic dialogue like Dawson’s Creek or anything, but sometimes there are too many words. In general, though, impressive writing. I’m just not a fan of unnecessarily big words or people who never pause to take a breath.
Fifth, according to the world’s best source of knowledge–aka Wikipedia–the show was criticized for being unrealistically optimistic. I haven’t watched enough to really make a judgment and I don’t know that I care to. Fiction is not reality and that’s okay with me.