Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Binge watching The West Wing

For our 32nd wedding anniversary, my wife bought me the complete set of DVDs for the hit television show, The West Wing. Our anniversary is November 27, Thanksgiving Day in 2014, so on that day there was something to be thankful for in addition to having most of my wife’s relatives invade my house to eat. We hosted 23 people, all on her side.

The West Wing TV series is much like Thanksgiving Day. It’s about life/work in the West Wing of the White House with various characters interacting as relatives do on Thanksgiving, sometimes agreeing, and much of the time disagreeing but always loving each other before the day is over and showing it by not speaking to at least one character or relative. NBC-TV ran the series 1999-2006.

Martin Sheen is the president in The West Wing (TV series; some other guy is there now). In 1995, Sheen played the part of Chief of Staff to Michael Douglass in the movie, The American President. It was easy to move Sheen to President because, as we’ve discovered in The West Wing, the Chief of Staff is second in command behind the President, a position most people believe is reserved for the Vice President. Isn’t that what’s in the Constitution, the COS being second in command?

The West Wing was must-see TV when it was aired live on tape. While there was little chance here to see all episodes, 1999-2006, remembering the characters as the series develops is easy as we watch episode after episode with the DVDs. We started viewing just before Christmas but then we traveled to—get this—Washington DC, to spend a few days, including Christmas, with our daughter who lives amidst politicians and staff members thereof. She’s been in the White House but never to the West Wing. She been in the Blue, Green and Red rooms as well as the State Dining Room, the bowling alley and a reception room upstairs for a holiday party.

Back home, we’re hooked, viewing several episodes at a time; we’re nearly through the third season. President Jeb Bartlett (Sheen), who has MS and withheld it from the public in his first presidential campaign, is running for a second term. With five seasons remaining after this one, you can pretty well guess the outcome but we’ll watch each season to see how the TV series ends. It’s enjoyable, intriguing, addictive, and actually educational, if what they do in the TV show is what really goes on behind the scenes in the West Wing. The TV series would make a decent civics class lesson if indeed civics is still taught in public schools.
-------------------- word of the day
cogitation (noun) [koj-i-tey-shuh n]: concerted thought or reflection

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