Friday, June 4, 2010

TV Meme: Day 4

Day 04 - Your favorite show ever

This one was the easiest of all of them.  My favorite show ever is The West Wing.  I watch nearly the whole series almost every year.  When I can't sleep, concentrate, or smile, I put on The West Wing and it usually  helps because it creates a world that usually ends well, is smart, and has characters you wish existed in the real world.  Also, the writing, particularly in the first four seasons, was so nerdy and intelligent that I couldn't help but be drawn in.  As  you'd expect, The West Wing takes place in an imaginary U.S. White House.  The main cast includes the President Josiah (Jed) Bartlett, originally only imagined in a few episodes when Martin Sheen signed up, but they expanded his role, and until the last season, he's in nearly every episode.  His personal assistant, Charlie Young (Dule Hill) is by his side for nearly every moment.  His Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry (the late John Spencer) wrangles the staff together, including his deputy, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford), communications director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), deputy communications director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), and later Will Bailey (Joshua Malina), and his Press Secretary CJ Cregg (the brilliant and Emmy award winning Allison Janney).  With Josh's assistant, Donna Moss (Janel Maloney) and the First Lady, Abby Bartlett (Stockard Channing) that is the core cast that exists throughout the series.  However, unlike many other shows with large casts on TV, all the supporting White House staff are played by the same actors, and once you watch a few seasons, you know which actors are just part of the core cast. 
However, there are a lot of notable supporting cast members that appeared for a season or more like Lily Tomlin, Jimmy Smits, Teri Polo, Alan Alda, Kathryn Joosten, Kristen Chenowith, Timothy Busfield, Elizabeth Moss, and Mary McCormack.  While the story is particularly "left-leaning" in its political slant, they also don't demonize people by political beliefs but rather when they're just jerks.  My favorite episodes are when there's lots of talking about a fairly mundane issue - though they do tackle larger issues like mid-term elections, a major election, nuclear explosions, terrorism, etc.- the ones I like best are when they're just trying to mull through a philosophical or arcane constitutional issue.  Those episodes come up more in the early seasons when Aaron Sorkin was both producing and writing the show, but some of the later episodes are equally good, there just aren't as many of them.   The entire series is available on DVD, and I highly recommend anyone watch any season.   To set it up, this scene takes place while Bartlett is running for re-election.  He's sick of the religious right being hypocritical about condemning things, and can't figure out how he beat the first guy he ran against for office.  He's just entered a party for radio hosts.  Being a Catholic, he's well-versed in the Bible, so he comes armed to more religious discussions.  

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