I never watched West Wing on regular network TV till season 6. I just fugured it would be boring long winded overly liberal hot air. I ended up watching a couple episodes back to back on Braov in re-runs. Before the first of the episodes was over I found my self absorbed by the story and the characters. I wanted to know more. The show also made me think about things I normally avoid. Political things. War things, health things crime things and rights things. Sometime I agree with the prevailing winds of opinion on the show, sometimes I don't. It turns out I'm not strictly a liberal or conservative. I have conflicting views.
I like all the people on the show, though like people I interact with in real life I don't like them all the time. Toby is quite often in real need of having his head rammed into a wall. CJ tends to get emotional and over things she can't change. Josh needs a blowjob and a week at the beach, and Leo could often use a full eight hours of sleep. I like Margaret, she doesn't bull shit because she doesn't have to. Hell, I actually enjoyed ALan ALda for the first time in twenty some years.
But with all my ups and downs witht the people of West Wing, I love them all. They make me think. And this is something that is missing on television in our prime time world of "reality TV" filled with non-actors who know they are being filmed at every moment, acting like jackasses for an extra minute of this short attention spanned nations affection. What's wrong with thinking? ER used to involve soem thinking when I watched, before it became a show about who's sleeping with who.
I understand why there are shows that don't involve thinking, and there are times when I turn on the idiot box to just stare and drool just like the majority of this country. I need my brain to shut down, and the big magic box helps with that. But I prefer to do it with Hollywood big screen productions, you know, things like that Val Kilmer movie on the island with FBI profiler recruits where everone gets killed Ten Little Indians style. Hollywood is great for brain candy, so I try not to watch it on telvision as not to encourage them.
I want more shows like West Wing. Shows that make me emotional, angry or sad or happy. Shows that make me think about things that are sometimes uncomfortable to think about.
And more shows that don't wrap up in an hour. Things like the Shield, Rescue Me, Battlestar Galactica.
But let me tell you. no show leaves me satisfied like West Wing. After an episode or two ( or eight) I feel relaxed and calm. I feel like the world might actually have a chance at being a better place.
I feel hope.