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Thursday, April 06, 2006

West Wing Demise a Result of Y2K

Not the Year 2000 computer glitch, but the year 2000 elections, when a conservative Republican defeated one liberal Democrat and replaced another. When George Bush won the election in November, 2000, the TV program West Wing acquired a terminal disease—the absence of reality. Their refusal to face reality was the death knell for their hit television program because it was never relevant after they went on with a show about a liberal Democrat president while the country had moved on to an entirely different experience.

It was irrelevant to conservative Republicans because they saw it for what it was, entertainers who didn’t have the guts to deal with reality, so they continued to create and market a TV show about a past that no longer existed or mattered. The Republicans were probably having too much fun to watch or to care until September 11, came along with a horror few of us could imagine. Conservative Republicans then had a new reality, but West Wing went right on pretending we had a liberal Democrat in the White House doing battle with conservative Republicans trying to bring him down.

It was irrelevant to conservative Democrats, who had been disenfranchised by their own party because they would hardly allow the voices of reason to even speak. Probably for them, after the election of George Bush, for whom many of them voted out of sheer desperation, and the whimpering defeat of their own party’s candidate, the meaningless TV show was probably just too painful for them to watch.

For the liberal Democrats who couldn’t bear to see the direction the country was going West Wing was heaven for an hour on Wednesday night. They could turn on their TV and pretend they hadn’t lost the election. But at the end of the hour even they had to admit it wasn’t real and they would go back to making excuses about why they lost the election. But there wasn’t enough of them to save The West Wing.

Conservative Independents like myself probably tried to watch it because it had been an entertaining look at the insides of government and politics, but with the country moving on and The West Wing TV show stuck in an outdated time warp, it just no longer had any interest.

And it didn’t have to be that way.

If the producers of The West Wing had had any guts, wisdom, or common sense, and if their goal had been creating a hit TV series about something close to reality, they would have finished out the year and into January with an election defeat and the agony of liberal Democrats turning the White House over to conservative Republicans. On the first Wednesday night in February they would have been back with a conservative Republican President and congress. If they could have pulled it off and been believable, their show would still have been relevant, it just wouldn’t (if it was done right) continue to be a tool to support the liberal views of the writers, producers and actors.

I would have loved to have seen them have the guts to bring in Mrs. James Garvel and ask her to be their conservative Republican advisor. If they had done that, giving her the authority to axe anything that wasn’t at least close to reality and if they had listened to her and really created a TV show about where the nation was living, they could still be going full blast today as a hit series.

I don’t know if the same actors, writers and producers would have been good enough to pull it off. I’m not sure they had the ability to pretend to be something they hated, but if they had been any good in their trades, they should have been able to do so, and the show could have run indefinitely. It was the opportunity of a lifetime for Martin Sheen to really show his stuff as an actor, but either no one thought about it, or they rejected it because they wanted to keep on doing what they had always been doing with the result of achieving total irrelevance.

I’m sorry to see it go. I wish it could have been different. But since it wasn’t, I really won’t miss it because I stopped watching in the fall of 2000 when I tried to watch and found it so totally irrelevant I was bored out of my skull.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . .
and that's my view, from Tanner Creek.

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