As I Cee It

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Note: I originally wrote this post before I finished the series, but since then I have completed my journey through the West Wing.  As such, I added an additional actor to this and decided not to edit the intro.  Mostly because I don’t want to.

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I was going to wait until I finished watching the complete series, but I have to mention this now before I forget it. You know how me and Sir Netflix have been watching The West Wing? Well, I’ve come across three actors from Shondaland shows and I refuse to believe that’s a coincidence.

Joshua Malina: Regular cast member, seasons 4-7. Now he stars as former US Attorney David Rosen, Scandal.

Kate Burton: Guest starred in Season 5, episode 12. She later went on to play Dr. Ellis Grey, Grey’s Anatomy and Vice President Sally Langston, Scandal.

Jeff Perry: Guest starred in S4, episode 18. If Mr. Perry looks familiar, it’s because he’s Thatcher Grey, Grey’s Anatomy and more recently, became fantastically evil on Scandal as Cyrus Beene.

Bellamy Young: Guest starred in S5, episode 10. We know her in Shondaland as First Lady Mellie Grant, Scandal.

James Pickens, Jr.: Guest starred as the Mayor of DC in S5, episode 15. He’s more well known to you as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy.

Matt Letscher: Guest starred as a federal prosecutor in S7, Episode 15.  On Scandal, he’s the one and only, the devious nutso himself Billy Chambers.

Listen. If it was just one person, maybe I could’ve believed it was a coincidence. One of those “oh, hey, look! Dr. Webber was on West Wing!” But six? SIX? It should be noted that when I was searching for Mellie’s real name, her Wiki page also notes a guest starring role on Grey’s Anatomy. I think you’re all smart enough to see the pattern for yourselves here.

After writing this, I googled “west wing shonda” out of curiosity. You know what came up? Quotes from Ms. Rhimes herself stating that she’s seen every episode of the Aaron Sorkin show at least five times.

My work here is done.

Surely you’ve all been reading long enough to know that television is quite possibly the love of my life. It does a lot for me. Makes me happy, sad, laugh, cry. And it makes me question things. Lately, I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of the Vice President. Specifically, what in the world does the Vice President of America do?

Don’t laugh. I’m serious. What does the VP do? We know he gets to take over if something happens to the president, but besides that… what does he do?

Now, what television has taught me is that the President and Vice President have a contentious relationship that is nothing like President Obama and VP Biden portray to the public.* In fact, as far as television is concerned, the VP is nothing but a Mr. America pageant scholarship winner going about the country and world spreading goodwill and waving. I googled “what does the vice president of America do?” and you know what I got? Nothing. Nothing I couldn’t have learned from TV.

Here are the fun/interesting things that TV has taught me. Please see the following examples:

Scandal (ABC): The President on Scandal is Fitzgerald Grant and the Vice President is Sally Langston. They are hardly ever together, and when they are, the tension is so thick between them it’s ridiculous. They don’t seem to have the same agenda, and VP Langston hates that she pretty much has to do whatever Fitz tells her. He literally blackmails her at one point so that she’ll go along with what he wants. What in the hell is that?

Sally is seen doing: Pretty much nothing. The only time she’s seen on the show is when the president summons her and for the brief period when Fitz was incapacitated, she took over as president and started running things. Besides that, I guess she just trots around the country reluctantly spreading his message.

Veep (HBO): I don’t like this show, as it’s not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. But this one was the first show to knock me over the head with the President/VP relationship. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is VP Selina Meyer in this one. A running gag on the show is her constantly asking the staff if the president has called. As in, she never talks to him. I feel like I saw an episode where she tries to get in contact with him, but he never calls back. How is this possible?!

Selina is seen doing: Speeches. She goes out and gives speeches, usually places where the president can’t be bothered to go and she makes appearances in random places like an ice cream/yogurt shop. A dog and pony show, I tell you. The only time she was important was when they thought the president was sick and she gets moved to the Situation Room for a potential crisis.

The West Wing (NBC, 1999-2006): President Josiah (Jed) Bartlett is in charge here with VP John Hoynes as his number two. Everyone in the White House knows President Bartlett and the VP don’t get along. As with the previous examples, they’re hardly ever in the room together. For the most part, President Bartlett has someone on his staff call the VP when they need him to do something for them. They send him about the country, smiling and waving, and they ask him to vote their way in ties.

Hoynes is seen doing: Television spots, interviews, walking around, being rude to the president, writing a tell all.

Bob Russell is the second VP, after Hoynes resigns. The first thing he demands when being considered for the position is regular meetings with the president. He does not want to be like the previous VP who knew not nary a thing that was going on in the White House.

Russell is seen doing: Making jokes about himself and how dull he is, being dull, openly planning and plotting his campaign for president for when President Bartlett’s term is up. I mean, he has his staff leak information so he can “distance himself” from the Bartlett administration for his own run. WHAT?!?!

The moral of the story is this: According to television, the Vice President is nothing but a glorified understudy.

Do you know what the VP does? Can you tell me? Because the internet (and public schools and universities) has failed me.

* I like VP Joe B and in my mind him and President Obama are the bestest of friends. Like maybe they have poker nights together and their wives hang out and stuff. They seem like they have each other’s back. They always seem so cool with each other. What if that’s not true??? Oh, my heart would hurt.

Side note: In each of the television examples, the vice president was the president’s opponent in the primary election. That could be why their relationships are awful. Perhaps picking the person you demolished (as long as you in and get to be president while the other person does not, it counts as being demolished, even if it’s by 3 votes) in an election to run as your VP is not the best idea ever thought.

I split this post into two because it was really long. The first half concentrated on the shows that are actually airing right now (as far as I know) and the ones that I’ve quit watching. Here, we’ve got the shows that I’m catching up on.

NETFLIX:
Hart of Dixie (CW) – I’m kind of embarrassed about this one. Netflix told me I would 3.0 like it and I didn’t have anything to watch one day so I queued it up on a Friday night (in December, maybe?). Four episodes later, I couldn’t tell you why I was still watching. Nor could I explain why Ioke up the next morning and watched 5 more. I finished the first season, plus the second season premiere in less than one week. I’m not watching it now as it airs, but when season two hits Netflix (I’m thinking late fall), I’ll probably jump back in.

The West Wing (NBC, 1999-2006) – Why didn’t anyone tell me how awesome this show is? I’m in the early episodes of season three and I’m enthralled. Enthralled, I say. Man. Aaron Sorkin is a freakin’ genius and my newly discovered love for this show has led me to…

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