Friday, February 5, 2010

The West Wing: Mr. Willis of Ohio

I've been watching the first season of The West Wing in my free time this past month, and I like it. Back when I first watched it, I enjoyed the drama, the plot and learning about government. But more than that, it taught me while letting me have fun.

Most importantly, being engaged with the show which was smart, I felt smart. Or at the very least a part of the elitists. :)

Watching the show again (which so far works hard not to be too liberal or conservative) I can't help but be impressed with Aaron Sorkin's writing, and his incredible combination of ethos, pathos and logos.

This clip from the 6th episode of the first season, Mr. Willis of Ohio, is especially interesting as an idealistic and not realistic moment, where partisan politics is demonstrated in the reverse by a lovable every-day American and argumentation. Naturally, especially relevant in the last year since Obama was elected. But that's just on the surface.

Each episode has just the right plot combination of character development, building the "world" in a continuous story, and a stand-alone episode. It is also a good combination of idealism and realism, how to stick to your principles regardless of pragmatism, when your principles are counter-productive to your principles, and when practicality needs to come first.

Then, it displays arguments for and against varying issues, with a different ideological bias each time -- but always debating each other.

It frames it all with fun (friendship), respect (president's authority), and politics (everything else).

Personally, I find it interesting to see how the Internet changed our lives these past couple of decades, and how this change is reflected in the show.

I intend to keep watching this second time, and I certainly enjoy myself -- which is what matters when it comes down to it. Aaron Sorkin in a master manipulator, but unlike most of the rest of Hollywood, I allow him to manipulate me.

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