Articles on this Page
- 04/20/13--07:29: _New faces of Burber...
- 04/20/13--07:30: _Cumbbie threatens t...
- 04/20/13--07:30: _Kris Jenner's talk ...
- 04/20/13--08:06: _Why PEPSI’S Beyonce...
- 04/20/13--08:08: _Selena Gomez & Just...
- 04/20/13--08:08: _Chris Evans intervi...
- 04/20/13--08:35: _Jeff Zucker says "C...
- 04/20/13--08:48: _Grimes on new album...
- 04/20/13--08:50: _Blur to replace Sto...
- 04/20/13--09:05: _Jaden Smith says Pr...
- 04/20/13--09:29: _Nikita 3x19 Promo: ...
- 04/20/13--09:47: _Fox's Goodwin Games...
- 04/20/13--09:48: _Bioshock Infinite p...
- 04/20/13--10:04: _Emily Blunt + Colin...
- 04/20/13--10:05: _Pharrell performs "...
- 04/20/13--10:43: _Why The Following J...
- 04/20/13--10:43: _Giuliana and Bill R...
- 04/20/13--11:45: _Doctor Who: 7x10 "J...
- 04/20/13--11:45: _Dexter - Final Seas...
- 04/20/13--12:54: _Revisiting The West...
- 04/20/13--07:29: New faces of Burberry: Sienna Miller & Tom Sturridge
- 04/20/13--07:30: Cumbbie threatens to kill the crew of Enterprise in new video
- 04/20/13--08:06: Why PEPSI’S Beyonce Promotion Will Fail
- 04/20/13--08:08: Chris Evans interview with W Magazine
- 04/20/13--08:48: Grimes on new album: 'I'm two-fifths done'
- 04/20/13--09:05: Jaden Smith says President Obama (sorta) told him aliens exist
- 04/20/13--09:29: Nikita 3x19 Promo: 'Self Destruct'
- 04/20/13--09:48: Bioshock Infinite post: Interview with the Luteces
- 04/20/13--10:04: Emily Blunt + Colin Firth Attend Arthur Newman Premiere
- 04/20/13--10:05: Pharrell performs "Get Lucky" live for the first time.
- 04/20/13--10:43: Why The Following Just Might Be the Most Insulting Show on TV
- 04/20/13--10:43: Giuliana and Bill Rancic ready for second child
- 04/20/13--11:45: Dexter - Final Season Promo
- 04/20/13--12:54: Revisiting The West Wing: A Stirring, Comforting Fantasy
Sienna Miller and her fiancé, Tom Sturridge, have been signed for a new Burberry campaign, a source tells Page Six. The pair joins the ranks of the brand’s current and former faces Cara Delevingne, Emma Watson, Kate Moss and Romeo Beckham. Speculation was that Bradley Cooper’s gal pal, model Suki Waterhouse, may be another new Burberry face. Reps for the English line chose not to comment. Sources said they usually announce their autumn/winter ad talent lineups in July.
It seems we're in the midst of a trend of tentpole villains favoring distinct vocal deliveries. From Heath Ledger and Tom Hardy as Joker and Bane in "The Dark Knight" and "The Dark Knight Rises" respectively, to Javier Bardem's Silva in "Skyfall" to Leonardo DiCaprio's Calvin Candie in "Django Unchained," all added some vocal flair to the lines on the page that made those parts stand out. And now Benedict Cumberbatch will try and do it twice in 2013. He'll be behind Smaug in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," and next month he'll gravely intone Captain Kirk and the crew's death in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
A new viral clip has landed that's not all that dissimilar from the "Man Of Steel" Zod spot, with Cumberbatch's villain John Harrison spelling certain doom for the crew of the Enterprise. And no matter how this sequel turns out, it looks like Cumberbatch's turn will be more memorable than Eric Bana's baddie in "Star Trek."
"Star Trek Into Darkness" arrives on May 17th. Clip below and new image via MTV.
The Kardashian updates seem to be non-stop this week, as a pregnant Kim Kardashian finally settles her divorce with ex Kris Humphries only months before baby Kimye's due date. Amongst Kim's divorce and baby news, Kris Jenner fights for a piece of the spotlight by announcing a due date of her own: July 15th. On this date, the "momager" of the Kardashian clan will make her daytime debut on Fox with the premiere of her new talk show "Kris," reports Deadline.
The host of the new show tweeted today:
"My show starts July 15th & I'm so excited! Go follow @krisjennershow for all the latest. #KrisTV"
Twenieth Television first announced on Thursday that Kris Jenner's "pop culture-driven" daytime talk show, "Kris" will be executively produced by Robert Lifton, in addition to the Kardashian matriarch herself. On Monday, July 15 a six-week trial summer run will launch on several Fox-owned stations, including flagships Fox 5 in New York and Fox 11 in Los Angeles.
Lifton reportedly has 20 years of producing experience though he is a syndicated talk show novice. Recently, he created and oversaw E!'s weekday program Daily 10. Previously, he executive produced Fox Sports Network's Best Damn Sports Show Period. Additional credits include upcoming Bravo series Property Envy, Access Hollywood and ESPN SportsCenter.
The executive producer of the new talkshow stated, "Kris has an incredible ability to connect with television viewers, demonstrates a wide range of interests and can successfully embrace light fare and conversation. She has a fantastic chance to be a true breakout personality in the daytime television space."
The limited run for "Kris" is aimed at proving itself for a national niche, states Newsday. Kris will feature celebrity guests, fashion and beauty tips and other lifestyle topics. In addition to hosting the daily one-hour show,
As the mother and "mastermind" behind the Kardashian empire hopes to "make magic this summer" and is "beyond excited to start this new chapter," according to statements reported on TV Guide, the public has mixed reactions to the news of another Kardashian show. With the announcement of the premiere date, came some negative comments posted on Deadline's report:
"God help us all. Can't this family just go away?"
"I WILL NOT BE WATCHING THE KRIS JENNER SHOW AT ALL. I HAVE SEEN ENUFF OF ALL THE TALENTLESS KARTARSHIAN/JENNERS FOR A LIFE TIME! THEY HAVE NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE TO SAY OR TO CONTRIBUTE. WHAT ELSE CAN THEY TALK ABOUT OTHER THAN THEIR GREEDY SELVES, DESIGNER SHOES, BAGS/PURSES/CONSTANT SHOPPING AND MAKEUP SLAVES THAT WAIT ON THEM 24/7?? THEY ARE A TOTAL WASTE OF AIRTIME, SPACE AND MONEY!!!"
"Yes. I'm shocked 20th stoops this low. What happened to the "creative" 20th execs who claim to know how to bring inventive ideas to us. This is "creative" alright!!! "
Some fans, on the other hand, are excited for Kris's daytime debut:
"Congrats to Kris, the Kardashians continue to win and the haters continue to scratch their heads, and I love it, while they sit around hating and belitteling, these ladies are doing their thing and building their empire for their future generation." (posted on HollywoodLife)
"Really well deserved! She's earned this! Goes to show that climbing the ladder and working hard pays off! Congrats Kris K." (posted on Deadline).
Whether you're a hater or a fan of the true star of the Kardashian/Jenner family, Kris Jenner's talk show will be making its debut this summer (along with baby Kimye), as the Kardashian empire continues its expansion.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with Beyonce. She’s immensely talented, a savvy business woman and seems to have a great personality to boot. But what I do have a problem with is Pepsi’s decision to pay her to promote their fizzy cola. It’s a ‘Me’ Cycle mentality and is inevitably going to flop with today’s ‘We’ generation.
I’m not the only one who thinks so. Forbes has written a full article about why their decision is “the choice of an old generation” and mocking Pepsi’s claims of seeking ‘authenticity’ in their marketing.
According to one of Pepsi’s execs, their new marketing strategy stems from the fact that “Consumers are seeking a much greater authenticity in marketing from the brands they love.”
Authenticity, shmorethenticity. Paying a celebrity to promote your brand is as authentic as throwing a tutu on your golden retriever and calling it a ballerina.
Because here’s the crucial point – Beyonce isn’t promoting Pepsi because she loves it (heck, do you seriously think she even drinks the sugary stuff when she has a body like that?). She’s made this very clear, telling her fans in a statement that the deal lets her take Pepsi’s money “…with no compromise and without sacrificing my creativity”.
Would you buy something when the person endorsing it doesn’t even believe in it herself? I’m not too sure what’s going through the Pepsi execs heads… do they think that people will be hypnotized by Beyonce’s red, white and blue clad booty shaking up and down and become powerless to the Pepsi cravings that will undoubtedly sweep over their body?
Newsflash, Pepsi execs. It doesn’t work like that.
If you’ve read Pendulum already, you’ll know that since 2003 we’ve been in what’s known as a ‘We’ Cycle…. where society values very different things to the previous 40 year ‘Me’ Cycle. Right now, authenticity is a KEY social value. People are tired of the bullshit hype and broken promises of the ‘Me’ Cycle where it was all about flashy offers, celebs pointing to the latest product they’re promoting while dazzling the viewer with their abnormally white teeth, and over the top exaggerations of why this product will change your life.
They’re TIRED of all this.
What the general public has shifted to is a desire for authenticity above all else – flaws and all. They’re smart enough to make their own decisions and they want to feel like companies realize that and respect them for it. Not disrespect them by waving glitzy promotions in their faces that pretend the yellow brick road to freedom, success and fabulousness is paved with Pepsi soda cans (or any other branded product).
Sigh. Perhaps someone should send the Pepsi marketing manager a copy of Pendulum…
What are your thoughts about the Pepsi / Beyonce sponsorship – do you think there’s any chance it might work?
Over-saturation of her image + messy tour + wasted promo
The 20-year-old singer flew to Norway earlier this week to see the 'Baby' hitmaker, who is currently on tour, and friends believe they are back together following their affectionate display.
A source told People: "They were holding hands, hugging and they kissed on the lips. They looked really in love, like no fights ever happened before. It definitely looked like they were back together."
Pals recently insisted that despite their on/off relationship, the pair – who split late last year - can't stay away from each other and have an intense connection.
A source said: ""They have a crazy connection. They just can't seem to break their connection. It can be intense."
The reported reconciliation comes not long after it was reported Selena had asked Paramount Pictures to remove her from Bieber's sequel to his Never Say Never concert film, for fear it could be edited to make her look bad.
A source said: "There are plenty of scenes where she's yelling at him, which, if edited, would make her look bad.
"Selena is desperately worried he'll try to exact some sort of revenge on screen."
There is a scene halfway through The Iceman—the based-on-a-true-story movie about Richard Kuklinski, the most prolific, least conflicted hit man of all time—in which Chris Evans, who has become wildly successful in the role of squeaky-clean Captain America, chops up bodies with a giant cleaver. There are bloody limbs everywhere, and Evans, his boyish features obscured by a shaggy beard and long matted hair, is positively gleeful as Robert Pronge, the contract killer who assisted Kuklinski. Evans, 31, is a natural leading man, and although it would make sense for him to protect his superhero status, he is aggressively resistant to being typecast. “I was obsessed with the Iceman,” Evans told me over the phone from Los Angeles, where he is training for the next installment of Captain America (a series that includes Marvel’s the Avengers, Disney’s highest-grossing domestic film to date). “I’m attracted to that sociopathic stuff—the idea of no handcuffs on your personality. A thousand times a day I want to stand on my chair, kick over my water glass, and say what’s on my mind. But I don’t. Pronge did; he was the crazy mayor of his own island.”
Pronge, who sold ice cream when he wasn’t killing strangers for money, had the split personality that Evans finds attractive in the characters he portrays. What made Captain America compelling was the disparity between Steve Rogers, the real-life regular guy, and his crusading, muscle-bound alter ego. And yet when Evans was offered the part, which came with a multi-movie franchise commitment, he resisted—and even went into therapy. He was worried about being seen as a cartoon character for nine more films. Marvel Studios reduced the number to six, but Evans said no again. Finally, he realized that becoming an international star would not be the end of the world. “And if I hadn’t done the movie, I’d be kicking myself,” he said.
Evans grew up in Boston in a family of performers, and his mother still runs a youth theater. “We were like the von Trapps, all singing and dancing. I still sing everywhere—in the shower, in the car, before I got on the phone with you.” As a teen, he went to acting camp (“I was one of the few straight guys there; I realized early that the odds with girls were in my favor”), and at 18 he moved to Los Angeles after booking a pilot. He was cast almost immediately in the 2001 spoof Not Another Teen Movie and then opposite Scarlett Johansson in 2004’s The Perfect Score.
I discovered Evans when he appeared in 2005’s London. I was procrastinating and desperately searching for something to watch at 2 a.m., when I became riveted by a movie in which a couple—Evans and Jessica Biel (who were dating at the time)—are fighting at a party. Evans was seductive and hateful, a rare combination. “When people tell me, ‘I love London,’ I say, ‘You must have had a fucked-up relationship!’ ” Evans said. “I’ve had those arguments with women; I’ve said those things. Sadly, I related to that narcissistic drug addict!”
London did not have much of a release, but Evans doesn’t seem to care. “I’m a bit of a control freak,” he confessed. “And it’s easier to be a control freak on a smaller project. If I were a director, I would never hire me. I want to know about everything—from the music to the camera angle.” Which means, of course, that he wants to direct. “Maybe a musical,” he said, joking. “I was at the Oscars with my mother, and she was out of her mind with excitement. During the dance numbers she whispered to me, ‘You should be up there dancing.’ It was good to remember how cool this stuff can be and why I wanted to be here in the first place.”
At the end up one of the busiest news weeks in recent memory–for CNN and every other major media organization–Jeff Zucker delivered his gratitude to his CNN staff in an internal memo obtained by POLITICO’s Dylan Byers.
Beginning with the declaration, “What a week,” Zucker goes on to praise his team for their “exceptional work.” He wrote, “It was important to see CNN, CNN.com, HLN and CNNI all shine this week,” and let the full staff know, “you have shown the world what makes us CNN.”
Read the full memo below:
April 19, 2013
What a week.
As events unfolded in Boston, and then in Texas, and as they continue to unfold at this very moment in both places, CNN has been there for our audience in every possible way – on television, online and on our mobile platforms. As Wolf would say, that was true for our audiences here in the United States and around the world. For journalists like each of us, these are the times that define what we do and why we do it. All of you, across every division of CNN Worldwide, have done exceptional work. And when we made a mistake, we moved quickly to acknowledge it and correct it. It was important to see CNN, CNN.com, HLN and CNNI all shine this week, often with different stories and different approaches that make each of their roles clear. It is a week that began with a whole new genre of programming for CNN, with the successful premiere of Parts Unknown. Now, as the week comes to a close, I wanted to express my deep gratitude and admiration. You have worked tirelessly, around the clock, to share these stories. And our audiences have responded, making it clear that they rely on us in ever increasing ways. In front of the cameras and behind the scenes, you have shown the world what makes us CNN.
With my thanks and appreciation,
CNN stood out as one of the several media outlets to falsely report the arrest of a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation long before the FBI had even released photos of the two alleged bombers. Reporter John King compounded the problem when he described said-suspect as a “dark-skinned male,” a description he claims he got from multiple official sources, but turned out to be unfounded.
The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart gleefully took down CNN’s “completely fucking wrong” Boston reporting Wednesday night, calling them the “human centipede of news.” He even worked in a subtle, personal dig at Zucker, saying, “as one of their competitors, I guess we just get a little jealous.”
That joke from Stewart was in reference to comments Zucker made earlier this week, in which he said, “Just because Jon Stewart makes fun of it doesn’t mean he’s right” and indicated that as a “competitor” perhaps Stewart was just “jealous.”
In case you missed it, watch Stewart tear into CNN below:
click on image to watch clip
Grimes has revealed that she is "two-fifths done" on her new album.
The Canadian electro-pop artist gave details of her new record prior to her show at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, and rattled off various fractions to explain her progress so far.
She told Billboard : "I'm probably like two-fifths done. I know that's a weird number. I'm more than one-third but less than two-thirds, but I'm not one-half but I'm more than one-quarter."
Grimes, real name Clare Boucher, said that she plans to take her new album to the next level in terms of production. "I feel like it's a step up. I'm really trying to have it sound professional," she explained. "As a producer, I'm trying to challenge myself to just make something that is of a professional quality - not necessarily pop music, but maybe in the sense that Nine Inch Nails is professional quality."
However, Boucher has no plans to head into an expensive studio to achieve better sound quality. While she admits to wanting to make a more "experimental" album, she plans on recording it from the comfort of her own home. "Honestly, it's cheaper for me to build a studio than to rent a studio so I'm in the process", she said. "I just got really nice monitors and I just got a really nice vocal mic a couple of days ago, so I'm just building that."
Last month (March), Grimes revealed that she wants to make a remake '80s cult movie Dune. Boucher is a big fan of the original David Lynch movie and claims it would be her "dream" to make a new film version.
Coachella bosses have revealed that Blur will be headlining the second festival weekend, replacing the Stone Roses.
The Stone Roses will be playing support to Blur, after their headline set did not bring many attendants. The news was announced subtlely on Wednesday afternoon (17 April), when the Coachella website updated to show that the Stone Roses will be starting their set at 9.55pm, and Blur will be performing at 11.35pm.
No official reason has been given for the switch, but many media outlets reported that the Stone Roses did not draw a large crowd, with many festival-goers leaving before or during their set.
Spin wrote, "By the time Ian Brown and crew took to the main stage, the crowd had thinned to an embarrassing level, one more befitting of 2 p.m. than 12 a.m.
"Blur had experienced the same phenomenon an hour earlier on the same stage after half of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' audience fled for other pastures, but attendees' rebuking of British legacy acts reached critical mass for the Roses. Once and for all, Coachella is not Glastonbury."
The Stone Roses didn't seem to appeal to an American crowd. However, some fans have pointed out that on the poster, the Stone Roses and Blur share top billing, suggesting that maybe the two were always intended to switch on the next weekend.
In a new interview in the May 2013 issue of Wonderland magazine, 14-year-old Smith reveals that he believes in the existence of extraterrestrial life and boldly asserts that the President led him to that conclusion.
"I like aliens!" he says. "I think aliens are really cool, because they exist. I talked to President Obama about the extraterrestrials. He said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of aliens, which means they're real." Uh, okay.
"If people think we're the only people that live in this universe, then something is wrong with them," he continues.
The elder Smith has been a long-time rumored member of the Church of Scientology, which strongly believes in the existence of extraterrestrial life and could account for his son's belief. Praise Xenu.
I can't decide if After Earth looks like it will be entertaining or total crap. So what about you, ONTD? Do you believe in aliens?
This is such fucking bullshit. Thing is, what pisses me off the most about what happened in the last episode isn't that it happened, it's that it was telegraphed so broadly (they didn't even bother to develop his character which made it completely obvious they were just holding on to him for this moment), was so utterly predictable and lazy, and was just another iteration of something this show has already done. Apparently this is the formula to ensure UBER tragic characters. Because, obviously, Alexandra Udinov needs to be more fucking tragic.
Someone hold me.
Goodwin Games on!
Fox’s long-delayed comedy premieres Monday, May 20 (8:30/7:30c), and we’ve got your first look at the series’ key art.
The series — from How I Met Your Mother executive producers Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris — stars Becki Newton (Ugly Betty), T.J. Miller (Cloverfield) and Scott Foley (Felicity) as a trio of estranged siblings who must reconnect in order to inherit their late father’s fortune.
“This song just came out last night, and Brooklyn knows all the words,” Pharrell sang Friday, at his first-ever performance of Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky.” He was right. At Brooklyn’s HTC One launch, Pharrell sang the hook to the Random Access Memories single not once, not twice, but three times. Each time, the crowd sang along.
Pharrell’s performance was tame, and he should have done what Jay-Z did at Jermaine Dupri‘s So So Def anniversary party in February — that is, perform to a track without vocals. However, his idea to keep starting over was a good one. It’s as if he knew that after hearing only snippets of Daft Punk’s fourth album, the crowd would be at a fever pitch.
Watch Pharrell’s first-ever performance of “Get Lucky” up top, then after the jump, revisit Kanye West‘s live rendition of “Stronger” featuring Daft Punk themselves.
That's some serious Rihanna levels of performing tbh.
The Following may very well be the most insulting show on television. It’s not that the Fox drama—about the hunt for an escaped serial killer and the community of wannabe serial killers that he’d built up around him—actively insults those who tune in. Indeed, it’s a relatively smart, tense drama peppered with references to Edgar Allen Poe and cultural and technological concepts that aren’t necessarily real (or logical). However, every single episode since the pilot has hinged on one basic concept: The good guys are apparently idiots.
At first, I was okay with this. I could accept that law-enforcement might be fallible; otherwise, the show would be an hour of Kevin Bacon’s former FBI agent Ryan Hardy talking to James Purefoy’s creepy-yet-charming psychopath Joe Carroll, explaining that there was no way that an imprisoned serial killer would’ve been able to use the Internet to set up thousands of websites to gain acolytes without everyone in the prison knowing about it (and logging the IP addresses of those visiting the sites).
So, that initial oversight could be forgiven. After all, there comes a point in almost every story where something impossible — or, at least, hugely unlikely — has to happen to create some form of dramatic tension. And in most of those cases, we find ourselves a willing accomplice to whatever crimes of credibility are committed. Sure, we may roll our eyes in comic frustration and mutter a Oh, come on— but on the whole, we’re willing to forgive a lot if it means exciting things happen in our fictions.
The problem with The Following is that these moments of idiocy are not few and far between. In fact, as Vulture pointed out earlier this week, every single episode of the show has asked us to believe that the FBI agents hunting the serial killing cult have made at least one fatal, and often ridiculous, error in judgment or procedure that prevents them from catching the bad guys.
I get what the show is trying to do here; it’s obvious that we’re meant to feel that, no matter what Ryan and his team does, they remain one step behind Carroll because Carroll is that smart and has planned everything in advance. It’s a way to ratchet up the tension and push us towards the feeling that the authorities aren’t necessarily the ones in control of the situation here — that the good guys are the underdogs, and may not ultimately save the day.
The problem is that Carroll’s successes to date have relied less upon brilliant plans that could only have come from the mind of a genius, and more the result of increasingly inept behavior from his opponents. There’s been nothing particularly impressive — or, indeed, particularly cunning — about the various schemes that have fooled the FBI team investigating the serial killing cult. And as a result, the entire series to date has left the viewer with the increasing feeling that, just maybe, the good guys aren’t very good at what it is they do.
In many ways, that feels as if it breaks some kind of agreement with the audience. In order for a show like The Following to work as a tense drama, the audience should believe that both sides are locked in a fair fight, where both sides are evenly matched. Otherwise, the show becomes something different — a potentially a darker one, where evil is cunning and ever-present, while the forces of good bumble haplessly behind.
Ultimately, that’s why The Following feels so insulting; it expects the audience to not notice — or not care — that its heroes fail to meet the standards that the format expects of them. Instead of working harder to fulfill the dynamic it advertises, or rework the show as the more pessimistic, more downbeat drama that it has become. To keep presenting it as a chase thriller, where the good guys aren’t doomed to failure on account of being incompetent — well, an audience can suspend belief for only so long.
Giuliana and Bill Rancic are ready to have another baby.
The 'E! News' anchor - who underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and is currently unable to carry her own child due to medication - and her entrepreneur husband Bill welcomed their first child Edward Duke via surrogate in August but they already have everything in place to have another child soon.
Bill told In Touch magazine: ''Well, we're not getting any younger. And everyone we've talked to tells us to keep them close in age so they can really connect and have that bond.
''Everything is in place so we can do that.''
Giuliana, who is co-hosting a new reality series 'Ready For Love' with Bill, also revealed that their son is starting to show off his personality.
She said: ''He's happy and loving life, but he's got a fiery little Italian temper! If you take a toy away, his arms get stiff, he grunts, and his face gets red. Bill's like, 'Oh God, he's definitely Italian!''
The Italian-born beauty previously opened up about how she and her husband have tried ''to make each other's lives easier'' since their son's arrival.
She said: ''Bill doesn't even drink coffee, but every day he insists on making my coffee. And you know why? Because his dad made his mom coffee every day, and he thought that was so romantic.''
A spaceship salvage team drags the TARDIS on board, sending its systems into meltdown. As the Doctor marshals the motley salvage crew outside, he realises Clara is still trapped within his malfunctioning ship, pursued by a dangerous group of ossified monsters. He has just 30 minutes to find Clara and save his TARDIS before it self-destructs.
+ Behind the Scenes of Hide:
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching a lot of The West Wing on Netflix. I had followed the show during its original broadcast run, but lost interest, perhaps coincidentally, just after Aaron Sorkin left the series he created. Now that the every single episode is available to view whenever I want, I’ve found myself sucked in, picking up where I left off. When I have some free time and want to decompress, I watch some West Wing. It’s almost therapeutic. Still, all this bingeing raised some questions: Did the producers have some kind of crystal ball that gave them the ability to make shows seem contemporary when watched today? How could Josh not have realized that Donna was in love with him from the start? And, perhaps most important, Is The West Wing such an enjoyable show because it’s also an unrealistic show?
All but the show’s most fervent fans will admit The West Wing is hardly an honest depiction of how politics is practiced in the White House. Watching any one episode is enough to make that clear: Everyone involved genuinely seems to be working towards some idea of a greater good, even if those greater goods occasionally clash. Even the “villains” of the piece — usually, but not exclusively, Republicans, with the religious right popping up as bonus boogeymen when needed — have their own internal moral compass that protects them from the outright demonization.
On some level, The West Wing was clearly intended to be somewhat grounded in the real world; the show’s tendency to create plots built for maximum educational potential — with facts, figures and statistics filling discussions of policy and political intrigue to both bring viewers up to speed — makes that abundantly, and often boringly, clear. For whatever reason, however, the “realism” of the scenarios in the series isn’t reflected in the characters that populate the world of the show.
It isn’t that Josh, Toby, CJ and Donna were idealistic, as such; you might expect that in a few politicians and policy wonks, — even if much of the idealism may get gradually replaced by the self-centered cynicism on display in modern political fictions like House of Cards. No, what truly marked The West Wing‘s characters as fantasy figures was that they were so perfect. Their idealism was paired with a universe in which such an attitude made perfect sense, because things did tend to work out more often that not.
Situations where that wasn’t the case, and our heroes ended up meeting with some kind of failure or resistance, almost always proved to be temporary setbacks on the road to ultimate victory that would be the cause of some conflict, much angst-ridden self-reflection and the ultimate realization that they really were right, goshdarnit. Toby, facing a severe sentence for leaking classified information, is pardoned in the series finale because, Hey, his criminal actions came from good intentions, didn’t they?
I can only imagine what the show looked like to someone who wasn’t on board with The West Wing over-arching message that government was a great thing, and the more government, the better; even when Republicans were brought into the series to offer alternate viewpoints, they would eventually surrender or change their minds if they stuck around long enough. The show’s viewpoint came to win over any attempt at being fair and balanced just as Fox News was popularizing the term.
The West Wing worked so well because it was based on a particular fantasy: not that there are some good people in Washington, but that it is filled with them. That fantasy is as much part of the charm of The West Wing as the fast-paced dialogue and Martin Sheen’s wondrous ability to glower or charm.
The West Wing still appeals so strongly, I suspect, because it offers up a vision of a government that works, or at least actually has the country’s best interests in mind even when it fails, and a President who really is as smart and as caring as we want the Leader of The Free World to be. Both of those thoughts are very reassuring, especially considering the alternative offered by the reality. When it comes down to it, who wouldn’t want to watch that on a weekly basis?