Drama review for West Wing

Drama review for West Wing

West Wing

•    Know the network, the dates and the creator.
•    From our article by Giles & Giles, explain the concept of prime time presidentiality. What is their point about the effect that TV and films have on our view of the presidency?
•    To that end, why does TWW use such long shots and weaving tours of the White House?
•    Know the key characters, President Jed Bartlet,  Leo McGarry – chief of staff,  Toby, Josh, Sam & CJ – the key staff,  Charlie – the president’s personal assistant.
•    Consider contrasting portrayals of the presidency as conveyed in the character of Jed Bartlet.  In the pilot episode, where there is a confrontation with members of the Christian right, how does Bartlet enter?  What is the overall portrayal of the president in this first episode?
•    What’s the essential storyline of the episode A Proportional Response?  How is Bartlet portrayed through most of this episode?
•    What is it about Bartlet’s position in A Proportional Response that is valid?  What is less defensible, less in tune with the values of the American presidency?
•    Consider the end of the episode – when the President is dismissive of a potential new staff member – Charlie, and ultimately confronted by his chief of staff – Leo.  What does this cumulative narrative say about the holder of the oval office?
•    What does the West Wing say about the power of the presidency?
•    How is the humanity of the President – and the humanity of his inner team – central to the show’s portrayal of what the presidency is about?  What is said about our reliance on the collective wisdom of our leaders to make reasonable decisions?
•    Include some commentary on the liberal perspective of the program – and its sense of patriotism.


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