Does "The West Wing" piss anyone else off?

Anything Aaron Sorkin touches seems to me to turn into a bunch of liberal propoganda. And the thing is - the power of the guy who gets to write the scripts, the dialogue, set the direction of the show, etc., is the power to propogandize.

It occured to me, watching this show, how easy it is to implant your views on the viewer. You have control of the dialogue, so you can create a character who advocates your views that’s well spoken, with seemingly good arguments - and let him speak them unchallenged. And you can create the opposition’s viewpoint (which you’re also writing) to make them sound like bumbling idiots.

Of course, if they made them sound like blatant bumbling idiots, people would see it. It’d be so obvious… “Oh, he’s just making conservatives look dumb.”

And so he writes the conservatives so they have somewhat plausible, but weak arguments, and they’re always lame compared to The Enlightened Liberal Character’s arguments, and over time, it would influence a person’s views towards those of the writer, in the same way that more simplistic propoganda works. Only, since it’s sleek, and well written, no one picks it up as propoganda.

As an example off the top of my head: The president and the vice president were discussing concealled carry laws. The president was carrying on about blood baths, and people packing heat, and then poses the question: If the point is to deter criminals, why would they want concealed weapons? Wouldn’t they want them in the open?

Of course, to this question, I could give 5 very valid answers. But the character advocating the conservative view? Well, “Uh… I really don’t know sir, I guess that doesn’t make sense.” [paraphasing, it’s been months].

Anyway, I’m ranting. Does this piss anyone else off?

Hmm… I’m not American so the politics portrayed in The West Wing mostly fly over my head. However, I’m a little irritated at times by the cosy smugness of the show - the President and his staff always seem to come off as oh so clever compared to their spiteful opponents - but that’s not enough to turn me off the show.

On the contrary, the performances, production values and snappy dialogue keep me tuning in each week.

I won’t watch the show, personally, but I have seen a few out-takes and such. Hollywood and the major news organizations and the press, academia, etc. etc are virtual wings of the DNC and have been for quite some time, so I watch very little “TV” as such. Nothing more odious than a Hollywood Limousine Liberal.

“pissed off” doesn’t begin to describe it.

I think I’ll just skip over Cafe Society and send this directly to the BBQ Pit.

Only two things piss me off about the show:[list=1]
[li]There isn’t a new episode every week of the year[/li][li]My beloved CJ isn’t in every single scene[/li][/list=1]
Other than that, I love it-- because of the characters, the writing, and the politics.

Bartlett in 2004!

Go read “The View From Sunset Boulevard” by none other than Ben Stein. (yes, that Ben Stein!) He basically set out to learn what people in the entertainment business thought about the world. In a nutshell he learned they were people with delusions of sophistication and a set of prejudices all their own they mistake for “enlightenment.” He wrote the book over 20 years ago, but I think the basic things he discovered are still true.
I think putting the nexis of popular entertainment around L.A. was a great idea. It gives us a place to ship all the people who aren’t better educated than anyone else yet persist in believing in their own superiority.

Well, I watched it for two full seasons, and then I just got tired of it. The only thing I really like about it still is that it really pisses off conservatives. Conservatives stole the real White House in the 2000 election and all we liberals get is this lousy sanctamonious prime time soap opera. The real liberal president, Bill Clinton, is a lot smarter than Jed Bartlett (named after the first fellow to sign the Articles of Confederation from Vermont, just in case you wanted to know) and a lot more human.

The irony being that he is one of ‘those’ people.

Ditto. Except for the CJ thing. I think Donna is hot. And Ainsly is a regular in my dreams and I wish she had a bigger part.

I sort of see your point. Except, instead of the word “liberal”, I would use the word, “logical” or “correct” :smiley:

You at least have to admit, it’s very well-produced show. And, as an admitted leftist, I really do agree with most of the show’s political views. But hey–Aaron Sorkin is a liberal, so what do you expect him to write? And obviously the public agrees–witness the great ratings the show gets! I mean, it’s too bad the show doesn’t jibe with your politics, but no-one is forcing you to watch it!

I don’t get upset when I watch JAG. I guess I could get pissed off by the unrelentingly pro-government slant of the show. I could bitch that they don’t at least occassionally portray the other side & show all of the horrors and atrocities caused by the military over the years. But I just accept the fact that it’s a piece of jingoistic propaganda.

(and isn’t it funny how those “liberal” show are usually well made & interesting, while most “conservative” shows are trite, shallow pieces of crap?)

Here is the thing, if the left wing uh, west, west wing showed a president of conservative nature there would have been calls for cancellation after the first show.
And debate about that show would have been food for Café Society or Great Debates and not immediately thrown to the pit.
Thank God they didn’t change to a Republican president on this show after the election. Cause it would have little more than a 1 hour a week Bush Bash.

The Comedy Central channel had a right wing West Wing called “That’s My Bush” produced by the same guys that do South Park, both Republicans. (I watch South Park and I laugh at the lampooning of liberals in it.) It was a disaster. Bush has leaned into the “stupid” satire, meaning that all presidents are mocked, and he decided that being mocked for being stupid was far preferable than naive (Carter), clumsey (Ford), crooked (Nixon), horny (Clinton), and went for dumb like Papa and Reagan. But it just go tiresome really quickly. And if someone were to do a serious right wing drama behind the scenes, that would pretty much end conservatism among the vast majority of conservatives.

Ari: I’m just not going to let the press get away with reporting events outside the way we see them…

Karl: That would be bad for General Electric’s shareholders, and what’s bad for GE’s shareholders is bad for America…

GW: I’ll play golf with Kenny Boy, damn what the world thinks…, at least till he’s indicted.

To even suggest they’re comparable…

It’s the 'shrooms talking.

SenorBeef, you are entirely correct about The West Wing being slanted to the left.

Welcome to Television Land, where with the press of a button, you can remove an offensive show from your universe and replace it with something of your own liking. You have freedom to chose what you watch. A Republican’s dream.

More seriously, though, just as kids are taught critical awreness through literary analysis, I think that effort should be made to extend such analysis into film and television.

Actually, I think he started out in politics.

Yes, he was a speechwriter for Nixon, and a lawyer (still is, I think). But he’s been in the entertainment business for a long-ass time.

Senor Beef, if you think the concealment conversation was way off, you should have seen the episode a few weeks ago when they discussed (preached) about ANWR.

My political views lean toward the left but I was very uncomfortable with the way the opposition argument was presented in the episode. (It wasn’t) They basically said that all the land in the reserve would immediately be made uninhabitable and the caribou would not migrate thru there (unproven, but stated as fact.)

I expect a left wing view on the show, but I think it really diminishes the good points of the show when they go off on such one sided lectures. I will however, continue to watch.

You mean Bartlet in 2002. The election cycle is 2 years off from our world. :slight_smile:

As a slightly left-leaning independent, I get tired of this argument. Believe me, I’d be the first to cut and run if the show was half as self-righteous as a lot of the real-life liberals (and conservatives, really) that I know.

The reason the liberal perspective generally wins out is because the show focuses on a liberal administration, and we enjoy seeing our heroes win. If the Republican point of view was consistently portrayed as right in the show, why would we be rooting for Bartlet and his people? I think, within that, the show’s done an admirable job of not demonizing either conservatives or their point of view. If you go back to the second-season episode where Ainsley (the Republican lawyer who was hired by the Bartlet administration) was hired, she got to win quite a few arguments. C.J. herself made a decent case against affirmative action a few weeks ago, IIRC, and so on.

Yeah, often Sorkin falls into outright preaching his own point of view, and the show pretty much always suffers when he does that. But most of the time, the show isn’t about promoting liberalism, it’s about following these compelling characters through their adventures, regardless of whether you actually agree with their politics.

Cozy smugness is built into the very fabric of American politics. It is the base upon which more energetic partisan blowharding rests. Sounds like the show nails it.