As I’ve previously noted, I don’t have a lot to say about TV shows for the most part, but today I want to write about an episode in the last season of The West Wing that I heard recently.
I say “heard” because I wasn’t really watching so much as listening to it while I played Zuma in another window on my laptop. This seems like a bad confession to make, but I say it because a) I have a preference for embarrassing transparency in blogging and b) I’m not sure actually seeing the images would matter. Often when “watching” West Wing I’ll think of Stephen Dubner’s observation on his Freaknomics blog that Aaron Sorkin creations are worth just listening to, even without the visuals. (Admittedly, Sorkin wasn’t still writing West Wing in season seven, but even so.)
Anyway, the episode I want to talk about, titled “The Debate,” is unusual first off because it’s staged as a presidential debate and not as a regular episode. And I mean that literally: Except for the first few minutes, the show looks like a televised debate, with a studio audience, a (real news anchor) moderator, and lighting that’s a lot closer to an actual debate than an hour-long drama. As it turns out, the episode was shot live, but I didn’t know this while watching it, and frankly, I think the effect of this knowledge is negligible. Whether you agree with that philosophy, it’s what I’m sticking with for the moment.