I’ll confess — after all my persuasions — to having ceased watching The West Wing early last season. I got to the point where the real-life political situation in the world we actually inhabit was so bad that no amount of Sorkin speechifying, as you put it, could give me hope. And, if anything, the attempt at hope-giving struck me as cloying and unearned. Witness the role of the NSA on the show: in the era of Condoleeza Rice, Anna Deveare Smith’s thoughtfulness seems like a pipe dream. I think The West Wing, for better or for worse, needed the Clinton White House to make its particular brand of political analysis work. Now that it’s Wednesday on the Mickey Mouse Club (when anything can happen), the analysis has turned into an egregious kind of wish-fulfillment.
And Project Greenlight: I’m with you on the superfluity of the film that results from the show. After all, unless Ben Affleck shows up in the last 15 minutes to save the day, how could it possibly work?