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For One Season, A Woman Will Be President

Commander in Chief premieres tonight and opens to mixed reviews. This tale of a VPOTUS-turned-POTUS gets kinder-than-deserved treatment from The New York Times ("a political fantasy, a feminist-twist on The West Wing") and a predictable downer from National Review (which points out that as lefty fantasies go, it proves a lot: the word "Republican" is mentioned for every villain, but "Democrat" not once in the pilot). Slate calls it "The West Wing with extra cheese." Thankfully, my television still gets horrible reception, so I won't have to see Geena Davis ruin a role that would be perfect for a movie sequel. For those of you in similar despair, I offer fives reasons why Speechless II would be better than Commander in Chief.

  1. In Speechless, Geena Davis is a real Democrat, not a fake one.
  2. If it's as stereotypical as it looks, CiC will have its Republicans in evil-looking black limos. Michael Keaton drove a cute red Morgan.
  3. Bonnie Bedalia as a not-so-evil ex-wife beats Donald Sutherland as an evil senator any day of the week. [1]
  4. Speechless II would be based on the plausible concept that a slightly fluffier version of Karl Rove could get his politically-motivated Democratic wife elected. Commander in Chief assumes that a Republican couldn't put a popular and conservative woman on the ticket.
  5. Speechless II might actually be funny.

[1]: UPDATE--Now that I think of it, if the CiC writers had any kind of real guts, they'd have switched gender expectations on boths sides. Bonnie Bedalia as an evil right-wing Senate Majority Leader would have been a fantastic choice with intriguing storytelling oppotunities. Come to think of it, even a second-rate comic book can push the boundaries far enough to have a major character be a pro-life Democrat.

UPDATE II: There's an old joke about Rupert Murdoch launching Fox News to address an underserved niche market--half of America. As television planners are desperately trying to get viewership back from the internet, I'm befuddled by their strategy. On the one hand, we now have two shows with Democratic Presidents (ok, one "independent") to satisfy political wish-fulfillment. Meanwhile, a thoroughly moderately-written, not particularly exciting drama that takes religion seriously--WB's 7th Heaven--is starting its 10th season. That's not just the longest-running family drama ever, but it's got more legs than Buffy and its spawn and unless I remember incorrectly The X-Files, and is getting towards the age of Murder, She Wrote. Looking at other 1996 shows, I see that Wikipedia lists Spin City and Everybody Loves Raymond. Am I just reading my demographic tea leaves incorrectly, or is there some ad space waiting to be sold here?


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