Monday, November 7, 2005

Vinick vs. Santos

So, if you watched the presidential debate on The West Wing, who do you think won and why?

Update: Okay, here’s my two cents on the debate, cross-posted from comments at Musing’s musings.

Three things kept creeping into my mind as I watched. The first was that I had to remind myself that this was series TV and not the real thing. They got the atmospherics right, including the occasional stumbles over words and phrases. I kept forgetting that we are in the closing days of the Bartlet administration and it came as bit of a shock to hear Santos refer to “President Bartlet.” That’s a testimony to the skills of the creative team.

The second thing was shaking off the previous roles both actors have played that have stuck in my mind. I first saw Jimmy Smits play Othello at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in the early 1980’s. In spite of everything else I’ve seen him in (L.A. Law and NYPD Blue), I still see him as the Moor of Venice. And I am still seeing Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce; that may be because I watch a couple of hours of M*A*S*H on the Hallmark Channel each afternoon when I get home. But I think they were able to rise above those roles and I really heard the characters coming through.

Finally, it was truly sad to get to the end of the debate and realize that these men were not my choices in the next election. I could find worth in both candidates and I was happy to see Santos say things that I had wished both Gore and Kerry had said during their campaigns. While I felt that Vinick was doing little more than repetitions of his stump speech, at least he sounded like he had thought of what he was going to say. I knew that if I had these choices, I knew I would be voting for someone as opposed to against the other one.