Thursday, November 17, 2005

Madame President

I'm really enjoying "Commander in Chief," ABC's hour-long drama starring Geena Davis as the first woman president, a left-leaning political independent. My short attention span generally has kept me from enjoying hour-long shows, so this is indeed a rarity. There have been some exceptions over the years: shows premised on unceasing celebrity cameos ("Love Boat," "Fantasy Island"), and also family dramas, which is why I've been a fan of "Little House on the Prairie," "Family," "Eight Is Enough," "Our House" and "Party of Five."

That brings me back to "Commander in Chief," which is very much a family drama about the president, her ambitious husband and their kids: teenage twins (the boy's liberal and the girl's conservative, though not much has been made of that since the pilot), and a tweener daughter. All this, plus your workaday Washington conniving.

In these troubled times, "Commander in Chief" is wish fulfillment for me and others like me. A woman president! Who cares about human rights! Who doesn't play political dirty tricks!

The show's criticisms of the Bush White House are muted, but pointed. In an amusing exchange last night, the teenage daughter complains to her mother about the boy who tried to use her for sex, then dumped her when she said she wasn't ready. With a mischievous grin the president asks (I paraphrase), "Should I have him arrested under the Patriot Act and sent to prison in Syria?" It's a sick joke, and it's only funny because it's true.

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