Monday, September 29, 2008

Bartlet for America



Last night I was watching the "Election Night" episode of The West Wing, and something struck me. When I first started watching the series, I identified myself as an audience member seeking solace from the horror that is the current administration. I soon shifted my focus to Josh, because I liked Bradley Whitford in Masterminds, starring Vincent Kartheiser. (bt-dubs, did anyone see Mad Men last night? That Roger Sterling is causing dra-ma.)

As I continued to rewatch Seasons 1-4 and I learned more about the characters, I moved onto CJ, then Donna, then Sam, and finally to Will. Surprisingly, I never saw myself as a Zoe or a Charlie, although I certainly enjoy their current roles in the above-mentioned Mad Men and Psych, respectively. During my previous viewings of "Election Night", I felt a strong Will and Sam connection, with a bit of Elsie Snuffin thrown in, too. But things changed last night as I watched the following scene (at 3:15 in the clip above):


President Bartlet has just won a second term in the White House. As the crowd cheers, the President and his wife Abbey walk off the balloon-filled stage.

ABBEY
That was wonderful.

BARTLET
That was fun.

ABBEY
How you feeling?

BARTLET
I feel great.

ABBEY
You want a glass of water?

BARTLET
No, I'm fine.

ABBEY
You seem a little dry. Sure you don't want a glass of water?

BARTLET
Yeah.

ABBEY
Maybe I should get you a glass of water, just in case. You could hold it in
your hand.

BARTLET
[beat] How'd you know?

ABBEY
You were off the prompter.

BARTLET
Just for a minute at the end. I couldn't see it.

ABBEY
It's all right. There are going to be more days like this. It starts now. It's going to be harder this time.

BARTLET
Yeah, I know. We can still have tonight, though, right?

ABBEY
You got lots of nights. Smart people who love you are going to have your back.

BARTLET
All right.


Now I am President Bartlet. Or I will be very soon. Maybe I have always been President Bartlet, but I didn't realize it. I am no longer the person who will write someone else's speeches or deliver someone else's news. I will be the person whose news gets delivered. Though I will probably write my own speeches. I am going to have "people who would walk into fire" if I told them to. People who will show up to lead. People who will show up to fight. It scares me. Because with great power comes great responsibility. Apparently I am also Spider-Man. Talk about a gift and a curse.

.

No comments: