Political intrigue has taken a dark swoop ever since Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing waved farewell from the tarmac on May 14, 2006 (how did liberals survive the Bush era without it?), fading into the afterlife of cable reruns, boxed DVD sets, and fond mentions in Maureen Dowd columns. It’s as if this Emmy-bestrewn series, set in the White House, took TV’s last traces of Frank Capra idealism with it, leaving behind a Venus-flytrap jungle of power junkies and craven flunkies doing the bidding of turf warriors and vicious infighters running agencies that barely have names, only cryptic initials. Forget what you’ve seen on C-SPAN, the nonprofit public-affairs network and insomnia remedy whose static cameras portray the cog workings of government as a vast, multi-chambered drone machine, an ongoing civics lesson devoid of color, dash, and lingerie-model sex romps intended to wrest a bill out of committee. Beneath the glacial pace of progress is a churning, libidinous top-dog struggle. The genre of Washington melodrama is a far more malignant game of thrones, blood pooling beneath the presidential seal.
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If you haven’t seen Scandal yet, you should get on that. The first season (nine episodes) are pretty ridiculous (cheesy, implausible, a few giant plot holes). But it’s all enjoyable, and season two turns out to be quite clever in terms of plot and character development.
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FBI Director Robert Mueller to receive an update on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the Oval Office, April 15, 2013. Seated with the President are Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The White House on Flickr.
President Barack Obama runs around his desk in the Oval Office with Sarah Froman, daughter of Nancy Goodman and Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, July 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)