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Tuesday October 25, 2005 3:47 pm

Commander in Chief:  First Dance

Commander in Chief

I must admit, for weeks now I have been wondering why I like this show.  Although I have always found White House-related dramas interesting, that factor alone has not brought me back to The West Wing on a consistent basis.  In fact, sometimes I feel like Commander is a seriously-dumbed down version of its predecessor.  But then it occurred to me—the reason I DO like the show is because it IS a dumbed-down version of The West Wing.  No serious intellect required.  I get enough of the juicy behind-the-scenes stuff while being allowed to kick back at the same time.  If I’m dozing off and miss a sentence here or there, I am not forever lost. I GET IT.  While The West Wing can be far too serious for its own good, Commander has just enough fluff to keep me amused.

Of course, it is also delicious fun to compare Mackenzie’s fictional administration to our real-life one.  Do I think it is possible for any administration to make decisions as easily as Mackenzie’s makes them?  No.  Do I think our current President makes it harder than it really should be?  Yes.  Does President Allen avoid making rash decisions?  No.  But does she speak far more eloquently than our real President does?  Yes.

And what do I not like about the show?  That would be those pesky kids.  I fully understand this show is about a woman’s ability to balance a position of power with family— but do the kids in the show have to be particularly stupid and whiny?  If I raised my kids to be that annoying, I wouldn’t deserve to be President. 

Case in point:  teenage daughter Rebecca actually had the nerve to ask if she could get out of the state dinner so that she could have a friend over.  Apparently flirting with a lame boy is so important.  What is this—the freakin’ suburbs?  If my daughter thought she could get off so easily on a very important night, she would have been smacked silly. 

As for the youngest child, Amy, two words:  shrieking waste.  I would have immediately put in her private school so that she wouldn’t be underfoot.  After a long day of meetings, Mackenzie tried to have a nice, frisky night with her husband.  Does she get to relax like she deserves?  Of course not.  Her screaming daughter interrupts her parents before it ever gets good.  And what the heck was she screaming about anyway?  I don’t remember.  Mackenzie doesn’t have time for her, and neither do I.  The writers should have better things to focus on than the younger-daughter-reads-older-daughter’s-diary story line.  My sixth sense tells me that Miss Amy will mysteriously go missing next year like that other daughter did on The O.C.

SIDE NOTE:  Why was Mackenzie the first one in the room when her daughter started screaming?  Where the hell was the Secret Service?  If they heard a member of the First Family screaming—isn’t it protocol that they be all over that like white on rice?

Ironically, the LEAST annoying teen on the show is the one with the most unfortunate name—Horace.  He’s got the bod for sin but the moniker of a man in a retiring home.  Maybe that’s why he likes to flirt with older women like Kelly, the press secretary.  All I can say is that we haven’t had a cute First Son in the White House since John John, and Horace is quite easy on the eyes.  So I’ll overlook him.

Thankfully, the kids only amount to a small fraction of the show’s content.  Commander in Chief is about the power of the woman, and the producers are not afraid to exploit that.  Aside from the President, strong woman are sprinkled throughout.  The face of the President - the press secretary - a woman.  The minion that Nathan Templeton sends out to do his dirty work - a woman.  We even learn that the the real force in the Russian government is a woman.  Woo hoo!  As long as they have a First Gentlemen there to take care of all the White House tours, I’ll be watching.

INTRIGUING QUESTION OF THE WEEK:  What’s the story between Jim Gardner and Nathan Templeton’s Chief of Staff, Jayne Murray?  They clearly have a history together and I’m dying to know what is up…

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