Commander in Chief: Wind Beneath My Wing
This week, watching Commander in Chief, I felt as if I was in the middle of a lovable Steve Martin movie, one where the children were full of hi-jinks, the sexual escapades were many, the adults were in charge of Very Important Things and, at the end, everyone met over the breakfast table to giggle and eat homemade pancakes. In other words: schmaltz. In other words: saccharine. Gah! And just when we thought Nathan Templeton was going to be evil again.
Speaking of Donald Sutherland's evilness, I was happy to see just a glimpse of it, but it was prefaced by such a terrifically (I almost wrote, monumentally) obvious and overplayed line from Jim. I'll get to that in a minute. But first:
Isn't this show supposed to be award-winning? Oh, right, it was Geena Davis. Well, congratulations sweetie, I think you deserve it. But with dialogue like this, you may not keep the honor for long.
Tonight the kids had a party in the Oval Office, the President got to talk down a terrorist bent on blowing up Air Force One, and (not to be outdone) Richard McDonald, flirtacious campaign manager, gets a roll in the hay with a cute reporter chick. Yes! I know! It sounds like a cross between Party of Five and Over There.
There were parts of this show that were actually kind of cute. When Becca is showing her friend the button that sends a launch code to a satellite (but really just turns on a light), she's sweet and funny. Out of character, sure, but extremely likable! And when Richard's flirting with the reporter, oh, he's highly likable in a soda-pop kind of way.
But sorry: got NO respect for a campaign manager who so giddily, and inelegantly, sleeps with a reporter. A skilled writer could make an affair like this seem more important. But here? It's gaudy and silly, a 19-year-old flirtation. "So does this mean we're members of the mile-high club?" the reporter trills as they button up (they've had sex in Air Force One, while the plane waiter - on the ground - for the President to finish her tour). I gag, and want to hurry her buttoning, and get her off the screen already.
Then we come to the negotiation bit. It seems that the terrorist who wants to blow the plane up has an agenda: he was a disabled veteran, who partially recovered, and thus his wife is no longer covered by his health care and there's some super-expensive treatment that she could use to get well and no one will give her. Hey, didn't Denzel Washington try this? Why not threaten the President of the United States.
No one's really in danger, as the plane is evacuated. But still, here's another opportunity for Mac to show her balls, or lack thereof. Templeton drools over the prospect of her screwing up. She decides to talk directly to the man, convince him to back down. Is she... negotiating with terrorists? Cue Jim.
Jim: Madame President, this has the makings of a monumental blunder.
Evilly lip-licking look by Donald Sutherland.
Naturally, Mac doesn't negotiate, but somehow manages to talk him down, let him save face, and not promise him a thing. Templeton is foiled again. They all return back to the White House, full of assymetrical zippered dresses and secret satisfaction. Where, unbeknownst to them, the children have lost the Gettysburg Address (one of six copies).
Yes! This is a Disney movie with Lindsay Lohan (before the drugs and anorexia)!
Steven Bochco: thank you for the lovely clothes President Allen wears. But please, please, please, hire some writers and stop using one of those lotto machines to shake up lines from old movies and TV shows and re-organize them in some semblance of TV. Please.