These titles are getting a little dull, no? First Choice... First Strike... and now, First Dance. What's next, First Kiss? And while, certainly, the dance was lovely, the scene was a bit ridiculous. I love, love when the political shows do state dinners. They make me long for a job where I would have to regularly dress up in formal wear. (Hey, Jason, any State Meetups planned?) But this one hit a few wrong notes.
First, there was all the cleavage. I haven't seen photos of women at Bush state dinners recently, so I suppose I should reserve judgment. But surely half the staff doesn't show 3/4 of their collective bosoms? Nathan Templeton's assistant... my God, if your dress shows your belly button from the neckline, you know something's gone wrong. And the press secretary (much though I love her) wasn't much better. And she doesn't even have the goods to support such exposure.
That's what I found in this online chat with Washington Post TV critic Lisa de Moraes (scroll down a bit). She says that many TV people are saying that new showrunner Steven Bochco will put a male lead in the President spot around the February sweeps period. Not even remotely sure if this is true or not, but it's an interesting possibility to discuss. Even if there aren't reasons why or indications that this will happen (if anyone has any inside scoop, feel free to post below).
In the opening scenes, while the conflict is being set up, for a minute I thought the show was about to turn into a cliche. Mackenzie Allen asks her sit team to tell her the names of the 12 DEA agents who were executed by the fictional Latin country, San Pasqual. Closeup on her face and... I really thought there was going to be a tear. But no tear, the show can continue without going sour.
Tonight's conflict was interesting, and Allen's solution was actually a bit novel. But I thought this episode wasn't as well-buttoned up as the last few, with lots of stock dialogue and explanations done a bit too prosaically. And Geena kept dropping the "president" bomb here, there and everywhere - which is totally the opposite of the character they tried to develop in the pilot - no? The humble woman who doesn't want power, she just believes in her ability to get things done? She might as well have walked around with a t-shirt that said, "Hello, I'm the President over here!" Let's hope the writers argued over this one...however it went down, Geena Davis lost.
So... you guys don't like this show very much, right? I'm still loving it. There were a few awkward moments at the beginning of this week's episode, but afterward Geena Davis did a way more credible job of an unyieldingly confident, yes, Presidential character than most of the men who play presidents. While they're still talking about the whole "woman" "female" thing all the time, Geena is good enough so that the "woman" "female" thing doesn't need to be an issue. I'd give her a "highly" to "extremely positive" rating for sure.
The first kids however...oh, my God, dumb dumb dumb. Why would anyone tell a little girl she could have ice cream in the middle of the night? Even if she was the daughter of the brand-new president. She's not a great actress, either (sorry honey) - she should be in one of those Hayley Mills movies instead of a political drama. And the whole diary subplot is both unbelievable and badly played. Of course, the movers wouldn't steal something from the new President. Wouldn't that be... I don't know, a Federal crime?
I didn't get excited about this show until a few days ago when I saw an advertisement on ABC. Now? I'm beyond jazzed. The pilot even brought out my husband's latent feminism, and he was shushing his little brother so we could hear the dialogue. It takes situations that could be played for laughs and does them with a straight face... oh, I could have died over, "Hillary had 20. That didn't go over well." It has a great cast, the writing seems very tight and controlled, Geena Davis is perfect, and the scenario as it's displayed is not the least bit insulting to would-be powerful women like me. While there are a few no-duh lines by way of setup ("Mrs. Vice President, the 25th Amendment says that you take over the office if he dies!"), they're outshone by Davis' convincing characterization. This is my favorite new show of the season. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint.
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