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Opinion: 'The West Wing' reunion shows us a world very, very far away

October 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The reunion performance of 'The West Wing' will resonate with those who need a booster shot of nostalgia, who are looking to escape America's 2020 politics, not transform it, says Jeff Yang. He warns that by making a direct appeal to fans of an earlier (and fictional) presidential era, the actors and creators pulled an anodyne scrim across what's happening in today's White House.

(CNN)In the latest of what seems like a steady stream of television and film reunions in the time of Covid, the well-preserved cast of the beloved political drama "The West Wing" came together Thursday for a staged reading of one of the show creator Aaron Sorkin's favorite episodes: "Hartsfield's Landing," the 14th episode of the show's third season (of seven, for those who may have watched occasionally but failed to stick it out to the bitter end) which originally aired in 2002.

Yes, it's certainly fun dipping back into the vintage milieu of a more innocent time, but Bradley Whitford, out of character, jokingly admitted something close to the truth in his introductory remarks before the performance: "We went to When We All Vote and said, 'You guys are a great organization, helping to get out the vote, combat voter suppression -- what can we, the People's Choice Award nominated cast of the West Wing do to help?

And regardless of who wins this election, the world on the far side of it won't look anything like "The West Wing. " It's long past time for us to stop trying to wishfully make America Bartlet again, and get to work instead digging it out of the wreckage.

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