I am currently being driven nuts by the ads everywhere, but everywhere, for Commander in Chief (new on ABC1 in the UK, yada yada). The program is about the first female President of the USA, and the strapline is “Wife. Mother. Leader”. I don’t think any of us who grew up with Margaret Thatcher can relate to that. Maggie: Wife. Mother. Leader. I don’t think so. Or George W. Bush: Husband. Father. Leader. Doesn’t work, does it? It’s just another example of how women, especially in American culture, are so often shown in the context of their family, rather than first and foremost as their own person. And no, it’s not the same for men, even in fiction. The President in the West Wing manages to have a wife and children, and conflicts that go with that, without that dynamic defining the show.
That said, on Sunday I was feeling rough and came across the show on TV so decided to give it a go. To add a touch of realism, she’s not elected to the post, but gets there after the death of the president (I think – I missed the first episode). Sarah described it as West Wing for stupid people. I agree, but I’m also just intregued enough that I’d watch it again should I happen to come across it by accident. If only they’d change the annoying, patronising ads.