The One Where Chandler Goes to the White House

The West WingIf you’re familiar with the concept of ‘jumping the shark’, a kind of death watch for the creative plausibility of any given television show, then you might be tempted to say that NBC’s “The West Wing” has seen the aerial view of a fin. See, they’ve gone ahead and had Matthew Perry turn in a few guest appearances, which is just the oddest ploy to boost ratings that I can imagine, in spite of the continued success of “Friends.”Though Perry’s involvement does up the show’s absurdity quotient, it’s not by much. What I mean is, the show was already a liberal fantasia on the order of a Saturday morning cartoon anyway, and its faithful viewers have always been willing to partake in a more serious suspension of disbelief than required for, say, “Star Trek.”

Getting past the conceit of Chandler Bing as a White House staffer (tonight he toppled the Vice-President!) isn’t that much more of a stretch, and besides, for all its left-leaning daydreaming, the show remains exceptionally well-scripted. At least it appears to be to this willingly gullible liberal in search of relief from the infuriating transgressions of the real White House.