[Click above to embiggen: I don’t think that comparison to the idealized Elizabeth “Bess” McCord character on CBS’ Madam Secretary does Hillary Clinton any good whatsoever.]
Assumption: Hollywood uses tee-vee shows and movies to push the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as president, as part of a diabolically genius PR strategy to ensure that people believe there is no other possibility besides her being the president. Since Hillary-esque characters on these shows are always portrayed in a positive light, conventional wisdom is that the characters are supposed to make Hillary more likable or respected (as this omnipresent female political figure that is such a part of our lives that no one can even imagine a world where she doesn’t win the election).
Argument: What if shows like CBS’ Madam Secretary actually HURT Hillary Clinton’s chances, since the real Hillary pales in comparison to the on-screen idealized version of her. Especially the version that Tea Leoni plays, Elizabeth “Bess” McCord.
Today I thought I’d run through a fun thought exercise that is rooted in a weekly fight that would occur at my house back when Justin and I still lived together, because I’m a big fan of the show Madam Secretary and watch it on CBS’ website every Monday morning. The show airs live on Sunday nights, but I haven’t had a television in more than seven years now (and I can’t think of a single person I know who still watches tee-vee live anyway).
Justin (and his entire family) hate Hillary Clinton and believe her to be the Devil incarnate…and so he would get really bitter and nasty if he’d walk through the living room and I’d be watching Madam Secretary on my screen. This is one of many shows I’d have to watch before he would wake up or when he was doing something else, because I just never had the energy to listen to his tirades about Hillary (or even just the huffing and puffing he’d do, going on about how the show was just propaganda for her).
In my opinion, Madam Secretary actually really hurts Hillary Clinton, despite it being about a blonde woman who is Secretary of State. All Justin can see is that “it’s a blonde woman who is Secretary of State” and so he believes that CBS is just running pro-Hillary propaganda. What I see on the screen might be a blonde female Secretary of State, but “Bess” on the show is so much more competent and principled than Hillary Clinton has ever been. She’s much more likable too…she always does the right thing…and she’s the kind of Secretary of State that we all wish we had in real life.
I don’t think the show is about Hillary Clinton as much as it is an escapist fantasy that I happen to deeply enjoy. I love being able to sit down once a week and escape into a world where America actually has a competent, tough-as-nails, brilliant Secretary of State working hard to do what’s right for the American people. I don’t think we’ve had such a person in existence in my entire adult lifetime. I certainly don’t remember a time when we had anyone in government who was as rock star awesome as Bess is on this show.
One of the things that inevitably led to Justin and I no longer being together is that he hates most things and angrily shouts out against them, whereas I usually find something to like about anything (apart from reality tee-vee, which I agree is in most cases irredeemable). Justin doesn’t like scripted shows of any kind, because he feels the writers are all in cahoots sending secret messages and engaging in propaganda. He prefers watching FOX News clips on YouTube or whatever and getting himself caught-up in whatever the outrage of the day is. I would not sit and watch those talking heads on cable news if you paid me.
Even if a show like Madam Secretary is pushing a political agenda, as a writer I can recognize what they are doing and it amuses me when they are so transparent. Take for example the premiere episode of Madam Secretary that aired on 10/2/16: Global Warming Alarmism was shoehorned into the plot of an otherwise thrilling episode that had so many cool twists and turns that I lost count. It was like some network executive got ahold of a really great script (I’m talking Pelican Brief, John Grisham in his prime great) and then decided that all the well-executed political intrigue was just not enough for one episode…so they had to cram in some Global Warming Alarmism for good measure.
If Justin was still in Chicago and not Arkansas, he would have been apoplectic…talking through the rest of the show, forcing me to listen to one of his diatribes about how the Left’s propaganda is everywhere and no place is safe. While the show did jab that nonsense in there, the nonsense amounted to two minutes or so of plot point in an hour long episode. I rolled my eyes at the Alarmist foolishness…and I smiled too, because the joke is on them for shoehorning in things that will make this episode age poorly in the future. Ever see a really old episode of a show from the early to mid 1970s where someone is going on about The Impending Ice Age? If the writers want to make themselves look incredibly foolish by using this show to preach the Left’s favored Apocalypse talking points of the moment, then the consequence will be that someone watching Madam Secretary a few years from now will laugh at how stupid the Alarmist digression in this episode was.
To me, since this show is set in an alternate universe (where they have different presidents and different countries and other different world leaders than we do, as the storyline necessitates), when they go on about the sea levels rising and all that, this is something that is happening in the fictional world they created and I don’t spend the hour angry that the writers shoved this bit into the plot. But, that’s me.
I have other friends besides Justin who hate the show too, though they’ve never watched it. They just hate it because they think that CBS is trying to push Hillary Clinton on them by way of the show.
My argument to that is simple: if you watch the show you’d see that the woman Tea Leoni is portraying is nothing like Hillary Clinton. For one thing, the character Bess is honest to a fault. Even Hillary’s most loyal supporters must admit she lies nonstop. She is forever being caught saying one thing to this group over here and the complete opposite to some other group. She has lied directly to cameras for her entire time in the public’s eye. At times, her lies have been entertaining and part of the never-ending saga that surrounds the Clintons. Other times her lies have been sickening, such as the lies she told related to Benghazi, the Clinton Foundation, her email servers, Huma Abedin’s true influence over her, etc.
Personally, I think if you are someone who actually watches Madam Secretary you will be angry with Hillary Clinton and want to know why she couldn’t be like Bess.
This is what happens to me every single time I watch that show: as soon as the episode ends, I walk away thinking, “Why the hell can’t there be someone like that FOR REAL in our world?” I then get incredibly angry with Hillary Clinton for all the stupid things she’s done since 2008. The idealized character Bess would never have done any of the disastrously dumb things that Hillary seemingly did with glee after becoming Secretary of State.
Watching Madam Secretary is like watching one of those Top Chef sort of shows and seeing flawlessly-executed culinary concoctions paraded across your screen…while eating soggy burgers from a McDonald’s drive-thru. Justin would argue that Top Chef is trying to get you to want to go to McDonald’s more, because Top Chef is about food and McDonald’s sells food. He doesn’t seem to get that if you compare what’s being shown on Top Chef to what the reality is like with dinner time at McDonald’s that there are few people who will want McDonald’s after they see how good they could have it on Top Chef.
I know Madam Secretary is just a tee-vee show and that Tea Leoni is just an incredibly lovely and likable actress, but I do romantically want to live in a world where someone as incredible as Bess is our Secretary of State. In the latest episode, she gave up something she personally wanted because she knew it was for a greater good. Her husband on the show, played by Tim Daly (the guy from Wings, who never ages and is still as gorgeous now as he was in the 1990s), is a professor of religious studies who is also secretly a spy. He is a good and decent man who is brave and also always does the right thing. I don’t know how anyone can stack Bill Clinton up against that and think that the Clintons are made to look good by this show. Again, if you watch Madam Secretary you end up being more disgusted with the Clintons than you would be if you didn’t watch the show.
For one hour a week, CBS is basically presenting a program that shows you what soggy, stale, old, nasty burgers the Clintons have chosen to be…while inviting you into this fantasyland where in an alternate reality there is a blonde female Secretary of State who is exactly the sort of principled, integrous, honest, courageous, and admirable public servant that our nation deserves at the helm of the State Department.
I don’t think this how helps Hillary at all. I think that the average person tuning in each week will be more disgusted with Hillary and her antics than they would be if Tea Leoni’s Bess McCord character didn’t so effortlessly remind people that what we’ve been given in recent years is not the only option and it’s not how things have to be when it comes to our leaders.
I get that Hollywood might be thinking that it’s helping Hillary…just like I think that Hollywood believes that shoving Global Warming Alarmism into the plots of everything is a good way of getting that propaganda in front of people. I don’t think that garbage really works either.
I think people laugh at the Alarmist browbeating and I think they get angrier at Hillary every time that Bess McCord pops onto the screen. Tea Leoni isn’t playing Hillary on this show, so much as she’s playing a fictitious version of a Hillary-like person who everyone wishes that Hillary could really actually be. And everything would be so much better if she was that person.
Life would be amazing if Bess McCord was real. I think she’s one of my favorite tee-vee characters in the last decade. If ever I find a real life politicians like her, I would drop whatever I was doing and work for her nonstop for the rest of my life. I hope every day that someone like that steps onto the scene…and am heartbroken and disappointed that Hillary Clinton sure proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that she is not that person.
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