Just As I Thought

Commander in Cheap

I knew that Commander in Chief would be a failure once I saw how much ABC was promoting it. But I wasn’t aware of how truly bad it would be until I saw the pilot.
Where The West Wing is a social studies teachers’ dream, Chief is an object lesson on how clueless people are about government.
The premise of the pilot — that the ailing president asks his female vice president to resign so that the Speaker of the House could take over — was outrageous and ridiculous. While the idea of exploring the stresses inherent in being the first female president, something that’s long overdue in this country, the actual execution of the premise is horrible.
The sets, the atmosphere — all bad. The president is laying in a small private room in a hospital, with a single agent guarding the door and empty halls. I think that we all know better than to think that the president could have a stroke and it would remain a secret; that the hospital would be devoid of security, of staff, of advisers… of doctors.
The laughable image of the vice president in her family room on Observatory Circle, discussing foreign policy with 4 advisers around a table littered with Chinese takeout containers — which carry-out did they call to deliver to the secure Naval Observatory?
The president’s secretary telling the newly sworn in executive that she didn’t want to work for her because she’d feel cheap — even in the relatively casual Clinton White House, no staff member would speak to the president in that way.
And wouldn’t you think that an official from the protocol office would be cognizant of protocol and stop calling the president’s husband the First Lady? Yeah, it’s all for laughs… but the laughs feel cheap.
That’s what this show is: cheap. In every possible way. A cheap rip off of The West Wing from the typeface used in the title, to the lackluster and uninspired sets, to the unimaginative and bland dialogue.
I sincerely hope that people don’t think they’re learning about our government from this series, which is certainly not designed to last.
There’s one bright spot on this show: the president’s son, played by Matt Lanter. Who, it turns out, was a competitor on Bravo’s Manhunt. Woof.


  • Interestingly, you can learn a lot from the comedy “Dave.” A really good movie that came out about 10 or so years ago. If you haven’t seen it, you should check it out.

  • I kind of liked the show, with a few reservations.
    I didn’t see the first few minutes but caught up with the plot: Current President suddenly dies and Vice President (Geena Davis), who had intended to resign at the Pesident’s request, is thrust into the office before presenting her resignation.

    The scene I had an issue with was when Geena (now firmly the President, severe Blue Suit and all)makes her first speech to the nation. She delivers it in a somber, almost monotonal voice, with not much punch at all. It seems to me that if you’re the President you want to grab people’s hearts, minds, and at least their attention. Well, the content of the speech was ok but Geena didn’t seem too inspiring. I guess I’m spoiled by President Kennedy.

    Donald Sutherland (presidentially jilted Speaker of the House) on the other hand, was superb. He was absolutely creepy when, after Geena finished her speech, he leaned down and whispered, “I’ll always be right behind you.” EEEEWWWWWW! He had that lecherous, I’m going to have you for lunch look in his eyes. He was great and will be a wonderful part of the show.

    I’ll watch it again. Maybe it’ll get better.


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