Remember back in the day when The West Wing brought us Yo-Yo Ma performances, Latin translations, and references to Dickens? Well, along with government integrity, the show’s cultural references have taken a nosedive. In the latest episode, we got Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” The most highbrow mention came from, of all people, the leader of North Korea. What’s next, a performance by Justin Bieber? Never say never when it comes to this show. Here’s what went on this week.
Trump vs. Sports
At a rally in Alabama, President Trump said that next time an NFL player protested by taking a knee during the national anthem, team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field.” Then the next day, Trump tweeted that NBA star Stephen Curry’s invitation to visit the White House had been rescinded. Is the show teasing guest appearances by Colin Kaepernick and Curry? Cameos by famous athletes have been a part of The West Wing since the first season, when then-NBA player Juwan Howard joined a pickup game with senior staff as President Bartlet’s ringer. This time it seems unlikely that anyone will want to be on the president’s team. Maybe it’ll be a Presidential ass-whupping for comic relief? We’ve all seen Trump’s golf swing; it’s unlikely his jump shot is any better. And let’s be honest, in a football game he’d insist on playing quarterback but probably couldn’t even get the snap count right.
John McCain vs. the Health Care Bill, Again
Like the Fast and the Furious franchise, these health care bills just keep coming, no matter how bored we all are. They’re bad, everyone knows they’re bad, and yet they keep reappearing like clockwork. The writers can’t even think of new heroes to save the public from the bills, so they keep bringing back the usual suspects: Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and everyone’s favorite maverick, John McCain of Arizona. Is there no one else in the Senate? This is like how there seems to be no one else in the White House Counsel’s office other than Ainsley Hayes. I know the U.S. government is made up of too many people to show in an hour-long drama, but come on. Time to bring in some fresh characters to liven things up. How many months until the midterms?
Rocket Man vs. the Dotard
Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, clashed yet again, this time in an epic battle of civilizations. Trump called Kim “Rocket Man,” a reference to an Elton John song, and Kim called Trump a “dotard,” an insult used numerous times by Shakespeare. Who will win out: one of the greatest British singer-songwriters of the 20th century, or the greatest British writer of the 16th century? This sounds like an argument for Sam and Josh. “How can you compete with Shakespeare?” Sam would declare, throwing his hands up. “Uh, how can you compete with someone who can play piano while encased in rhinestones?” Josh would respond. Let’s call it a draw, boys.
Which pro athlete will Trump go after next? How many more episodes will we have to endure about the healthcare bill? And when is Trump going to start calling Angela Merkel “Uptown Girl”? Stay tuned next week to find out.