Monday, November 10, 2014

TV Night - Madam Secretary

Over the last few days I have been busily catching up on my TV watching from a couple of weeks. In particular, I have been a bit behind on Madam Secretary, which is one of my favorites from this season. It's not perfect -- it's a bit hokey, in that the crisis always gets resolved by the end of the show, and there's some second tier romance drama -- but overall it's quite a good show.

And, to be honest, I'd still watch it even if it was terrible, just to see Téa Leoni as Secretary of State. I just adore her in this role. Strong, smart, kickass, calm, and totally together except when she's not.

I mean seriously, how kick ass is this scene between Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord and Chief of Staff Nadine Tolliver (played by Bebe Neuwirth) from the end of "The Call," episode 4? Here are two of the most powerful women in the country, enjoying a scotch at the end of a hectic and stressful day. A scene we've seen hundreds of times between powerful men in shows like The West Wing and MadMen, but so rarely between women, except in the scenes between Joan and Peggy in MadMen, and then they're almost mimicking the more powerful men in the office.

No, this is a scene made to look as casual and everyday as it is when powerful people take a moment to digest what they've been through.

There are so many reasons to love this show. I love how her relationship with her husband and family is healthy and fulfilling, despite the hectic schedule they all have. I love how the writers haven't stooped to the tired old tropes of a powerful woman who is successful in business or politics but a terrible wife or partner or parent. She's powerful, but complex and human. This, folks, is what we've been begging so long for: a real strong woman.

You might wonder if it's a kind of fictional dramatization of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and while I can imagine there are some similarities between the real life SoS and the television version, I can assure you that the writers never draw any parallels. I have certainly never made any connection between the two while watching it.

If you haven't been watching Madam Secretary, I highly recommend checking it out.


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