Let’s be real. While the end of election season might mean respite from seemingly endless political ads and closure and all that, for people like us, who learned about democracy from watching The West Wing (no, we’re not talking about the Burmese government), it means all the drama and excitement from the past however-long-it’s-been is over, and it’s time to get back to reality. (It also means yet another year has gone by where we couldn’t vote for Jed Bartlett, the two-term president portrayed by Martin Sheen in The West Wing.)
Here to help you through election season-withdrawal—at least until the inevitable HBO movie comes out—are your favorite politically-minded TV Jews:
The West Wing’s Toby Ziegler, from “Sorkin’s Jews of Yore,” Sam Knowles:
The most liberal of Bartlet’s staffers, hyperarticulate, a master of high and low tongues, Toby is not one to suffer fools lightly. He’ll start a shouting match with just about anyone, including the president. And he is undoubtedly the most Jewish Jew to grace a Sorkin show—which is to say, he can identify not just Yom Kippur but also Erev Yom Kippur. In one episode, he even goes to temple!
The West Wing’s Josh Lyman, from “Sorkin’s Jews of Yore,” by Sam Knowles:
Josh is one of those Jews who comes to us by way of Connecticut. In one memorable episode, Toby says to Josh, “You know, the Ancient Hebrews had a word for Jews from Westport. They pronounced it Presbyterian.” Zing! Josh may lack Toby’s storied Jewish pedigree, but he has other things to boast of: the ear of the president; a legion of adoring followers who confess their lust on a tribute site called LemonLyman.com.
The Good Wife’s Eli Gold, from Abe Fried-Tanzer’s Network Jews:
It’s no coincidence that Gold has been compared to a real-life famous Jew with a similar profession. Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff for President Obama, and brother of Ari Emanuel, the basis for Entourage’ssuper agent Ari Gold, has quite a reputation for winning at all costs, and Gold has managed to earn that same status in what could easily have been (and originally was) merely a guest-starring role. Gold may reinforce the stereotype of Jews wanting all the power, but he’s definitely someone you’d want on your side.
The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, from Jacob Silverman’s Culture Kvetch column:
As even the most casual viewer of The Daily Show can glean, Jon Stewart is capable of coupling wit and erudition to corner an interviewee or savage (a video clip of) a graceless politician—though he’s much more comfortable settling into the position of the bemused naif. Ignorance comes in numerous guises, and if one were to create a Donald Rumsfeld-like taxonomy, Stewart would be placed under “cultivated ignorance” (the known unknown). He’s done the reading, but he’s perpetually just a little bit in over his head, and he knows it; hell, he delights in it. That’s part of his charm.
(Flag image via Shutterstock)