Conor aka The European Citizen has written an interesting post about why the EU should possibly have its own West Wing (WW) series to explain the EU. And yes, there is not only West Wing but also Yes, (Prime) Minister or The Thick of it. I do not know well the two latter ones and vaguely remember that also the German public TV (ZDF) once tried to copy WW with Das Kanzleramt – and flopped. But why would an EU version of West Wing be interesting – and why would it help to explain the EU?
Let’s first consider what West Wing was: It was, no question, the the best (I say THE best) TV series ever! – It was so good not because it was about politics and that is what I like. No, it was good because it was smart, it had brilliantly-drawn characters with personality, excellent actors, it was realistic – and it had an intelligent but all-embracing humour. I am sure that we can find excellent actors and draw equivalent characters for an EU “13th floor” (as Conor calls it) series. But would we have the play writers to come up with dialogues and characters of such brilliance? In the end, I have not come across any European TV series that has impressed me so far…
I am sure public broadcasters in the EU with possible arte as a frontrunner would be happy to unite and prepare such a show. Moreover, the EU will surely make its MEDIA funds available for this – and the Commission, Parliament (and possibly less so the Council) would be happy to offer some insights and filming opportunities. So, all this should be set – if we only found the script writers!
Would this help to explain the EU?
Yes, I think very much so, if it was closely as intelligent as West Wing was. An overdrawn Delors or Barroso character as president, annoying Council presidencies and leaders from the EP would surely challenge the 13th floor team every day and offer sufficient material. There is enough crisis, both domestic and internationally, to offer stories and with its new-found powers in external relations there could even be some shady military/secret stuff going on. With all this, there is sufficient dynamism in the EU to make the 13th floor an exciting TV experience. Maybe this is exactly what is needed to explain the functioning of the machinery? – If timed well, it could even reveal the (recent) behind-the-doors selection of the current president and play a more democratic, primary-based selection of the next Commission President. If such were to happen in the 13th floor, this would not only bring light to the complexities of EU policy-making but also encourage debate towards the 2014 elections. What a difference this would make!?
My title suggestion would be Berlaymont by the way…
Picture from FCO/flickr with Creative Commons