On the landmark drama The West Wing, the country is led by the intelligent and charismatic President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen). Though no one doubts his abilities, he’s kept on his toes by his longtime, no-nonsense secretary Mrs. Landingham (Kathryn Joosten).
It was a shock to faithful viewers when the character was killed at the end of West Wing’s second season. You may recall that Mrs. Landingham had just purchased a new car when she was hit by a drunk driver. Her death affected President Bartlet deeply and she appeared to him in a vision after her death.
The character was so beloved and the death was so shocking that several real-life newspapers ran memorial articles for her and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley led a tribute on the floor of the California State Assembly.
The members of the Screen Actors Guild are currently voting on a new contract. This agreement addresses similar issues as the Writers Guild members faced a couple years ago. The battle with the studios and producers spawned the writers strike of 2007-08.
Last year, it looked like performers were headed towards a strike of their own but, primarily because of the bad economy and a break with AFTRA, there wasn’t enough support for one. As a result, SAG leaders had to settle on a less attractive deal.
Outspoken Sheen and many other performers put together a video talking about why they are voting against the new deal. Sheen acts a lot like President Bartlet in the video and that apparently inspired the opposition and Joosten to revive Mrs. Landingham. Whether you agree or disagree with her politics, it’s nice to see Joosten in the role again. It’s a bit reminiscent of Ron Howard’s video.
In the interest of giving equal time to both sides, we’ve included a few different videos. Even if you’re not directly connected with the entertainment industry, it’s easy to see that the SAG members have a difficult choice before them.
Image courtesy NBC.