In the Loop

The British television comedy series Yes, Minister (1980-1984) and its successor Yes, Prime Minister (1986-1987) is a masterpiece of political satire that exposes how the British bureaucracy runs the government. A cowriter, Jonathan Lynn, later tried his hand at satirizing and exposing American politics by directing Political Film Society awardwinner The Distinguished Gentleman (1992). The TV series West Wing (1999-2006), directed by Aaron Sorkin, could be viewed as an effort to capture the essence of Yes, Prime Minister for American audiences, although fast talking deprived the television series of time to laugh. Patterned after an earlier British effort, The Thick of It (2005-2007), director Armondo Iannucci combines elements of the previous satires in In the Loop by portraying decisionmakers bullied by communication officers into using talking points and spin to maintain a favorable press, thereby trumping honest debate and sound logic. Excessive profanity, which doubtless chalks up an all-time record, serves to prove that Type-A personalities are able to dominate the corridors of power by displaying their testosterone count through endless expletives. Filmviewers can only conclude that government and politics are so dirty that no sane person would participate, thereby discouraging the very consciousness raising that might otherwise demand greater officeholder accountability. MH