Mighty Big Memorandum
TO: Wing Chun, Head of Programming, Mighty Big TV
FROM: Strega, Network Executive
RE: article about Martin Sheen in St. Anthony Messenger
As I may have mentioned to you, recently a copy of the magazine, St. Anthony Messenger, featuring a cover story about Martin Sheen's role on The West Wing, came into my hands. To be slightly more specific, a friend of mine noticed the magazine while attending a wedding and, ahem, liberated it for me. When I expressed shock that he had stolen reading material from a house of God, he insisted that there was a pile of copies on display, and that interested people were almost certainly welcome to take one. Since this friend is, at least ostensibly, a good Catholic, his identify will remain secret. Needless to say, we're all praying for him.
Regardless of the moral questions surrounding my acquisition of the magazine, I looked forward to preparing a humorous essay regarding the article. A summary of its points, with some additional sarcastic commentary, and perhaps a few cheap shots at Rob Lowe, would provide the legions of The West Wing fans with some much-needed new reading during the long, hot summer reruns. Admittedly, there have been other stories about the show in periodicals such as Brill's Content and Entertainment Weekly, as well as major (and minor) metropolitan newspapers. However, without casting aspersions upon anyone's character, I suspect that the St. Anthony Messenger is not regular reading for most of our readers, and so a summary of this article would be more likely to provide them with information they had not already seen. In addition, publishing a new piece as an "Extra" would help to shore up my depleted bank account, allowing me to restock my supply of Flaky Flix cookies. (I generally have to bribe people to ship them to me, since they're not available on the East Coast. They're worth it, though. Silly name, I admit, but they're the very definition of chocolatey goodness, and well worth the expense. But I digress.) For all of these reasons, I looked on the article as, if you'll forgive my saying so, manna from heaven. Upon review, however, I have encountered a few difficulties with this project, which I will detail below.
First things first. The article is titled "Martin Sheen: Catholic President on Prime Time," and was written by Greg Heffernan, a friend, or at least, acquaintance and co-parishioner of the man who portrays President Jed Bartlet. From Mr. Heffernan's reminiscences, I've learned some things about Sheen that simply do not lend themselves to snarky, satiric commentary. For instance, Mr. Heffernan mentions that the Malibu parish youth group journeyed to Mexico to volunteer at an orphanage. Upon reading this, I prepared to sink my teeth into a premise that sounds ripped right out of 90210 or The Real World: Spoiled California teens feeling noble about actually speaking to the poor, and manage to get a nice tan while doing so. But, alas, then I read this sentence: "Martin encouraged [the author] to let the children in Mexico minister to the teens from Malibu -- not just the reverse." For some reason, that took the wind out of my sails.