On Usenet recently (I don’t remember where or when), on an unrelated subject, I witnessed someone drop in several derogatory references to The West Wing. They had apparently seen the show a few times, and absolutely deplored it, failing to understand why anyone intelligent could like it. From what I could gather, their own political leanings were in the opposite direction from the shows’ characters, and they were unable to watch the show objectively, without seeing it as an hour-long commercial for politics they disagreed with.
I can understand this. In fact, as I pondered it, I began to wonder how any conservative might enjoy The West Wing. I do align myself more closely with the shows’ protagonists, and I could imagine being too bothered by a series which approved of contrasting values to enjoy a well-produced episode. But in the absence of evidence—does Mister Sterling count? He was definitely far more conservative than Bartlet, and I enjoyed a few episodes of that show—it’s hard to be sure.
One available example does come to mind: I enjoy watching The Sopranos. HBO’s ratings, DVD sales and Emmy wins show I’m not alone. Yet I can’t imagine that any large fraction of that show’s viewers believe that what its protagonists do is moral or admirable. Realistically, I can’t believe I’d rather feel more comfortable watching a show about a mob boss than a Republican. Which isn’t to say that everyone feels that way. I’d imagine there are, in fact, plenty of people who can’t appreciate The Sopranos due to its subject matter, and I can understand that.