Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Fan's Loss (Dec. 17, 2005)

I’m a TV-aholic; I’ll be the first to admit it. When a program is good (and sometimes, even if it’s not, but just really strikes my fancy for some reason), I’ll be a loyal viewer forever. I’m one of those people who will ponder why characters do what they do, cry when things go bad for them, and clap happily when things go well. I just really love television.

Then there is the cast. I am not one of those people who has trouble distinguishing the actor from the character. But, when there is a show or character that I really connect with, then those performers become somewhat important to me. They begin to feel like far distant relatives, or something. Maybe like someone you’ve been introduced to once at a family reunion years ago. You don’t know them, but they sure seemed like a decent enough person, and you certainly wish them well. And, when the word comes back through the family grapevine at some point that the distant relative has passed away, you feel a moment of sadness. It can’t really quite be described as grief, because you don’t have any true connection to them or their lives. But, still, you can’t help but feel that something has been lost.

This is how I’m feeling today. John Spencer, one of the talented stars of The West Wing, has passed away. I’ve been watching that show since it premiered six or seven years ago, and I was hooked from day one. And John Spencer was one of the few cast members I was familiar with already, since I was also a big LA Law fan back in the day. But, intelligent writing and a strong ensemble cast have kept me tuning in week after week, and he was a major part of that.

As a person, I offer my condolences to Mr. Spencer’s family and friends, for they are the ones who will truly have to cope with this unexpected tragedy. As a fan, I have to wonder how the show will deal with his loss. And, in both cases, I can’t help but feel that something has been lost.