There's a great post over at Writing for (Y)EU about the West Wing and the EU - and the possibility of an EU version of the West Wing (perhaps to be called something like "The 13th Floor"...?). Interesting was the comparison between the West Wing's optimistic view of politics and the more pessimistic views in Yes, Minister and The Thick of It. There are some really good points here, but perhaps this is just a cultural thing: Europeans aren't just religious atheists, but are also pretty sceptical when it comes to government, science and technology.
In a way the idea seems a bit counter-intuitive; how can Europeans, for whom the state plays such a big role in life, be more wary of state power? Of course, history provides the obvious answer, and, as Tony Judt has rightly put in his writings, the welfare state is really a sort of modern social contract to mitigate the social extremes of the past. The welfare state is borne of pessimism, not optimism for state-centred utopias.
Anyway, that's a bit of a tangent, but I think that the West Wing couldn't be replicated here - not at national level, but definitely not at EU level. Not only because of different attitudes to politics, but also because the EU doesn't really do anything quite as dramatic. But I do find the idea of a "Yes, Commissioner" exciting. I can just see it as a mix between Yes, Minister and The Thick of It - the Commissioner of "Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration" trying to cut bureaucracy and maneuver his/her way through the Brussels bubble without being caught in the path of the colliding institutions, the bickering political groupings, rival fellow-commissioners, while trying to not being drawn under by his/her waring cabinet and DG civil servants... (Imagine Sir Humpfry Appleby versus Malcom Tucker!).
Let's face it, it'd be the best way for people to get to know the institutions, politics, etc. while poking fun at the clear absurdities of the system. So any takers to write it?
Or am I just in a nerdy minority of one here...?
(In the meantime, Julien Frisch will have to be our premier comedian).
[Edit: See also the blogpost on the Lobby Planet Blog, who prefers a 5 minute sketch format rather than a longer (perhaps an hour long if it's West Wing style) slot. It would definitely be hard, but I think Yes, Minister shows that if the writer is skilled, you can get some great humour from the turf wars and inter-personal conflict even if the issues (Hacker was minister for "Administrative Affairs") are kind of boring. In fact, having a bland "admin" ministry allowed the writers to have access to issues in all other government departments...)].