Murphy Brown’s Taxation Without Representation
In our latest edition of Fictional Franchise — the series that examines fictional characters and who represents them in Congress — we look at the fictional residents of the District of Columbia and their non-voting representative, Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
In the past, we’ve concentrated on themes such as baseball players or characters from great American novels. This time around, we’re concentrating on the District itself.
The rules for the series go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more on the rules here.)
Speaking of rules, while the title of this series is “Fictional Franchise,” these Washingtonians are not actually enfranchised when it comes to congressional representation.
By the way, we skipped “The West Wing.” Aaron Sorkin concentrated so much on his characters’ work lives that it was to the exclusion of their home lives. So we determined that we did not have enough research to make definitive determinations on the gang.
Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen)
It’s hard to reconcile the fact that Murphy Brown, patron saint of a generation of female reporters, is not represented by a voting member of Congress. One gets the sense if she were real, the law would have been changed by now.
It is widely believed that Brown’s townhouse is on Dent Place in Georgetown, a neighborhood home to many famously fictional people.
And while she may have the dance moves of an “Animal House” extra, she is still the coolest fake journalist ever.
Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara)
“House of Cards”
Green Line Metro Corridor
Zoe Barnes has an oddly situated walk-up studio apartment above a fast food joint on a somewhat shabby street resonant of the oddly situated walk-up studio apartments above fast food joints on somewhat shabby streets that many young people in This Town find themselves intimately familiar with.
The urban storefront landscape could be of a number of District neighborhoods, but we’re saying it’s near one of four Metro stops on the green and yellow lines: Georgia Ave.-Petworth, Columbia Heights, U Street-Cardozo-African American Civil War Memorial or Shaw-Howard University.
For one thing, Barnes is featured at one point on a green/yellow line platform meeting Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) for a clandestine meeting. For another, these four rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods are famously home to a considerable handful of young reporters who are “edgy” — at least by Washington standards. Barnes fits into that category.
“House of Cards” is right on point here with Barnes’ abode, though it might have made more sense to have made her one of several roommates in a stately row house, as group houses are another fixture of D.C.’s culture among 20-somethings.
The St. Elmo’s Fire Posse
“St. Elmo’s Fire”
We have a sneaking suspicion that Alec Newbary (Judd Nelson) is the only character in this film who actually bothered to register to vote.
That said, Georgetown is home to most of these ’80s icons. They also work in the District. Newbary, a Capitol Hill staffer, famously switched parties to get a job with a senator that would pay enough for him to buy a longer sofa. We kid you not.
Billy Hixx (Rob Lowe) also works in the District, gigging it up on his saxophone at the titular bar.
That bar, St. Elmo’s, is modeled after Georgetown’s The Tombs. Interestingly, The Tombs has one of the coolest college traditions ever — the 99 Days Club. The bar challenges students to “visit The Tombs every day for the last 99 days of the school year.” We have a hunch that Hixx and Jules Van Patten (Demi Moore) made the cut.
Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening)
“The American President”
Lobbyist/future FLOTUS Sydney Ellen Wade lived in a house on 34th and P, according to Celebrity Film Sites Tour “Explore Georgetown.” She also complained about the heinous traffic hell that is Dupont Circle.
It’s at the Georgetown house where she received a call from President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) asking her on a date. Roll Call obtained footage of the home and the exchange:
The Exorcist Girl (Linda Blair)
Perhaps the only thing more frightening than “The Exorcist” is how one feels after running up the Exorcist stairs. Located on the west side of the neighborhood, it is the Mount Everest of stairways. Residents and Georgetown athletes often use the stairs for athletic training.
But in the movie, a priest jumps from a second story window and tumbles down the stairs to his death.
Granted, in real life, it’s not a direct drop from the window to the stairs. Here is a video tour of the site:
Sandra Clark (Jackee Harry)
Capitol Hill (Senate Side)
The NBC Saturday night sitcom from the 1980s is set in townhouse apartments on Lexington Place, per imdb.com. This puts the series several blocks east of Union Station.