But while “The Thick of It” certainly finds something corrosive in the relationship between politicians and the media, and discourages elevated thoughts about public service—it’s a counterpoint to “The West Wing,” and even to “Parks and Recreation”—the show conveys a kind of warmth toward men whose greatest professional victories are days that end without the need to resign. The minister, Hugh Abbott, is played by Chris Langham, with a gently stunned quality; he is ridiculous, but he is trying to keep up. “I work, I eat, I shower—that’s it,” he says in one episode. “Occasionally … I take a dump, just as a sort of treat. I mean, that really is my treat. That’s what it’s come to. I sit there and I think, No, I’m not going to read the New Statesman. This time is just for me.”

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