Brick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Credit: Brick: Steve Yedlin

-You know you should be keeping up with presidential politics, and you can feel like you’re doing so if you watch The West Wing (NBC, Sunday, 8 p.m.), which this week features the both the Santos and Vinick camps awaiting the election results and coping with the death of Leo (the late John Spencer).

-Also seeking your vote are Antonio Banderas and Mary J. Blige, who are on a rare new episode of Saturday Night Live (NBC, Saturday, 11:30 p.m.). Finally, why aren’t you watching Big Love (HBO, Sunday, 10 p.m.)? Okay, you’re probably watching whiny Meredith Grey instead, but if HBO cancels this weird and wonderful show because of low ratings, creepy Harry Dean Stanton will come after you.

-What’s the matter with our public schools? They’ve turned into hubs for drugs, murder, and stylized, hard-boiled dialogue, if you can believe the new movie Brick. Third Rock‘s Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lost‘s Emilie de Ravin star in this clever teen noir.

-Of course, indie films and romantic comedies always need your support, so help both by checking out last fall’s adorable pre-teen romance Little Manhattan, new to DVD.

-What’s your take on the roiling debate over immigration? Reading Russian immigrant Lara Vapnyar’s funny and enchanting novel Memoirs of a Muse, about a newcomer in New York who seeks an author to inspire, probably won’t make you better informed, but it’s a lot more fun than watching the talking heads shout at each other on cable.

-All this do-gooder-ism doesn’t have to feel like drudgery. Example: new CD Sing Me Back Home. Sure, the New Orleans Social Club is a supergroup of Crescent City all-stars formed in the aftermath of Katrina, but what could sound more uplifting than New Orleans pros doing what they do best? As EW reviewer Larry Blumenfeld writes: ”Catharsis never sounded cooler.”

addCredit(“Brick: Steve Yedlin”)