We are a few weeks away from the new fall shows starting up on TV. As a number of the summer shows wrap up (so long Bachelor in Paradise & Astronaut Wives Club) I’ve found myself re-watching some of my old favorite shows. There are a few shows that will never get old for me and one of them is The West Wing. As a little throwback Thursday let’s take a look at a wonderful show.
I should preface this with saying I did not watch the entire series of The West Wing until 8 years after it went off air. I do remember watching parts of season one with my dad. Thanks to Netflix I have been able to watch The West Wing over and over again. From start to finish I’ve probably watched it three or four times. Yes that sounds kind of pathetic, but it’s a great show to turn on in the background. Plus each time I see something new!
The (Very Quick) Rundown
For seven seasons we follow President Josiah Bartlet in the oval office. We watch wars break out, peace treatys signed & personal drama unfold. Very quickly viewers learn that in any given day The Office of the President of The United States can tackle between 200-300 problems.
His staff members play major roles in the show as we watch them interact. Leo, Josh, Toby, CJ, Sam (for the first few seasons), Charlie and Donna fill us in on just how many people it takes to make one decision. Together they work to solve political problems but they also form a friendship that is unbreakable, even in the toughest of times.
While they work 120 hour weeks, the team in the West Wing often finds time for personal drama & relationships. Decisions they make play out as both personal and political many times.
The series ends with the election of a new president and the dedication of the Bartlet Presidential Library. Most of the gang is back together, with a few surprises and some key team members missing.
Why I Love It
After watching this show start to finish on Netflix, I’m grateful that I didn’t get hooked on it back when it was on TV. Season one ends with a cliffhanger & I couldn’t imagine waiting all summer to find out
“Who’s been hit? Who’s been hit?” – In the Shadow of Two Gunman
The writers did an amazing job of playing out each political event that takes place. Very few moments left me wondering “wait, did I miss something?” Even as we said goodbye to the cast at the end of season seven, I was completely at peace with it. Normally I wind up mad at the ending of a show but this one couldn’t have had a more fitting ending.
As for my favorite character, the show is set to focus on all of the staff, but I found myself rooting for Josh Lyman throughout the entire series. Even on the days that everyone else hated him I often found myself rooting for him. I won’t lie, I spent all seven seasons rooting for Josh and Donna. To be fair, I also had a soft spot for Leo…the end to his story was just so sad.
My Favorite Episode
There are a few West Wing parody accounts on Twitter. Often times fans are able to get in a discussion with Donna & Josh. Last week one asked the question “What is your favorite episode of The West Wing?” The response was overwhelmingly Two Cathedrals which is hands down one of my favorite episodes.
Not only do we see our favorite President face a number of personal issues, but we also see the West Wing staff come together to support their team members who are down. The flashbacks throughout this episode really help us paint a different picture of the President that we got to know in the first two seasons. We learn a lot about his past and how it has shaped his future.
It was hands down my favorite ending of an episode (and season).
“Watch This” – Two Cathedrals
Why You Should Watch It
The show is fiction but there are many issues addressed that relate to current day politics. I’m not one to speak my mind on politics but I loved being able to watch the discussions play out in the situation room. One of the episodes actually interviews real West Wing staffers from previous presidency’s as they talk about their favorite stories and how they line up to what is going on in The West Wing.
Once you get past the fact that the show was filmed in the late 90s and early 2000’s (think pagers and blackberries) the show is a wonderful drama. It even makes you want to work in the West Wing for about 3.2 seconds. By the end of the show I considered each of the cast members my friends and I immediately had to start the show over to keep up with their lives.
If you have never watched this show before, drop everything and head to Netflix. You won’t regret it.
Did you watch West Wing? Who is your favorite character?