The West Wing

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The only thing I’ve done for the past week and a half (besides the snap decision we made on Saturday morning to remove all the old, disgusting carpet from the stairs, oh man has that been an undertaking) has been watch “The West Wing.” I was 14 and not super politically inclined when the show started in 1999, and by the time I got wise to Aaron Sorkin’s general amazingness as a script writer, the show was in its last season. You know how that happens; you’re so far behind in a show you admit defeat and decide not to watch at all. I’m sure I caught a few episodes here and there, but ever since “The Newsroom” debuted last summer and we were reminded after a 5 year absence that yes, Aaron Sorkin still rules, it’s been on my To Do List to watch all 7 seasons of “The West Wing” from the beginning. You can’t say I’m not industrious. Thankfully, the whole series is available on Amazon Prime streaming fo’ free if you have a membership, and I’ve been watching through our Roku player hooked up to the tv.

The undeniably Sorkin-element to the political drama is the dialogue: fast-paced, smart, sarcastic, and witty. This is the man who championed the “walk-and-talk.” If you like “The Newsroom,” (and I do!) prepare to judge “The Newsroom” for being an inferior show when you watch “The West Wing.” The characters! I could marry Josh or Toby. Or Sam. Or Charlie. Or even President Bartlett. And Leo! Either Aaron Sorkin is a psychic genius who wrote scripts that would have relevance 14 years later, or American politics are stuck in a depressing, partisan cycle of horribleness: the first season dealt with gun control, a bill that federally denies benefits to same sex couples, racism, sexism, skirmishes in Pakistan and Syria, opposition to an Hispanic Supreme Court nominee, and the list goes on and on. Sorkin is not particularly shy with his disdain for Republicans, and I’m only up to 1999-2000; the extremists in the Tea Party have yet to even manifest.

But politics aside, the show is just incredible. So incredible in fact, that though I’m already 8 episodes in to season 2, Jamal said he wanted to watch the show, too, so we started over on Saturday. That’s right. I’m watching the first season again for the second time in two weeks. And I’m not even complaining! Herewith, some of my favorite snippets:

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I’m already dreading the end of the show and I still have 5 and a half more seasons to go. I need a West Wing support group.

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July 1, 2013 / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 36

36 comments

  • I just started the west wing too and I’m amazed at how it hasn’t dated (well maybe Moira Kelly’s awful hairdo and the giant cell phones) but everything is still relevant. I’m still only up to about episode 8, series 1 though. Donna is my hero. And Josh’s hair. It has a presence all its own…

    • Ugh, Mandy. I left this out of my post, but I hate Mandy. Horrible hairdo and giant cellphone aside, her weird voice and mouth situation and her overall uselessness in the show drive me up a wall, haha. Also, anyone that broke Josh’s heart is officially on my shit list. That man (and his fantastic hair!!) is my favorite.

  • Eek look at those women’s awful Ally McBeal suits – definitely 14 years old!
    I’ve never seen it, always thought it looked a bit boring but we’re now on the last episode of 30 Rock (can’t believe we’ve watched over a hundred episodes in the last few months!) and are looking for something to follow it with so I may give this a whirl.

    • The fashion isn’t too terrible on the show, everyone is always walking around so you never really have to focus on their outfits. Plus, it’s the White House, after all. You can’t exactly walk around in whatever you feel like. I bet you’d like this. It’s smart and funny and not at all obnoxious (ahem, 30 Rock). xo

      • Hey what can I do, I’m still waiting for series 3 of P&R to be released over here!

        • That’s the best season!! Oh, I can’t wait for you to watch that one. It’s my favorite. xo

  • I’ve never watched it, but now I want to.

    I bet tearing up that carpet was satisfying.

    • If you have tons of free time, I highly recommend it! And yeah, getting rid of that carpet was so amazing. Still have a ways to go, though! xo

  • I just watched all 7 season about 6 months ago and I’m still in mourning about it. It was SO great. The last 1 or 2 seasons aren’t as awesome, though, because Aaron Sorkin was no longer writing….I think.

    • Interesting! I had no idea. I accidentally spoiled something for myself in reading the WIkipedia page, regarding certain members of the original cast not being around for season 7, so I’m already pretty depressed, haha. xo

  • i have never watched the west wing beyond the clips they would show on the emmys. i’ve always known it was suppose to be good but it seemed so boring. but now that i know my twinsy likes it i am going to have to give it a go. (ps pony tails totally give me the worst headache/scalpache in the world!! and headbands are out of the question).

    side question: i have amazon prime and the streaming is terrible! is it better on the roku? (we use a wii)

    • I suspected it to be kind of boring, too, given the subject matter but it couldn’t be farther from the truth! It’s engaging and funny and you end up falling in love with all the characters. It really is delightful! I wouldn’t lead you astray, twinsy!!

      I’m shocked the streaming is so bad! Is it your internet connection? I can watch on my laptop or desk top without any issue. The roku is just easier because it hooks right up to the tv. I’ve never had a quality problem at all with anything I’ve streamed from Amazon. So weird! xo

      • hmmm, weird. maybe it’s just the wii. it works on my laptop and ipad. but, yes, for serious marathoning i prefer the tv experience. i might have to invest in a roku someday.

  • God I never watch anything you watch. West Wing wasn’t so big here in the UK. With Annie on the clothing, I did love Ally McBeal, ha!
    What are you gonna do now you’ve ditched the carpet ?
    x

    • Sue is a big fan! Apparently it was popular in certain circles in the UK, haha. It might be strange watching it as someone with an entirely different government. I’m curious about that now!

      And I’ll do a full post on the stairs soon, but long story short we’re going to paint them white! Bet you could have guessed that, knowing me ;) xo

  • I used to watch this show religiously!! soooo good, miss it a lot!

    • I glad I’m finally catching up now instead of never! I already miss it and I’m barely into season 2! xo

  • we love the west wing in our abode! one of just a handful of shows that the man & i are equally happy digesting… and i had the hugest crush on john spencer… must put this on my re-watch list & i’ll be in your support group, no worries!

    • LOVE it! Knew I liked you for a reason ;) You clearly have excellent taste. It’s such a great show, and I haven’t even come close to finishing it yet! John Spencer is such a babe, but my heart belongs to Josh. Or Toby. I just want to snuggle Toby. Like this:



  • After reading Rob Lowe’s memoir and your blog post, I feel like I’m really missing out on the whole West Wing phenomenon. I think even my Dad has seen it, that’s how behind I am

    • You should jump on the bandwagon (many, many years late!). It’s great, I promise I wouldn’t lie to you. xo

  • Another trip down memory lane! My sister used to be slightly obsessed with this show (as well as Jag and Passions but that’s another story). I think this is where our joint obsession with Rob Lowe came from! I never really got in to it but I might need to rethink this.

    • Passions! Now there is a blast from the past! Wasn’t there a clairvoyant who had a midget sidekick on that show? Haha, needless to say, this is way better. It’s an easy series to get through, the episodes are only 40 minutes a piece and you’ll be hooked from the first one. xo

  • This pleasure is still ahead of me. Have you watched the first episode of Under the Dome? Now, that’s amazing! X

    • I haven’t! By rule I keep away from Stephen King-projects, only because I’m an absolute scaredy-cat. Though I am reading his memoir “On Writing” right now and really loving it. I’ll have to check it out! xo

  • Ah the West Wing, hubby has been a huge fan from the start and got me on it a couple of years ago, but we only got to the third series together then started watching something else.

    After watching House of Cards, he decided he needed to see the whole thing from the start again and bought the box set. I have to say I think he is totally addicted to it and I’m getting a little bit sick of the theme tune (he watches one after another on his days off while I’m working upstairs in my office). He is definitely a candidate for your support group!

    Saying that, the few snippets I’ve watched with him recently makes me want to pick up and watch the seasons I missed, I’m sure he would be quite happy to oblige :)

    Can’t wait to hear what you do with the stairs, if I had a painted stairway I would love a striped carpet runner up the middle.
    xo

    • Ha, that’s so funny! I guess it speaks to the show’s staying power if you both keep coming back to it little bits at a time. I think you and my fiancé could commiserate over your shared hatred of the theme song to West Wing; I marathon through episodes one after the other and he has complained about the opening music, too! Haha. So now there are two support groups forming…hmm.

      At some point I’d love to add a runner, but I am also really, really looking forward to not having to furiously vacuum the steps twice a week! I think I’ll bask in their painted goodness for a while and then see how we’re feeling about more carpet. First we have to paint them, though! Haha xo

  • In between loads of laundry and the grocery store, I want to pop in and say, don’t dread the end. This is the kind of brilliant acting and writing that you can watch over and over again and get more out of each time.

    I’m totally obsessed with it, and we’ll oven go on tears where we watch episode after episode. And yes, it wasn’t quite as good after Sorkin left (or Rob Lowe, for that matter), but the story line of the final campaign of Jimmy Smits (young ethnic democratic candidate vs. republican codger) running for office was oddly prescient. And you know what Sam Seaborn predicted, don’t you? That privacy would be the civil rights issue of our generation. Interesting, isn’t it?

    • HiiiI!!! You’re home! You’re home you’re home you’re home! When do I get to hear all about it?? Okay, I’ll let you breath and do laundry first, I GUESS.

      I’m obsessed, so I’m not surprised you guys are too. We have basically the same taste in tv/movies, after all. I’m currently watching season 2 AND season 1 again with Jamal, at the same time. It’s madness and I love it. I’m so sad that so many good characters don’t make it all the way to the end of the series. Sorkin, too. And Sam Seaborn is a genius (even if he did accidentally sleep with a prostitute and get his ass kicked by a girl on tv!). xoxo

      • Ha! I just saw this! I’m home! And got my ass kicked by laundry and a sinus infection as soon as we got back. Cal was wiped out from a sleepover yesterday and guess what we did ALL DAY… Yup. WW marathon. Our favorite (all time) is the one where President Bartlet gets shot. We watch that series of episodes at least once a summer. We love it.

  • I’m very embarrassed to say I’ve never watched West Wing before. What is wrong with me?!

    • Don’t feel bad! I hadn’t either and there are plenty of people who missed out the first time around. Thank goodness for streaming! xo

  • Well, I’m sold. I never watched the show while it was in its running. Now, I have to figure out an easy way to watch it/stream it/Roku it/Apple tv it … Oh, forget it, I’m just buying the box set. Thanks for the recommendation, Erin. PS~Looking forward to seeing how your stairs turn it. All white sounds gorgeous.

    • Haha, that’s certainly an easy way to do it, too! There are tons on ebay for cheap, if you’re interested. I think the show is right up your alley, honestly. And dont’ worry, I’ll keep you updated on the stairs! I didn’t take any before pictures, but the after will be worth it! xo

  • I never quite got into this show (and I can’t even hide behind age…geez I’m so much older than you Erin!)
    But maybe it’s time to give it a go…

    • Haha you’re not THAT much older than me! But I wouldn’t force the show on you, especially when you’re due any day now! I think you’ll have your hands full for a while :) xo