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Confessions of a Wingnut: Some Thoughts on The West Wing

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Wingnut: A fan of the Aaron Sorkin political drama TV series The West Wing.

I love The West Wing. I’m not fanatical or anything. I don’t collect trading cards, action figures or go to the conventions dressed as one of the characters on the show (if I did go, it would be as Reporter #3). As I have said many times before, I like good stories, good writing and good acting. I’d take that over dancing or skating with the has-beens any day. I guess I’m in that minority of people who like the current story line where we not only see the inner workings of the Bartlet (Martin Sheen) White House, but also the behind-the-scenes activities of the Santos (Jimmy Smits) and Vinick (Alan Alda) campaigns. I also looked forward to a new president being elected, a transition period and a new administration going through its first 100 days. I also would want to see which actors would stay with the show and who would move on. You can imagine that I was disappointed to hear that NBC announced that they were not going to bring the show back next season. This news didn’t exactly come as surprise, but I was still hopefully optimistic that the show would continue with a new administration. The network cited low ratings caused by the show moving to Sunday nights. I’d say move the show back to Wednesday!

This is what I’d like to see happen in the remaining episodes. Bartlet is able to broker peace between Russia and China over Kazakhstan, thus ending his presidency on a high note and securing his legacy. Bartlet’s good press only helps fellow Democrat Santos win the election and as his final presidential act he pardons Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) for his role in the military shuttle leak. The show will deal with the loss of actor John Spencer (Leo McGarry). The show’s executive producer, John Wells, recently told the L.A. Times that he has been writing the two-part episode (airing April 2nd) in which Leo will die of a heart attack five days before the election. Wells decided that Leo McGarry’s name will remain on the ballot and if Santos wins, he will then appoint a vice president after his inauguration. Since I want to see Santos win, I think that it would be very cool if Santos, on Josh Lyman’s (Bradley Whitford) recommendation, appoints Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) as vice president. We will see what happens when the series final episode airs on May 14th.

Finally, to the critics and the critical. I respect those who feel that the show jumped the shark when Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme left the series or even when Rob Lowe left because it was no longer the show that you fell in love with. I also respect those conservatives who may not agree with the show’s political point of view but like me value good stories, good writing and good acting. To those who like to refer to the show as The LEFT Wing but could never give me a reason as to why they call it that, I’d like to remind them of what I said in my article, There are no stupid TV shows, just…. Okay some are stupid:

It’s sad that now when someone sees a show that they don’t like because they don’t understand it or it conflicts with their beliefs, they can easily dismiss the show as stupid. I can’t forgive that type of thinking. It’s not the show that’s stupid.

To quote Leo McGarry: There are two things in the world you never want people to see how you make them – laws and sausages.

Would network programming count as number three?

Stay tuned.

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About Tony Figueroa

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    I’ve watched only the first three episodes of this show (so far; I borrowed a DVD from someone). It’s fantastic, but also amazingly biased. I expected some bias, of course, but people kept telling me it wasn’t that bad. What I found in the episode dealing with the “religious right” was shockingly and offensively biased on so many levels it’s hard to hold them all in my mind at once.

    And yet still, I love the show, and will definitely be watching the DVDs.

  • Scott Butki

    I thought it jumped the shark when Sorkin left.
    I thought the show had a clear liberal bias and I say that as a liberal. The best example is the smearing of religious right figures on the show.

  • http://www.snitchseeker.com Richard Harris

    I love the show! I agree it has a clear liberal agenda, but who cares???

    It is so incredibly well written that it manages to (most of the time) show a balanced view of both sides, even if it is promoting the one over the other.

    I too wanted to see all that you mentioned you hoped for in another season. I am sad to see that it won’t happen.

    Man, having Sam Seaborn become the new appointed VP would be great! (But then I would even more regret that they won’t be making any more seasons.)