As The West Wing comes to an end Sunday I thought it was time to share some of the thoughts I collected about one of the best-written series ever.
What I learned from the series:
- Topics as seemingly boring as census statistics can become absorbing, fascinating and interesting with the right script writer. The census was a major part of the storyline in Episode 1.6 – "Mr. Willis of Ohio".
- Politicians, as depicted on the series, are much more articulate, thoughtful and, at times, inspiring than the real ones you read about in the newspapers.
- Fictional presidents are easier to adore than real presidents.
- Money, greed, and campaign donations do not have to be the deciding factors on issues and campaign decisions, unlike in real American politics.
- The West Wing has an incredible number of hallways, often filled with people walking and talking. Such conversations, referred to as “walk and talks,” were a staple of the show.
- There are many thought-provoking, emotional conversations and circumstances taking place in The West Wing.
- It is hard to keep a series fresh, especially after its best writer, Aaron Sorkin, leaves the show.
- Shows can be rewritten when key characters die. In fact, not only were episodes changed when John Spencer, who played the White House chief of staff, died but the election results were even changed. Spencer’s character was a Democratic vice presidential nominee. According to Wikipedia and other sources, the Republican candidate played by Alan Alda was originally written to win the election. However, after Spencer died, the producers decided they couldn't have the vice president die – both on the show and in real life – and also lose the election.
- A bad episode – and I’m one of those who stopped watching for a few seasons when the show went downhill – is still better than most television shows and movies.
- The West Wing actors – especially during the first four years when Sorkin was the main writer – often repeat comments and talk in an unusual cadence.
An unusual cadence? Yes, an unusual cadence unlike any I have heard before.
A sample exchange between C.J., the press secretary, and Sam, Rob Lowe’s character: