The West Wing

Ah the ’90’s!

No one can watch everything, and for some reason, I missed watching The West Wing. Until now!

Ben and I were searching for something else to watch on Netflix, like you do, and we usually have 2 or 3 shows going at a time, but they have to fall in different genres or slots.

We have one slot for a scary/ depressing/ intense show, and we have one slot for a more entertaining, lighter, or at least less intense show, something we can watch and still go to sleep after watching. The third slot is usually a Star Trek series.

We recently finished White Collar, and needed something else to fill the not-depressing/scary slot, so we started watching The West Wing.

We’re 8 episodes in, and I love it. We may never finish the last 12 episodes of Star Trek Voyager (I like Voyager, but Season 7 was not its finest. We’re struggling to reach the finish line here).

Writing is hard — I feel you, Sam.

But back to The West Wing — Guys, the walk-and-talk is real. There is so much walking and talking! Such long meandering shots through the office — it’s amazing. Bonus points to the directors and cameramen who set up and executed these shots. And to the cast for executing. 5 points for Gryffindor!

Also, I’m so impressed with all the actors because they have so many lines, so much dialogue to remember. Between The West Wing and Gilmore Girls, I wonder which scripts are longer? I thought no one talked faster than Rory and Lorelai, but Josh, Toby, Sam, and CJ could give them a run for their money. Not to mention President Bartlet’s speeches. Was Aaron Sorkin on a high school debate team?

The first episode just drops you in the middle of the action, trying to catch up, listen to the fast dialogue, and figure out who these people are. I like a smart show that expects something of its audience.

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Political dramas can be tricky to keep interesting (see the Star Wars prequels for what not to do), but this is how you make a political drama interesting (I haven’t seen House of Cards yet either; I know it’s a big thing). The humor, physical motion and clever dialogue keep the viewer engaged (dear Star Wars prequels, sitting on couches and speaking slowly isn’t a great way to help the audience feel that anything is happening).

I’ve also started listening to The West Wing Weekly, an excellent podcast which covers every episode. They’re currently in season 2, so I’ve just given you some listening for the next couple years.

I can see why this show has a loyal fan base, and I’m looking forward to more political shenanigans with the crew. Also, the ’90’s were not a great time for professional women’s fashions, so I’m looking forward to more shoulder pads. Oh yeah.

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