Why I Love The West Wing and Why You Should Watch it

I started watching The West Wing a year ago with my Dad. Since then it has always held a special place in my heart, not only because it’s a way my Dad and I can spend time together but because I think the show is really special. The West Wing written by Aaron Sorkin, takes place in the White House, and it follows the lives of those who work there. The show originally came out with it’s first episode in 1999 and ran all the way until 2006. But what made a show about politics (and without Ben Platt) run for such a long time, and continue to keep up a large fan base to this day? To start off, the show mixes heavy political issues such as immigration and religion, with humorous events such as the president riding his bicycle into a tree. So if you find yourself confused by the political aspects or find them overwhelming, there is always some humorous event to lighten them up. The West Wing also dives deep into the characters lives, and each character deals with life altering events that are easy to relate to such as loss of a love one, hazing, and addiction. It not only increases the characters depth, but also increases the shows depth allowing you to go beyond the politics and see what’s going on in the lives of those who are helping to shape it. For example you have the dynamic between the President and his chief of staff who have known each other for over forty years. President Bartlett is a democrat, but also a devout catholic, who has a Nobel Peace prize in economics and often has difficulty making the tough choices that come with being President due to his prominent moral compass, and lack of military experience. However he is balanced out by his chief of staff Leo, who is an Air Force veteran, ex alcoholic and has no problem getting in the president’s face, not backing down until the president makes the unbiased choice that is best for the nation. In terms of the makeup of The West Wing, it  includes a cast of characters diverse in gender and race. The show puts women in positions of power such as Press Secretary, and even if they are assistants to men it is made clear that these men would be nothing without them. In terms of race in the situation room at the White House the two main military players are both African American one a man and one a woman. The President’s first assistant who runs his office is also African American, which is refreshing to see some diversity within the White House even if it is only fictional.

But who plays these characters? The West Wing cast is comprised of many familiar faces  including Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, and Martin Sheen, who have all ironically gone off to do comedies. It is interesting to see Rob Lowe for example in a serious role of the deputy of communications instead of the always positive always exercising Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation, or Martin Sheen who I personally only know from Grace and Frankie play someone as serious and as straight as the President of the United States. 

However my all time favorite thing about this show is the way the characters are portrayed. They are written and portrayed with such a sense of realism that you can’t help but feel like you are watching your friends through the TV screen, and because of this you find yourself rooting for each character, which is what keeps me coming back episode after episode. So in conclusion whether you are looking to learn more about our political system in an accessible way, or simply looking for a new Netflix binge The West Wing is the show for you!

P.S. Please don’t forget to vote!