The West Wing, the early two thousand television series, has earned its spot as my all-time favorite television series. The show follows President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his senior staff as they work in the west wing of the White House, running the nation. The show’s concept, simple, stars notable A-listers such as Alison Janney and Rob Lowe, as they assist the president, a Notre Dame alum I might add, in running the United States. The series showcases the highs and lows of working in the west wing and reveals the struggles and weight of the responsibilities of the office of the president. As a Notre Dame student myself with an interest in politics it is no surprise that this show became my favorite, which is why I was so saddened to see Netflix remove it on December 24, 2020.
I had not yet finished the series when I discovered this disheartening news, so I intended to watch as many episodes as possible until then. From the witty one-liners to the interesting perspective of the work dynamic within the west wing, I cannot help but smile when I watch this show. Although some parts may be a little dramatic due to the elegant trappings of television entertainment, I honestly think the reason I enjoy this series is that it showcases a group of individuals working together to create change in the United States. The West Wing is a more buoyant side of politics, which is uplifting at a time when politics seems so dark and corrupt. At its essence, The West Wing shows a collective of people working together towards something bigger than themselves, selflessly, in the pursuit of the betterment of the nation and all who live in it, which makes it timeless. In the wise words of President Bartlet (Martin Sheen), “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” Even though The West Wing’s original audience were people roughly two decades ago, its theme of righteousness and idealistic politics is still applicable today.
Although this perspective on politics may be too idealistic and hopeful, The West Wing can remind us of what politics could and should be. People collectively working together doing what they can for the common good, and I don’t think wanting that type of politics is in any way unreasonable. The West Wing has left Netflix and is now on HBO Max and available for purchase on Amazon Prime Video. I would recommend it as a must-watch.