I may have mentioned once or two thousand times that I’m in the middle of a West Wing marathon via Netflix and I’ve decided it is the best show that no one watches anymore. Here are just a few of my favorite things about The West Wing:
1) President Bartlet (D., NH). I may not always agree with his politics, but I would gladly have him over for dinner. Martin Sheen does a fantastic job portraying a president who has to make some terrible decisions (the death penalty, peace in the Middle East and how to get his kidnapped daughter back. No big deal) with the eyes of an entire country and a divided Congress analyzing his every move. Every furrowed brow, longsuffering sigh and stares off into the distance convince me that this is one conflicted, human leader.
2) Bromances. Toby, Josh and Sam are the best. Case in point, Season 2, Episode Four, In This White House:
Josh: Toby, come quick, Sam’s getting his ass kicked by a girl.
Toby: Ginger, get the popcorn.
Honorable mention goes to Leo McGarry, arguably the father figure of the show:
Leo McGarry: [after Josh finishes an intensive therapy session set up by Leo with a trauma therapist, Josh walks past Leo in a nearby hallway of the White House] How’d it go?
Josh Lyman: Did you wait around for me?
Leo McGarry: How’d it go?
Josh Lyman: He thinks I may have an eating disorder…
Leo McGarry: [bemused] Josh…
Josh Lyman: …and a fear of rectangles. That’s not weird, is it?
Josh Lyman: I didn’t cut my hand on a glass. I broke a window in my apartment.
Leo McGarry: This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep, he can’t get out. A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up “Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”
Leo McGarry: Long as I got a job, you got a job, you understand? (from imdb)
3) Girl power. CJ Cregg, Press Secretary Extraordinaire. Dr. Abbey Bartlet, First Lady of the United States. Donna Moss, Brilliant and Sometimes Smart-Alecky Sparring Partner and Assistant to Josh Lyman. This show reeks of strong, intelligent women who stand their ground in a traditional boys’ club and prove with grace, humor and heart that women can, in fact, play ball just as well as the boys.
C.J.: [on the phone] No, I didn’t mean that you have no social skills, Toby… I’m sorry if you think I was being insensitive to your… I think you’re very… you’re a very pretty girl, Toby. (from Wikiquote)
4) Respect the Office. In this volatile political climate we’ve created, the respect and honor that The West Wing shows to the Office of the President of the United States is a welcome reminder that the person sitting in the Oval Office is worthy of our respect, whether or not we agree with his (or maybe someday, her) politics and decisions. That’s not to say there is no mudslinging on the show, but people stand up whenever the President enters a room. When they leave, they say, “Thank you, Mr. President.” They refer to him as “sir.” It may be overly sentimental and sometimes unrealistic, but the White House staffers on the show believe they’re working for the good of America, which makes my little patriotic heart happy.
5) Josh Lyman. Josh is my favorite by far. His and Donna’s banter is the highlight of any episode. He’s hotheaded and awkward and brilliant and oblivious. I am still giggling over an episode I watched tonight (Memorial Day, Season 5, Ep. 22)
Josh (on the phone with Kate): “You want me to have a secret meeting with the Son of the Sword?”
Donna (in the room with Josh): “I must be high from the morphine.”
Josh (on the phone): “You know, stealth isn’t exactly my strong suit.”
Donna: “He’s very clumsy.”
Kate (on the phone with Josh): “Josh, you’re just sitting down with a guy and seeing what he has to say.” Josh (on the phone): “Yeah, but technically, I’m gonna be a…”
Kate: “It’s a diplomatic meeting.”
Josh: “Do I need to carry a piece? Why aren’t you sending, I don’t know, someone more like you?”
Kate: “Because they didn’t send me the flowers.”
Josh: “They sent Donna the flowers.”
Kate: “Donna can’t walk, and they were angling for you. If I sent a professional, it would probably just spook the guy.”
Josh (mumbling): “Yeah, so to speak.”
Donna (to Josh): “Is this dangerous?”
Josh (to Donna): “No, it’s a diplomatic meeting. It’s not dangerous.”
Josh (to Kate): “Donna wants to know if it’s dangerous.”
(edited with a little help from the internet and the Netflix subtitles)
What are you watching on Netflix?