Why The West Wing Needs To Come Back

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Fans of 90s/early 20s television have been rejoicing—The X-Files and Twin Peaks will returning to air later this year and sometime in 2016, respectively. This news was exciting on both fronts for me. I recently watched Twin Peaks for the first time—I know, where have I been?—and I’m on season two of The X-Files. I’m so excited to see the faith that FOX and Showtime have in the fans and viewers of this show after all these years. Since we’re on the trend of revisiting 90s television, there’s one show that seems to be missing—The West Wing, obviously.

The West Wing, created by Aaron Sorkin, first aired in 1999 and ran for seven seasons. The political drama focused on President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his senior staff. The show received many awards—26 Emmy Awards, casual—and went on to inspire its viewers. West Wing Babies is actually a thing. Sorkin’s idealistic views of the government and Washington influenced young viewers to pursue politics. For me personally, TWW gave me insight into one, if not THE, hardest jobs in Washington—Chief of Staff. Leo McGarry (John Spencer), took everything in stride; I was amazed.

President Bartlet will forever hold a place in my heart. Not only is he from the best state—New Hampshire—but he often talks about going up to Manchester, my hometown, to visit the farm. (Side note that Manchester is a city and not the small town TWW portrays; I’ll let it slide). Bartlet was known for his awe-inspiring speeches, a Sorkin troupe we’ve all come to both love and hate at this point.  There were so many moments when I was watching the show and thinking, “Why isn’t Josiah Bartlet the real president?”

The West Wing needs to come back for a variety of reasons—I could spend all day listing them, but I won’t. Here are just a few:

Santos’ fictional presidential run was eerily similar to current President Obama’s

Bartlet’s successor, Matthew Santos, won the fictional 2006 election with a scary amount of parallels to the real life 2008 election. Both Santos and Obama were young minority Democratic candidates that no one originally saw winning. Eli Attie, a writer and producer for the show, told The Guardian that he used at-the-time State Senator Barack Obama for inspiration. As Obama’s presidency comes to an end, I’d love to see the direction The West Wing took with Santos.

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Seaborn/Lyman 2014 definitely happened

As a West Wing fan, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) Deputy Chief of Staff to Bartlet and later Chief of Staff to Santos, was my favorite all around character. Josh was how I imagined many of the men working in Washington—Ivy League grads with the biggest egos. For example, “I drink from the keg of glory Donna; bring me the finest bagels and muffins in all the land.” That line in the early days of season one has continued to be the best line in television.

Standing next to Josh was always the lovable California-native, Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe). Seriously, young Rob Lowe—THE BEST. After Sam’s failed campaign to become a California Congressman in the fourth season, Rob Lowe’s character left the show. Sam came back on to be Santos’ Deputy Chief of Staff or “The me to my Leo,” as Josh put it. While we only had the chance to see these two in action as Chief/Deputy for about two episodes, I know they did an amazing job.

Now, for my original point, Sam Seaborn definitely ran for president, and Josh was definitely his VP. Also you know the former Director of Communications Toby Zeigler (Richard Schiff) joined on as Chief of Staff. Many may argue it was probably the other way around, but I’m having a distinct flashback to Bartlet playing chess with Sam saying something like, “You’ll have this job one day.” I just want to see Sam in the Oval with Josh and Toby reminiscing about the Bartlet days.

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I deserve the opportunity to Donna/Josh children, and Charlie all grown up

It’s me, so naturally I spent the series shipping at least one pair. Donna Moss (Janel Moloney) and Josh Lyman were perfect for one another. Much like every other show I watch, I had to wait seven seasons to see them get together—and then the show ended for good. I’d like to think they got married and had adorable children. Toby had twins midway through the show’s run. I need to see these children as teens, wreaking havoc in The White House.

Charlie Young (Dule Hill) acted as the personal aide to President Bartlet. Charlie was always a favorite of mine. He was never afraid to tell Bartlet he was wrong and also had the toughest job in the west wing—waking up the president. Dule went on to star in another one of my all-time favorite shows, Psych, so I think I’m a little biased.

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CJ Cregg is perfect for 2015 TV

A few weeks back, I met a woman who currently works as a press secretary for large government organization. She explained to the group of us at the panel that she was journalism major in college then watched The West Wing and then she wanted to become CJ Cregg—I’ve never related more. CJ Cregg was a woman working in a boys club. She was the only woman in the senior staff and she didn’t take shit from anyone. Josh once tried to use her feminist views as an insult against her and left him terrified—she’s my actual hero. Luckily, TV today features more women in power than ever before and CJ would fit right in.

The cast is still obsessed with each other

A few months ago Josh Malina, who played Will Bailey aka Sam Seaborn’s replacement, tweeted pictures of the cast doing a reunion photoshoot. Last year, The White House—yeah, the real life one—announced they were doing the “big block of cheese day” that The West Wing made popular again. How did they announced this news? With the characters of TWW. The point? The cast probably wants a revival more than I do.

There’s more I could think of but I don’t think anyone would read more. So NBC, the ball’s in your court.

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Nicole Watches TV: The X-Files “Trust No One”

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“Mulder…” always followed by a side or an eye roll—Dana Scully you are the woman. Seriously though, Scully giving Mulder the “are you serious right now” tone/look makes up 43% of the show, and I love it.

When I last checked in with all of you, I was on the 7th episode of the first season. I just finished the season one finale. This is very slow watch for me—I spent Saturday watching Kimmy Schmidt (AGAIN) in its entirety because my roommate hadn’t seen it—so I guess I have a reason.

The second half of season one seemed to go by in a blur.  Eugene Tooms, apparently the original yellow-eyed bad guy—I’m side-eyeing you Supernatural—creeps me out to no end. I’m sorry Tooms, I was more than happy to watch him crashed by a moving escalator, but it is definitely worth mentioning. The episode “Roland” not only took the twin teleplay thing to a whole new level but also made me quite sad.

The season one finale actually had me saying, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” Where do I even begin? Deep Throat was the bane of my existence. I do however see the irony in his last words to Scully being “Trust no one,” something I assume the show will use for seasons to come. The plot line for the episode was exactly what I needed to keep my love for this show alive.

While the show makes it clear early on that The X-Files won’t always be about the search for the extraterrestrial; “Squeeze,” the episode where Tooms first appeared, introduced the “Monster-of-Week” style it would take on. The presence of alien activity, and Scully and Mulder finally getting some proof, was the ideal way to end the season.

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Things to note from the end of season one:

  • David Duchovny’s t-shirts tucked into his 90s light washed jeans are arguably one of the best things about this show
  • Scully’s character has already evolved so much since the pilot episode—ex: Apologizing to Mulder about not believing him before in the season finale
  • Mulder has become very dependent on both Scully and Deep Throat
  • The little alien Scully used to trade for getting Mulder back was actually sort of cute
  • Mulder will risk anything to “find the truth” except putting Scully in danger—he never wants to risk that
  • I’m really pissed the FBI shut down the X-Files because Scully and Mulder are the ideal team
  • We all know they’re still going to search for the truth with or without the X-Files