15 years after the pilot episode, Empire interviews Aaron Sorkin, the cast and the producers of The West Wing. Amazing sidebar pieces including Snuffy Walden on Scoring the West Wing, Allison Janney on The Jackal, and a 29-take Anatomy of a Walk and Talk.
Seventeen People. A modest tribute to—and deconstruction of—my favorite hour of television.
'West Wing' Uncensored: Aaron Sorkin, Rob Lowe, More Look Back on Early Fears, Long Hours, Contract Battles and the Real Reason for Those Departures
Fans of "The West Wing" will recall the season one episode where Leo McGarry forces his staff to participate in "Big Block of Cheese Day" by listening to the complaints of everyday people who visit the White House. Well, it looks like that fiction is becoming a reality.
What happens when a former star of the West Wing's sister decides to run for the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan? This.
"Don't ever forget that you're a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. You're too good for schadenfreude, you're too good for gossip and snark, you're too good for intolerance—and since you're walking into the middle of a presidential election, it's worth mentioning that you're too good to think people who disagree with you are your enemy.... Don't ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has."On May 13th, Aaron Sorkin gave the commencement address to the graduating class at Syracuse University, a speech that has been mildly criticized for recycling some lines from his shows West Wing and Sports Night. Video. (Via.)
"It’s been nearly 6 years since the series finale of The West Wing, and more than 12 since the one-hour drama, which [Aaron] Sorkin created and largely wrote, first walked and talked its way through NBC’s Wednesday-night lineup; and yet you might think the series never ended, given the currency it still seems to enjoy in Washington, the frequency with which it comes up in D.C. conversations and is quoted or referenced on political blogs. In part this is because the smart, nerdy—they might prefer “precocious”—kids who grew up in the early part of the last decade worshipping the cool, technocratic charm of Sorkin’s characters have today matured into the young policy prodigies and press operatives who advise, brief, and excuse the behavior of the most powerful people in the country."
A detailed exposition of the roles of the White House economic team. This isn't a discussion of Obama's team per se, but rather an explanation of the mechanics and relationships of the various economic advisers to the President.
TV serials, says Richard Beck, self-consciously set out from the very beginning to get us to take them seriously. From Hill Street Blues to The West Wing to The Sopranos and The Wire, how the television series convinced us that it was art — and now, why Lost's achievement of success via casual genre mixing and narrative derangement might signal that there's no future creative ground left within the old limits of serial drama.
Computer technicians have uncovered 22 million messages believed lost by the George W. Bush administration. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) and George Washington University's National Security Archive "...reached a final settlement of their long-running lawsuits challenging the failure of the Bush White House and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to take any action after confronted with evidence that millions of emails had gone missing from Bush White House servers over a two and one-half year period." "Documents produced so far show the Bush White House was lying when officials claimed no emails were ever missing. The record now proves incontrovertibly that Bush administration officials deliberately ignored the problem and, in fact, knowingly allowed it to worsen."* "We may never discover the full story of what happened here," said Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director. "It seems like they just didn't want the e-mails preserved." [more inside]
Have we seen this election before? Life imitates art as the current election cycle continues to echo the fictional 2006 Preisdential Election on The West Wing. Will the debates then be live and unmoderated like the seventh season episode "The Debate"? Will the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate suffer the same fate? And what would two-term President Josiah Bartlett say to Senator Barack Obama? (Final link warning: fan fiction by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin)
"If that's what's on, then that's what they watch. It's either that, or a cricket match between Scotland and Bermuda. Now, I am an educated man, Charlie, but when someone tries to explain cricket to me, all I want to do is hit him in the head with a teapot." Cricket Explained (An American Viewpoint) for those, following a recent cricket thread, that want to get it, but don't quite yet.
And the winner is . . . irrelevant, as NBC has canceled The West Wing after seven seasons. Sagging ratings—not John Spencer's death—have been blamed for the axe falling on the unconsummated ascendancy of Matt Santos or Arnold Vinick.
Don't catch all the West Wing Dialogue? Me either... The idea so offended my NPR supporting cum aging grad student sensibilities that I had to read why "Watching TV Makes You Smarter" (nyt, reg. req.). Am now completely sold on the argument for the Sleeper Curve.
The West Wing debunker. I have grown to hate this show even though I agree with its politics. The show occasionally brings up interesting topics but it is so goddamned sanctimonious. I worry that people think this is how our executive branch works. I hope this isn't a double post.
West Wing is Fictional??? Just in case our friends in New Mexico are concerned, what happens on the West Wing this week cannot happen in New Mexico. "New Mexico has no tunnels" a press release, approved by state governor Gary Johnson, states. Whew...a load off my mind. Is this an example of government being very pro-active, or just plain insulting to the people of NM?
Cure for Cancer in 10 Years? Anyone else see West Wing last night? Apparently, drugs called signal transduction inhibitors (STIs) - such as phenoxodiol, the drug referred to by Pres. Bartlet - are a reality, and early studies have shown their effectiveness in striking cancer's Achilles heel. Furthermore, in the Law and Order episode which followed, Gleevec was mentioned as the key to curing a type of leukemia, which is in fact a remarkably potent STI recently FDA-approved. Perhaps Aaron Sorkin isn't spinning a fantasy tale as I initially thought -- any oncologists in the house? [If Newsgurus doesn't let you in, try Google's cache.]
"The President" Urges You to Speak Out Against Drilling in the Arctic Refuge Martin Sheen takes advantage of his bully pulpit. "I'm not a president, but I play one on TV."
What did you think of West Wing last night? Beyond the fact that it was preachy and simplistic, did you think that it was a good or bad approach to handling complex issues through a show that is respected for presenting political dialogues in a pop culture format? Additionally, what do you think of the way in which pop culture seems to have returned to normal? This topic appears in both the NY Times and USA Today, today, as it becomes clear that prime time ratings are stronger than ever after the attacks.
The 2001 Emmy nominations were announced yesterday. The Sopranos and West Wing came in with 22 and 18 nominations each. Are these really the best that teevee has to offer?
West Wing Web War! Mickey Kaus shows you how to personally bother Aaron Sorkin and get him to reply to you. This particular pissing match is about writers' credits and compensation, but I'm posting it because it highlights one of the truly unique things about the net/web: It provides a way for celebrities to come out and interact with their fans (or foes) without giving up any of their privacy. Have you ever found yourself keyboard to keyboard with a Big Name? Or know where any of them hang out?
Any West Wing fans out there? (If you don't watch the show (one episode is, apparently, enough :-), this probably won't be all that funny.)
West Wing Drug Bust Producer of West Wing busted with drugs...perhaps he was not digesting.
The best president you'll never have, Martin Sheen of The West Wing, has some interesting things to say about George W. Bush's alcoholism. Sayeth Sheen: "When it was revealed that he had a DWI [a charge of driving while impaired], he said he kept it a secret because he didn't want his daughters to know. That is so much horseshit… In the [twelve step] program, we say very clearly: The only things that hurt us are our secrets... I don't go after him because I think he lacks character. It's obvious to me how little character he possesses."