After six years and seven seasons, the final episode of The West Wing was aired in my front room last night. One of the reasons it took me so long was that I got as far as season four, then had to start over because Mrs Realmenwritelongcopy wanted to watch too. Also I was too tight to buy it so there were often long gaps between seasons as I found someone to lend me the next one.
Aaron Sorkin is a fricking genius and anyone who says otherwise is beyond help. He wrote the whole of the first four seasons. My heart goes out to the poor sap who had to write Season Five. It takes a dip, that’s for sure, but by season 7 they’ve pulled it back, partly due to a freakishly prophetic ***PLOT SPOILER*** Obamalike run for president.
I think it’s the best of the American TV imports (The Sopranos, The Wire, etc.) which I know is saying a lot and could get me killed but there, I said it. The standard of the writing is so high, I don’t think I’ve come across better. A writer for The Evening Standard got it spot on (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type) when they said ‘Sometimes the dialogue reaches such levels of perfection, I could weep'.
One reason this series is so brilliant is it never dumbed itself down. I only knew what was going on about 20% of the time. My understanding would be at the level of ‘something bad is happening that’s bad for the president because of, you know, politics and he’s really angry about it because it’ll affect a special kind of vote or thing that matters to humanity for reasons beyond my understanding’. But the fact you were constantly playing catch-up is part of the appeal. They give you just enough information that by the end you go “Oh I get it that’s brilliant. Those clever Americans!”
I was trying to find my favourite scene for your viewing pleasure. But of all the gazillions of scenes people have uploaded on youtube, not one of the worthless buffoons has uploaded the best one. Seeing as you didn’t ask, it’s an episode called Noel in the second season, where Josh and a psychologist have a proper big old dialogue ding dong. If you get the chance, watch it.
So instead I’ll show this, which is pretty good and is about the only one I can find that will make sense in two minutes if you’re coming to it cold.
I've just made you never want to watch it haven't I? Fine. Your loss. I'm just saying, I like it.
And I think you can buy the entire seven seasons at the moment for £50. I can’t think of a more enjoyable (or better value) way to waste your life watching telly.
God bless America.
7 hours ago