The Regularly Scheduled TV Show Blog

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The West Wing Overview

A behemoth of a show for over the last 6 years. Being a PoliSci student and very interested in Politics may show my bias in why I enjoy The West Wing so much. It provides a very, very fast paced story line in each episode and it may prove to be too fast paced for most individuals who are just looking for a show to soak in at night. The West Wing is not a true drama, but rather an intellectual drama that provides nothing close to suspense but rather an interesting play on the way government works in respect to the President and, as the title indicates, the west wing offices of the White House. Having such a large area to write about allows for a substantial ensemble of great actors. Amazingly the cast has a high amount of talented actors, but having such a large ensemble also means that it is very possible that an actor doesn't see more than 5 minutes of screen time and in some cases doesn't make an appearance at all in an episode. To demonstrate how this ensemble really works, over the seasons there have been 2 medium-level characters deleted from existence without a single explanation, and the show not missing a beat. This was also done to Rob Lowe, who would be a highly visible character that was erased from existence with nothing more than a paragraph in explanation for his removal in the show with only minor turbulence for the show. I would predict that if they wanted to knock off the President in one episode they would be able to pull it off without a hitch. THIS CAST IS HUGE.

There is no real long term plot line in the series, but rather the plot lines are created by a handful of episodes at a time. This style of plot lines help create mini-dramatic scenarios that can contribute to the long-term plot line of the series, such as the President's green light to assassinate a foreign official of a foreign nation whom they have learned was a terrorist. This plot line of about 3-4 episodes is later used over a season later when the President's daughter is kidnapped by terrorists for the assassination of the foreign official. These types of lingering plot lines helps create a much larger back story for the show, while you may not be missing much by not knowing or seeing the linking plot lines, the experience of the show is much richer if you have seen it. Another compelling reason to watch The West Wing is the very central character of the show, the President, President Josiah(Jed) Bartlet. A character that is at constant war with himself over doing what he feels is right versus the politically right thing to do. He resembles the type of President every person wishes their's were, a President with a strong moral and ethical integrity. The show also has a very large plot source, real life. The thievery of real life political plots allows for a very basic plot line and since they are stolen from real life is very realistic.

This show is worthy of watching, as the previous season's episodes were at the highest quality I have ever seen the show at. This show has the highest level of acting, break-neck dialogue speed, writing, and plot lines. The dialogue speed may take some getting used to, expect not to get it all in your first show, but the dialogue speed is eventually acquired by watchers. Again, I want to remind you that I am a PoliSci major and this may prove to be extremely bias to the show, but then again The West Wing has been considered a top show far before I've been watching it. I'd advise those that want to get into this show to watch the reruns of the show on Bravo that has a marathon style showing of The West Wing episodes on Monday and of course there is the option of buying/renting their DVDs or downloading the seasons via Bittorrent. This is my favorite show on TV since I got into the series a few years ago so I highly recommend it to those at all interested in Politics or Government.

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