I was so excited

7 04 2013

No, I didn’t get into the High School of Performing Arts (tho’ back in the day I loved loved loved me some Fame): I was happy that Netflix started streaming the The West Wing.

I watched all of the early episodes, missed most of the mid-run shows (blame Canada!), then picked it back up again in the last season and a-half. Now I could watch them all!

Except. . . I didn’t.

Yeah, I dipped in here and there, but wet toes were enough; I felt no need to dive in.

Then some time later, bored with re-watching shows I’d re-watched already, I though, What the hell, and waded back in.

(Here endeth the water metaphors.)

And then I realized, upon watching some and re-watching other episodes, why I hesitated: I remember liking The West Wing, but, really, I both like and loath this show. The Sorkinisms are irritating (tho’ those are toned down considerably after the first season), some episodes are filled with enough cheese to make a vegan weep, and lawdy are some of those storyline stinkers (Zoe’s kidnapping, among others, and early-season handling of Bartlett’s MS). And, shit, I think they just get so much wrong.

But this is also a show that takes politics—the whole of politics—seriously. No one is wholly good (and only rarely are characters wholly bad), people on “our” side can be pricks and those on the “other” side can be principled, and amorality and morality fought over the course of the show’s run.

There’s more to say, but I’ll end with the observation that I wouldn’t have liked it much at all had I not liked the main characters, especially CJ and Toby. I’d like to be as tall and competent as CJ, and Toby, well, I just liked Toby.

Nice to see someone so dour do so well in the world.