West Wing

There are few TV shows that really grab me.  Yes, there are some that I truly enjoy watching and look forward to, but very few that I just can’t get enough of and never grow tired of.  And, it is interesting to note that most of the ones that fall into this category were ones that I didn’t particularly like when they first came on!  Of those I can think of off the top of my head, ER is the only one I liked right from the very first episode…..but, ER also just barely makes the list and maybe, technically, shouldn’t even be on the list because I stopped watching it not long after Dr. Greene died – just wasn’t the same and it got kinda ho hum after that.   But, back to my point — for most of the shows that I put on my private little pedestal, I was excited by the promos and anxiously awaited their premiers.  I made sure I didn’t forget to see their series debuts and was sure they would be the best shows EVER.  And, then, when the first show aired, I was disappointed and thought they would surely be big flops!  To be fair, I typically watched a second episode and, maybe, a third just to see if that first episode was a bust because it was meant to set the stage.  In all cases, I didn’t go beyond that………..until, at some point, I accidentally got hooked – usually during rerun season!

West Wing is one of those shows!  Yes, I preliminarily thought it would be great, but the first show of the series was so confusing and hard to follow that I didn’t bother with any after that.  After the second season, I started catching them during the summer reruns and was hooked!!!  I caught up on the second season throughout the summer and never missed an episode after than….until the end!  I sat each week riveted to my seat watching the inner workings of the White House during President Bartlet’s reign.  I adore Stockard Channing and was memorised by her portrayal of Mrs. Bartlet.  CJ was funny, smart, and a great reminder of what a strong woman can achieve in life.  Her vulnerability in her relationship with Danny Concannon was touching – who, by the way was another of my favorite characters to watch.  Of course, Martin Sheen was the perfect choice for President Bartlet……one can only hope we will have a President just like him some day!  Charlie was such a sweet heart – you just had to root for his success and his future!  And, then, there was Leo…….I loved Leo!  I was heart-broken watching President and Mrs. Bartlet in torment when Zoe was kidnapped.  I agonized over Toby’s fall from grace and rejoiced in the birth of his twins.  And I was devastated when Leo died!!!!  The West Wing characters became like family and I had to watch every week.

I was so sorry to see it all end…….I would have loved to see how Jimmy Smits may have taken the show to a different level.  But, I understood why they didn’t continue.  With Leo dead and not being the Vice-President and several other key characters moving on and not staying, it would have been so very different…….better to quit while they were still on top!

I’ve caught reruns every now and then, but not consistently.  Then, just recently, I discovered that it is on a couple of times a day every week day on Bravo while I’m at work!!!  So, I set the DVR to record it whenever it comes on!  I come home every day with at least two (once in a while only one) episodes waiting for me!  What a treat!  And the best part…….I started recording and rewatching it right at the last few episodes of the final season — I got to see the campaign and win of Matt Santose (Jimmy Smits), including the death and funeral of Leo……an emotional revisiting of some of the most painful episodes of the series and, perhaps, of any show I’ve ever watched!  And then, after the very last episode of the series, they started in with the pilot and on with the first episode!  I am now watching the first season – episodes I didn’t get to see – giving me a retrospective baseline for the show!  Including that very first pilot episode that I originally hated — and, frankly, still didn’t particularly enjoy!  If I hadn’t gotten hooked and fell in love with the show and then saw the first episode again, I still would never had gone on with it……I often wondered why I didn’t like it – was I just in a bad mood that night, did it just strike me wrong, did I miss some key element that would have tied it all together and made me like it?  But, I see, now, that none of these were the case!  hahahaha  Just a few days ago, I saw the episode where Charlie got his job and heard his story and how the President reached out to him — very touching!  I’ve spent the last couple of days catching up with episodes that were DVR’d while I was on a business trip – I have one left to watch!

So……..I’m reliving and enjoying a show that reached out and grabbed me and that I have missed terribly!  I have another chance to connect to the characters that I loved and those I loved to hate!  What a blessing DVR is!!!

By the way…….the other shows that round out the top three in the same category of shows that have consumed me:

Gray’s Anatomy (second place to West Wing’s first place status)– Again, I hated the first episode and didn’t let myself get hooked on it………..until the rerun season between seasons 5 and 6.  I got so hooked that I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened “before”, so I got all the DVDs from seasons 1-5 from Netflix and watched them all while keeping up with parts of season 6!!!  I can not wait until season 7 starts!!! 

Friends — This one just seemed too silly the first 2 or 3 episodes and I just couldn’t get into it, but I got hooked on reruns after about 2 seasons!  I still watch it in reruns, if I happen to be flipping channels and find an episode that catches my eye — I still laugh at some that I have seen over and over again!

One Comment on “West Wing

  1. I never watched Friends or West Wing, but I am a loyal Grey’s fan. I was slightly underwhelmed with the season premiere, but I think most cliffhanger endings start back this way. You have to wrap up loose ends before you can start up something new. I did like the flashbacks as a technique to help you remember all the nuance, etc, of last season’s ending.

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