“What’s Next?”

The West Wing is my favorite television show ever.

I like a lot of TV. I love a lot of TV. The West Wing is more than that to me. It has some of my favorite writing of any medium and most certainly of any television.

Why are we talking about the show today? Because today is the last time that The West Wing Weekly a podcast where Hrishikesh Hirway and Joshua Malina (who was on the show y’all!) rewatched (or in the case of the last three seasons for Hrishi watched for the first time!) this wonderful seven seasons of television.

I have been constantly rewatching The West Wing pretty much since the show began, it used to run in four hour blocks on Bravo, and my roommate Jen had the DVDs, and then streaming entered my life, so you know there’s that. But watching it in community, and at the same pace even as some of the people in my real life was really, really fun. I also, like Hrishi, rarely revisited the post Sorkin years, which are better than I remembered.

But now I’m going to miss The West Wing Weekly, I’m going to miss hearing the inside stories, the good natured rivalry between Malina and Bradley Whitford, the beautiful memories of the dearly departed John Spencer, and all the weird little phrases that have entered my lexicon because of it over the past four years. Flentls and “Attonerys General” and “That’s President *Insert Noun Here*”

The West Wing of course is not going anywhere in my life. I knew it would be leaving Netflix, with NBC and Warner Brothers both getting their own streaming services going, and wheather I was getting Peackock or HBO Max was going to depend entirely on which one was getting The West Wing. It’s HBO Max, which means I will be watching Green Lantern Corp and probably won’t be watching The Adventure Zone (until it’s all up and I can binge during a free trial that is.)

Arrow also ended last night but my antenna wouldn’t pick up The CW so we’ll talk about that tomorrow. OK? For now I’m saying good bye to a podcast about a TV show, because pop culture is really just a snake eating it’s tail at this point in my life. Also I realize that The Good Place finale is on Thursday. There’s a lot going on.

“What’s Next?”

Thanksgiving Prep – TV Time

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, Y’all! Since tomorrow, despite the holiday, is still going to be Crisis Management and Marina day, (Have you noticed The Marina Chronicle is back! Because it is! Hooray for beating writers block!) I decided today would be when I chronicle my favorite pre Thanksgiving tradition.

I watch my favorite Thanksgving episodes of TV shows that I love.

The West Wing – “Shibboleth”

This is the single greatest 45 minutes of Thanksgiving content to ever air on TV. Ever. President Bartlett has to pardon a Turkey, but also a bunch of Chinese refugees who fled claiming they are persecuted Christians.  It’s stunningly good TV, and I watch it every year. (I also usually watch the Season 3 Thanksgiving episode “The Indians In the Lobby,” but it’s less essential and this list has gotten long.) (I did watch it though)

Friends – “The One With All The Thanksgivings”

The episode where they flashback to those college Thanksgiving in the Gellar household that point towards the inevitability of Chandler and Monica. Aside from being hilarious and featuring several characters putting a Turkey on their head, I’ll never love Friends more than these seasons, where Chandler and Monica were falling in love.

Gossip Girl – “Blair Waldorf Must Pie”

This episode is Gossip Girl’s greatest hits all in one. Revelations of secrets in the past. Blair having angnst about her parents, and Chuck, and Nate. Nate and Serena looking at each other longingly. Dan and Jenny trying to preserve their bohemian Brooklyn roots while fitting in with their new friends. Lily and Rufus drama. Everything. It was also the first episode I ever watched, so it holds a special place in my heart.

The OC – “The Homecoming”

Ryan goes back to Chino for Thanksgiving to visit Trey in jail. Trey asks him to return a stolen car. He and Marissa get in a car chase and we meet Theresa! Meanwhile, back in Newport, Sandy and Seth try to keep Kirsten from cooking, Kirsten tries to set Jimmy up with Sandy’s coworker. It’s a fun episode that again, like the Gossip Girl on this list is everything the show does well. (It’s not the top Holiday episode of Season 1, which is of course “Chrismakkuh”)

New Girl – “Parents”

Jess “Parent Traps” her parents, played by Rob Reiner and Jamie Lee Curtis. It works, in that they definitely bang but do not get back together. Meanwhile, Nick and Jess’s dad bond, Scmidt and Cece do some stuff, and Winston continues his march into total madness.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend – “My First Thanksgiving With Josh”

Oh boy, I love this episode. It’s not my favorite Crazy Ex, but it’s up there. Including all time great songs, “I Give Good Parent” and “What’ll It Be” plus some excellent bathroom humor and Valencia realness.

Brooklyn 99 – “Two Turkeys”

There are a few great Brooklyn 99 Thanksgiving episodes, but this is my favorite, when Jake and Amy try to bring their parents together for the Holiday. It doesn’t go well, but it’s really fun anyway. Plus it’s a low level West Wing reunion. (Bradley Witford and Jimmy Smits) and a low level Sons Of Anarchy reunion (Katey Sagal and Jimmy Smits) Also, you know, Jimmy Smits!

How I Met Your Mother – “Slapsgiving”

“Slapsgiving” is not only on my list of great Thanksgiving episodes. It’s also on my list of perfect episodes of television and probably my second favorite “HIMYM” episodes (after “The Pineapple Incident”) it uses the show’s conceit about storytelling and unreliable narrators perfectly and introduces the “General Knowledge” bit, includes the Slap Bet and the song “You Just Got Slapped”enters the proceedings.

Happy Turkey Day, dear friends. I love you and am Thankful for each and every one of you. We’ve got a crowded December. (Last burst of movie season! Favorites Lists! The Fangirl Airing of Grievances!)

OK…OK…What’s Next?

 I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am–the special ones, the wise ones, sometimes just the ones who got there first.

It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.  – Neil Gaiman

I love this quote by Neil Gaiman (on my Mount Rushmore of influences by the way, that man…) And I was thinking about it a lot as I drove to work yesterday morning, because I’d spent the evening listening to one of the special ones, the wise ones, and most importantly, the guy that got there first.

I came to the realization some time ago when someone asked me who my favorite writer was and I didn’t have to time to think about it, or maybe I’d been drinking, or was tired, and without even taking a breath I said simply, “Oh, Aaron Sorkin.”

The response when I say that is anywhere from a “YES!” to a “The West Wing Guy?” to an agreived sigh and a “he really can’t write women.” (How this became the narrative for the guy who created Dana Whittaker and CJ Cregg is beyond me…Harriet Hayes was sort of a trainwreck, but he women of The Newsroom were pretty kick ass, as Sorkin characters go.)

Anyway, the whole evening was sort of magical. Crystan managed to get us amazing seats at Town Hall for The West Wing Weekly Live, with special guest Aaron Sorkin. It was technically the season 4 finale, but they kind of just jumped around (that finale is the last episode that Sorkin wrote) Emily Procter, who played Ainsley Hayes also came and chatted, and overall it was just, kind of lovely.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of this man.

This man who’s work has inspired me since I was twelve. This man who has given so many words to the world.

You’ll notice that this week’s The Marina Chronicles post is a group of people sitting at a table trying to figure out their next step…that’s not a coincidence. I love that kind of writing.

Anyway, it was really fun, and I need to find out, well, what’s next.

2016 Pop Culture Thank Yous

2016 was a rough year, for like, Earth. We lost some of our brightest lights, politics took a terrifying turn towards the horrific, and all kinds of other small defeats.

But, as I said back in November, the thing we do here is point to the light, so I’m going to list out the pop culture stuff I was really grateful for this year:

  • The Women of The DCEU: Neither Batman V Superman nor Suicide Squad were particularly great, but they gave us Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. And for this we should be grateful, because all three of these women seem like, uber psyched about these characters and are approaching them with integrity and joy. Next stop Gotham Sirens. (Please cast Christina Hendricks as Ivy.) Well, Wonder Woman first, but also Gotham Sirens.
  • The Hamilton Mixtape: Should speak for itself, but it’s unrelentingly good. Reuniting Ashanti and Ja-Rule ALONE makes it noteworthy, but each version of each song, plus the new songs are all perfect. “Wrote My Way Out,” has probably my favorite verse that Lin-Manuel has ever written. (Though Sonny’s solo in “96,000” is up there too.)
  • Kate McKinnon: Between her Emmy win, Ghostbusters and all of the really stellar work she did as Hilary Clinton and well, everything else on SNL (and possibly Office Christmas Party, I haven’t yet seen it.) I think this is going to be the year that comedy nerds look back on as her real rise. And she deserves it, because she’s incredible.
  •  This Is Us: The most emotionally manipulative show ever made and I don’t care. It’s wonderful. Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia make me cry every week. The Pearsons are stepping up to the plate to replace the Walkers and the Bravermans and they are doing an incredible job.
  • R+L=J is canon.
  • Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life: Was it everything we’d all always wanted? Nope. Did it bring Lorelai and Luke to a satisfying conclusions? Yes. Was Team Logan decimated? Uh huh. Should we check in again in a few years? If it is Amy Sherman-Palladino’s will. Should Rory’s baby be a boy? You bet! Should she name him Richard? Duh! Will she and Jess end up together raising said baby? Sure hope so. Will Jess occasionally take a worried Richard’s face in his hands and say, “You are my son, and I love you,” making everyone cry? Everybody watch This Is Us.
  • Tom Holland as Spider-Man
  • Westworld and Westworld theorizing. The character of Maeve on Westworld, the refusal to backtrack on brilliant storytelling in Westworld, the character of Teddy on Westworld, Ed Harris’s performance on Westworld, Anthony Hopkins’s performance on Westworld. 
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, specifically the joke about Seal’s vague history with wolves. I want to know more about this Lonely Island.
  • Legends Of Tomorrow: The show’s slow start and the fact that they managed to make Vandal Savage (one of my favorite DC Baddies) boring caused me to hit pause on it. But when I decided to commit it was so very worth it, and Season 2 is such a complete delight. (Though lack of Leonard Snart is *inahles dramatically* let’s say, mmm, disappointing.) It’s hard to lose me on a show who’s premise is, “Pretty people on a time machine chase bad guys, wear period outfits and kick ass.” It’s brought some of the best parts of Arrow over with it, in Sara and Ray and now Malcolm Merlyn. (Put Thea and Dig on Waverider, and I’d say Arrow ceases having a need to exist. Felicity can go to The Flash.) (I’m kidding, Diggle would never time travel.)
  • The West Wing Weekly, which gave me a framework to revisit one of my favorite shows without rushing through it. That The West Wing holds up so well is also nice to see.
  • Zootopia and Moana are both. Thanks Disney, for bringing so much back. You know, animals that make you cry and spunky teen heroines
  • Deadpool. Deadpool’s marketing campaign. Deadpool’s R rating. Deadpool’s GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS. ‘Tis a good time to be a nerd friends.
  • Donald Glover is going to be Lando Calrissian. While this isn’t going to happen for two more years, I feel this is an important victory for me personally, as I talked about it to an obnoxious degree.
  • A return to form from Once Upon A Time. It’s not as good as season 1, but it’s at least very good. The new characters are engaging, the story feels low it has stakes. I’m thrilled about it.

There’s more stuff but that’s what’s jumping out at me

Next week I’ll write up movie season, and look at 2017. I think we’ve got some fun ahead of us.

A Time of Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Most of my blog friends have been listing some sort of “favorite Thanksgiving episodes” of things and I was going to do the same and then I realized that there was absolutely nothing like the greatest Thanksgiving episode of anything ever.

The West Wing “Shibboleth”

This is the best, best, best, Thanksgiving episode of anything ever, and is in the top 2 of my favorite West Wing episodes. (And Surely It’s To Their Credit is #1) It’s full of moments of greatness. Some worth mentioning:

  • Sam trying to convince Toby that they should procrastinate on writing the President’s Thanksgiving Proclamation by writing an action adventure series about Pilgrim Detectives. “With the big hats.”
  • C.J. and The Turkeys. This whole subplot. It’s pure Sorkin Greatness
CJ and Turkeys

CJ and Turkeys

  • The President gives Charlie the carving knife that Paul Revere made for the Bartlett family. Because Charlie is his son. It’s time to cry.
  • “I’m going to begin the singing and lute playing!” “Whatever.”
  • “We’ve been working really hard and we’d rather watch football than listen to a lecture about the yam in Latin.”
  • “Oh the President could give a damn what you guys are doing tomorrow Toby!”
  • “Did my sister put you up to this?” “No” “I’m shocked.” “It was my idea.” “I’m less shocked.”
  • Donna being completely baffled that CJ doesn’t know all of the Thanksgiving Traditions so CJ just starts shouting all of her various academic achievements
  • “We do not strut ever!” Leo’s speech to his sister is one of his absolute best and possibly the best that isn’t to the President himself.
  • Oh right, all of this happens as everyone is trying to figure out how to keep a bunch of Chinese refugees from being sent back to China, in a nice little parallel to the first Thanksgiving.

This episode was followed up by the equally delightful but not quite as high quality Indians in The Lobby, which does have the subplot of The President calling the butterball hotline while pretending to be a regular Joe from Fargo, North Dakota and shouting, “J’accuse ma petite fromage,” at the first lady, but it’s just not as strong an episode all around.

And there are no turkeys.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

What Kind Of Day Has This Been?

We’re back into gateways people and now we’re going to talk about the one that I’ve probably already talked about the most around here.

I’m of course talking about the work of Aaron Sorkin.

(I also noticed that most of the gateways were super dude oriented, OK? I think we’ve improved a great deal on that particular score!)

The West Wing had such a tremendous impact on me as a kid. I loved this show so much, that my friends knew better than to try to get in touch with me on Wednesday nights. And of course A Few Good Men is to this day one of those movies that I watch every time I see it on TV. (And sometimes I’ll even pop in the DVD, if I need some comfort food.) Of course later on came Studio 60 and the less I say about that magnificent train wreck the better, although I could go on for hours, and somewhere along the line I watched reruns of Sports Night.

The thing that was different about Sorkin from my other early proto fandoms was that watching The West Wing or The American President or even Sports Night was that they made me very proud to be smart. They made me happy to love words and read books. Sorkin’s characters are unapologetic nerds, and ambitious and successful ones at that.

And these people can talk.

They talk, and talk and talk, and while some of it is just blabbing a lot of the time they’re actually saying things. They’re saying things about patriotism, and justice, and the power of art.

And that’s why I think a lot of people don’t quite like The Newsroom.

I love The Newsroom, most of my friends love The Newsroom. My sister calls it The Snoozeroom, but that’s a different story.

The Newsroom is Sorkin turned up to 11. These characters are insanely smart, incredibly driven and have integrity coming out their butts. They’re a mess in their personal lives (another Sorkin hallmark) but at work, they are on it.

And they make beautiful speeches and it’s amazing. Yes, it’s a rose colored view of the world. Yes, it trusts a lot more in human nature than just about anything else on TV, especially anything else on HBO, the home of cynicism about The Human Condition. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s all fantastic, but The Newsroom’s tone doesn’t quite fit in with say, Game of Thrones.)

But I like that optimism. I like walking away from something and remembering that hey, smart, interested motivated people can maybe save the world. There are good people who are willing to work to make things better.

It’s why I’ll always think that Moneyball is better work from him than The Social Network, even though the latter is a much better movie. Moneyball is the one about ideas that change something. The Social Network is the one about ideas that make one dude super rich and even more super lonely.

Also, it one of them has Chris Pratt playing baseball.

Case closed.

What’s Next?

If I had never met my friend Crystan, my entire life would be different. That’s true of many of my friends, but Crystan changed my life in one of the most tangible ways possible. I chose my college because of her.

Go Royals!

Go Royals!

See, when I was a senior in high school, I didn’t get into my first choice school. It was a blow, because I’d been dreaming of going there since I understood what college was. I’d applied to several other schools that were in the same vein, of course. Smaller cities, liberal arts focused but not exclusive, Jesuit. I’d gone to visit Scranton that summer and liked it, but wasn’t sold.

Crystan sold me. I stayed with her when I did an overnight visit, and it was there that I learned that social life in college wasn’t all drinking bad keg beer, and avoiding getting date raped. (I mean, I did plenty of that too, when the time came.) Crystan and her roommate Sarah were like me. We talked about Newsies and Dawson’s Creek, we watched Grey’s Anatomy and ate junk food. It was a transforming experience.

My friendship with them always continued. We took Shakespeare courses together. I had my first legal drink at their apartment. I am endlessly grateful for their friendship

So on Wednesday when Crystan asked me if I wanted to meet her in the city for a West Wing Trivia Night, well, that was it. I went. We didn’t do so well at trivia but it was a fun night none the less. We giggled remembering fun moments about West Wing, and other things that we love. We talked about life.We talked about Scandal and Veronica Mars, and how despite the fact that we’re working and trying to live we still want to write, and create the next “thing,” that girls will sit in dorm rooms and talk about.

That’s kind of the deal when it comes to old friends, a lot of the time when you’re around them you become the best version of yourself that you were when you first met them. When I’m with Crystan, I’m an idealistic 18 year old, who wants to write the next great teen soap.

I mean, I still want to do that, but back then I thought it was an actual possibility.

Literally, the weirdest actor pattern of them all

Hey guys, it’s been a while since we identified a Weird Actor Pattern. This is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while and decided it was time to flush it out.

Rob Lowe leaves shows that he’s great on before the show is over.

I’m a big fan of Rob Lowe. Having been an integral part of both The West Wing and Wayne’s World means that I’ve spent a lot of time with the characters that he played and they were a big part of my growing up.

Also, he looked like this, while I was in the throes of puberty, sooo...

Also, he looked like this, while I was in the throes of puberty, sooo…

Anyway, let’s talk about The West Wing. Rob Lowe played Sam Seaborne, the brilliant, talented awesome speech writer who wanted to maybe be president some day. What’s interesting about early episodes of The West Wing, is that it’s very clear the show was supposed to focus on Sam, but it became increasingly about President Bartlett and Josh Lyman because they were just more interesting as characters. But Sam was still pretty great. And then halfway through season 4, he was gone. Sam ran for congress, wound up losing and then, I think went into private law practice? He wound up coming back as Josh’s deputy chief of staff for President Santos. But for a good long while, there was just no Sam.

After The West Wing came Brothers & Sisters. I was a big fan of Brothers & Sisters, even before Rob Lowe showed up, because it made me fall in love with Emily Van Camp, but Lowe played Robert McAllister, the love of Kitty Walker’s (Calista Flockhart) life. Kitty and Robert were the only Republicans in the staunchly liberal Walker clan, they got married, they had a kid, they were politically active and he again ran for congress. This time he won! But Kitty and Robert started having marriage problems, and I saw the writing on the wall. But rather than getting divorce and him disappearing like Sarah Walker’s husband, Robert was killed in a fiery car crash ten minutes after he and Kitty made up. (Because that’s how Brothers & Sisters rolled.)

And now there’s Parks And Recreation. I’m no end of sad that tonight Chris Traegar and Ann Perkins will be departing Pawnee. I know a lot of people who aren’t huge fans of Ann, but I’ve always loved the more balanced energy that she brings to the show. But this isn’t about the underrated genius Rashida Jones this is about how we’re now losing literally the best character on the show. Well, maybe not really, but losing Chris is going to be a blow to Parks & Rec, his manic energy fits so well with the rest of the gang, and it’s going to be interesting to see how the show moves on.

Really, I see this whole thing not being great for Ben and Leslie’s marriage, their best friends leaving when they’re already having boundary issues.

“You can’t just tumble into a girl sideways”: Shipping with Mr. Sorkin

To talk about shipping is, for me, to open a can of worms that will never end. It gets particularly bad when it comes to television shows that I like. I could and have had hours long talks about why it totally sucks that Lucas Scott and Peyton Sawyer ended up together, why Veronica Mars always belonged with Logan Ecchols, Rory Gilmore and Jess Mariano clearly deserved a real chance at a life together and the fact that Serena Vanderwoodsen and Nate Archibald didn’t ever really get it together is criminal.

But unless you really want me to bore the pants off of you, don’t ask me about the collective television work of Mr. Aaron Sorkin and the many, many couples that have quickly walked and talked at each other while falling in love on his watch. Oh God, the epic uncomfortable nerd love! The unending analysis and rippling consequences, there’s nothing else on television like it.

There’s always so much of it, it’s always woven so beautifully into the stories and when it’s done right, it’s some of the most incredible relationship based television ever. When it’s done wrong, it’s Jim Harper and Maggie Jordan.

I used so much energy wishing for them to get together. Now I just want them both to fall off a roof!

I used so much energy wishing for them to get together. Now I just want them both to fall off a roof!

But, oh, the glory of when it’s done right! When it’s right we get Josh Lyman and Donna Moss and their seven year long flirtation. The quote that titles this post is from Donna about Josh’s dating habits, regarding Joey Lucas, who was another amazing Josh Flirtation. It was brought about again when Josh was with Amy Gardner. When I first watched the show, I didn’t care much for Amy, but I’ve come around to her. Josh wasn’t ready for Donna in season 2.

When it’s good, it’s Matt Albie and Harriet Hayes. I don’t just love this relationship because it’s loosely based on Sorkin’s relationship with Kristin Chenoweth.

I've read her book. I understand that their relationship toxic. They were still totally adorable.

I’ve read her book. I understand that their relationship was toxic. They were still totally adorable.

Matt and Harriet were funny, smart and she was a complicated Christian female character. (I love these. There aren’t enough of them.) They ended ambiguously. Of course, everything about Studio 60 on The Sunset Strip ambiguously, because well, it didn’t really end. But still, I would have liked to see him work out his Chenorkin issues over our TVs. Alas, it was not allowed, because Studio 60 was not actually that good a show. But Harriet and Matt were great.

When it’s done right, it’s Casey McCall and Dana Whittaker. It’s two old friends that have loved each other for a long time and are just coming to realize it. It’s that feeling of worry that if the relationship part doesn’t work you’ll wind up trashing the friendship that means so much to you. But in Sorkin-land it’s always worth it. The pay off is witty sexually charged banter, and cute dresses and fancy restaurants at implausible times of the day. Oh, for Casey and Dana it was so worth it.

Sometimes it’s tragic, because sometimes, it’s C.J. Cregg and Simon Donovan. She’s being hunted, he’s protecting her. They’re attracted to each other, but can’t be together. They catch the guy, they kiss. He gets gunned down in trying to stop a convenience store robbery before he can file the paperwork. I ship C.J. and Simon so hard that I get teared up just thinking about them. Luckily, there was the convenient back up of C.J. and Danny. I rarely ship more than one couple over the course of a show. I tend to be very loyal. C.J. was the exception, because she was so damn awesome.

But with The Newsroom, there are so many of them. The show is such a clusterfuck of Sorkin awkward relationships, that my fangirl head can’t keep anything straight, it changes so much. Do I want Will and Mackenzie to be together? Yes, no, I don’t know. I love Jim and Maggie together, I hate Jim and Maggie both together and as individuals. I want Neal to be with the Occupy Wall Street Girl, no, I want Neal to be with Taylor Warren! (Shut up, I couldn’t have been the only person watching on Sunday who wanted to see that happen!) I want Don and Sloan to be together!

It makes me ache inside when I think about how much I want Don and Sloan to be together. I want them to giggle and hold hands in the newsroom, in front of Jim and Maggie. I want Sloan to give smug new happy relationship advice to Mac about her and Will. I want them to get into awkward misunderstandings and go to dinner parties at Elliot’s house, if only so that we can meet Elliot’s wife and children.

I just don’t want them to go away. Because sometimes these things just go away.

Sometimes these things are Sam Seaborn and Mallory O’Brien.

How great would that have been?

Let Bartlett Be Bartlett

When I wrote about The Princess Bride I talked about how there are certain benchmarks of geekiness. There are certain things that I mark as sort tangible things that I chose, or was exposed to, that made me realize that I wasn’t going to ever be like the girls who I thought I was supposed to be like. (I later learned no one is exactly like those girls.)

A big one of those was watching The West Wing. I watched it because of my parents, mostly my mother. I was a middle school student. It didn’t take long for me to choose this show. Other girls my age were watching Dawson’s Creek (I wasn’t allowed to, I discovered it later and was obsessed) and crushing on impossible teen idols, and I was wondering if Leo’s alcoholism being exposed was going to lead to political fall out and crushing on Sam Seaborn.

What sixth grade girl doesn’t want a dorky socially inept speech writer who looks Rob Lowe?

Now that we’re in the last push of presidential elections, I spend a lot of time wishing that we lived in the world of The West Wing in real life. I wish we lived in a world where intelligent men of integrity were running our country and making epic speeches about the dignity of human beings and our limitless potential.

Even me, a die hard conservative, was kind of hoping for a Bartlett-esque four years from Obama. These were passionate, younger people, who wanted change. Instead, everything slowed down. Oh, we got change, in that the idealistic charismatic leader that had been elected changed in to a wishy washy shadow of every other politician.

But if this was the world of The West Wing, President Santos maybe would have been reelected, and he’d be winding down his second term. Secretary of State Arnold Vinnick would have clearly negotiated peace in the middle east. Josh Lyman and my husband Sam Seaborn would have created a legislative agenda that defended freedom and helped every one, and Sam would be gearing up his own campaign for the white house. I would be preparing for my duties as first lady by resigning from my position of running my own television network. (This is my West Wing fantasy and I can be married to Sam if I want.)

There are a lot of reasons why I hate the way politics are handled in our country. But a lot of it, I blame on Aaron Sorkin. As a teenager he led me to believe that the world of professional politics was like The West Wing.