Monday, August 23, 2010

Go West Young Woman

Just finished re-watching West Wing Season 6. I check the DVDs out from the library whenever my spare time and their availability happen to coincide. It's been about a year now, one more season to go, and I can't believe how good this show is. In fact I would say that I love West Wing as much as I love Sports Night, or even The American President. Huh. Funny how they all happen to be created and written by the same genius. Aaron Sorkin; funny, smart, and compassionate, writing funny, smart, compassionate entertainment. I could watch these shows over and over again; in fact I do watch them over and over again. I love Aaron Sorkin. I LOVE HIM! I love that he constantly uses the same actors. Same snappy dialogue style. And I can even forgive him for using the same jokes and occasional episode formats in the 2 totally different television series. It's all just as good the second time around with different actors!

The writing never fails to move me in some way. Crying, or laughing, or simply by provoking thought. There's a character in the earlier episodes of West Wing, Ainsley Hayes, a Republican who comes to work in the very Democratic White House. In this one episode which brings up the Equal Rights Amendment, that doomed bit of legislation pushed by the Feminist movement in the 70s, another character is shocked that Ainsley doesn't support it, because even if she is a Republican, how can she, as a woman, disagree with it? And her response resembles something to the tune of, "I don't need a law telling me that I am equal to a man. I am equal simply by being a citizen of this country. Nothing could be more patronizing." Of course it's much more eloquent, and I'm not sure I entirely agree, but still, food for thought.

I love the idealists Aaron Sorkin champions, the decent politicians he creates. I adore the men he writes. They are all decent, and sensitive in some way. All flawed, but striving to be better. Funny, kind, vulnerable, and genuine. It's hard not to look for these men in all men.

But as much as I love the men he writes, I love the women more. It's not easy writing a smart, strong, funny woman in a leadership role, who maintains her femininity without cliched damsel in distress moments. These women have it together and even when they don't have it together, it's not the men who save them. And the actresses who play them could not have been cast better...Annette Benning as Sydney Wade, Felicity Huffman as Dana Whitaker, and my favorite, Alsion Janney as CJ Cregg. No they aren't real, but it doesn't mean they aren't admirable, and it certainly doesn't mean I can't strive to be like them.

So I'm having a West Wing love affair. Excited to finish up the last season, and start stalking Aaron Sorkin on IMDB to the words of Jed Bartlett..."what's next."

Here's a great clip from season 6 which also features my new theme song...enjoy!

I have only one tip for Aaron Sorkin improvement...let's see a little more racial diversity in the main characters.