I’ve done it, I’ve watched the end of the West Wing. I cried at every one of the last 6 episodes. I think I need trauma therapy. There is no more to be watched. I’m very sad right now. (possibly in both meanings of that word). The West Wing was beautiful for many many reasons, the wonderful dialogue between characters, those impossibly long sentences that no-one would ever get away with in real life. The characters that the writers clearly cared about, referencing back little details across series, knowing how to wrap everything up perfectly in the end. It was a series with hope, belief that maybe you couldn’t change the world but that it’s worth trying. And possibly it got a bit cheesy and far fetched and unrealistic but it left you with a sense that integrity, loyalty and genuine honesty were to be fought for and valued.
It had much to say about team life, especially in the first 4 series, on loyalty to the team, on encouragement, getting each others backs, brotherhood and perseverance in believing in people. It was funny, witty, far fetched, deep, a little bit too naive but with a strong sense that there are things in this world worth fighting for. Every British attempt at drama (with the possible exception of hustle) feels slow, dull, concerned with the worst in people, content with writing characters that all lie, cheat, deceive and have little redeemable qualities. It’s much easier to write characters who are immoral, cheaters, unloyal and nasty.
It’s so much harder to write convincing stuff about people who are deeply flawed but who also have redeemable qualities, who care about each other, who remain faithful. It’s hard because it seems cheesy, but to do it well leaves you with some hope that decency towards each other is really possible, that we can be loving, faithful, loyal and retain some integrity in this world. The hope of redemption is always there. We need to hang on to that. And for bigger reasons than the hope that the human race all gets a bit nicer towards each other. Redemption is only found through one man and our hope is that we are being transformed into His likeness, that we can exhibit the brilliance of his selfless love in our lives. That’s not naive or cheesy, that’s reality.