The West Wing

By Kay Gardiner
March 26, 2017

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  • I’ve recently joined you, Kay, in net flixing The West Wing. I had watched the show, but not from the beginning so starting at season one, the episodes are new. It has been wonderful binging to Dangling Conversation and my euroflax bundle. I tried an episode on the podcast and will probably do more, but now I’m really wrapped up in the series. Kay, I love your vocab. Term “knitflix.”

  • Sadly, it would take a few rewatches of all the seasons for me to work through my stash.

    Love the West Wing.

    • I hear you, Rev. Emily. The first season (or maybe two) of Madam Secretary is on Netflix now–I recommend it for lovers of TWW. I didn’t have high hopes for it before I watched it, but the first episode grabbed me pretty much right away. It has smart writing, really good acting, and really nice depictions of family life. The marital and parental relationships between two smart, driven people is well done, and the kids are realistic enough, too. The show is going strong still, so there should be more seasons of it for binge knitting.

      I started re-watcing TWW just before Kay started her first run-through, and I forgot how many of the silly, frequently appropriate quotations I use came from it. “It’s my day of victory! Bring me the finest bagels and muffins in the land.” “Ginger, get the popcorn!” and so forth.

  • I watched the show when it was first on, but since then I’ve rewatched the entire series several times. It’s one of my all-time favorites. I’ve been downloading the podcast for a while now, fully intending to listen as I rewatch yet again. It seems like now is a good time to escape to an administration that I wish we had.

    • Amen, sister.

  • West Wing is one of my all time favorites. It’s the one series I’ve actually rewatched. Fun game…see if you can spot all the lines Lin Manuel Miranda lifted and put in Hamilton (hint: I’m looking for a mind at work)

  • This is synchronistic in the extreme! I started watching episode 1on Netflix yesterday! Breezed through 9 episodes–couldn’t stop. Haven’t seen the series since the original broadcast. Forgot how incredible it is. And these days, it’s a comforting and reassuring sedative from the real world.

  • And if you follow the careers of any of the actors, except for Martin Sheen and Richard Schaffer (Toby), WW is their finest work.

    • I keep typing SCHIFF, not Schaffer

  • I watched it the first time around, but would love to watch it again. Thanks for the heads up that it’s on Netflix. I have so many wips and 2017 is my Year of Finishing WIPs. With President Bartlett’s help, I may be able to do it!

  • We call it “public policy porn.”

    • Bwahahahhaa – with this, you win the the internet today, and you make my MPA degree completely worth it.

  • Don’t worry – when you are done the West Wing you can switch to “Madam Secretary” (think she was mentioned before). You could also give “Designated Survivor” a chance – Keifer Sutherland as reluctant POTUS after an attack during a state of the union address. Just the right mix of mystery/suspense, political drama, and personal. Knitflix will continue to deliver!

  • I have watched The West Wing so many times! Unfortunately it is not available on French Netflix, so while I await each episode of TWWW with much eagerness, it’s a cruel tease as I can’t watch. I do have a couple seasons on DVD I snatched up when the American Library in Paris gave away all their DVD’s and videos. But yes, best thing to knit to, or to watch when you can’t sleep! Virtually sending you “the signal”!

  • I didn’t watch when it was on the air (too busy raising children as a single Mom), then tried it on Knitflix a few years ago and found that it moved so fast I had trouble following it. I’d been watching “House of Cards,” and was thoroughly confused… “Wait, I thought HE was the Vice President…??” Gave up, but this sounds like it might be worth a try. As soon as I’m done with “This Is Us,” which I love!

  • oh, West Wing. The idealism was wonderful during the Bush years, now it is just so depressing; but still … the writing! I am amazed you can knit through some of the episodes. It wanes a bit when Sorkin leaves, but does pick up again – excitingly – during its last two seasons. Ah, Leo … and CJ – and the episode with CJ and her father … you’ll cry, laugh, be angry, be proud.

    Enjoy … and you are forgiven for being late to being named a “Wingnut.”. (there were even fans across the pond). I still wish I had a bumper sticker that said “Jed Bartlett is my President” (or Republicans for Voldemort).

  • Loved it! I started watching it during the first season because the time it was on was the same time of day I would be nursing my newborn son. I was quickly hooked, watched until the end of the series, and have the box set on dvd. I had such a crush on Josh! And the arc with CJ and Mark Harmon, swoon…

  • Love the West Wing! I even OWN the complete 7 seasons (found it on SALE one Christmas and snagged it for myself.) It’s great for sewing to; just the sounds of Martin Sheen and John Spencer’s voices are both soothing and invigorating. I enjoy Madame Secretary, but my heart belongs to WW.

  • You’ve convinced me to get Knitflix (oh, Netflix). As others have noted, it’s critically helpful to our inner beings today. And it beats MSNBC for constant viewing — one needs to balance “reality” with something appealing and tolerable. Bless the WWingers!

  • I am also very, very late to the West Wing party. I think that I was under-televisioned when it was on, plus I was not yet a knitter(!) when it began. Now, though, I am intrigued by your email teaser “So many episodes, you could run out of knitting and have to just sit there and watch.” It would be fun to try, being as I have what feels like another 50 years of projects I would like to knit!

  • Along with the Firth/Ehle version of “Pride and Prejudice”, the West Wing has been and remains an endless source of comfort and joy for me. The actors, the writing, the intelligent plot lines… thank heavens for Netflix. I revisited “Thirtysomething” recently, and it has aged very well too, in spite of hair styles and shoulder pads. Not on Netflix though, sadly.

  • Eh, I’ve never been into Sorkin, and today I was not terribly surprised to find out he’s, um, full of white male privilege:

    And Netflix keeps giving the racist Adam Sandler money, and I am so tempted to cancel and tell them exactly why I am cancelling.

  • We’ve just become Netflix converts in the last three weeks, after ditching our pay/cable channel. Holy moly, so much good stuff to watch!

    The WW is on my list, after I’ve caught up on House of Cards (currently midway through Season 3). It’s a bit like watching The Americans – I can only handle 2 episodes in a sitting, then I feel a bit queasy and probably in need of a shower.

    Also thoroughly enjoying Stranger Things – so much 80s goodness! And the added bonus of Winona Ryder.

  • …there is a pretty good chance that I was watching TWW seasons 1 and 2 on DVD, while teaching myself to knit, back in Fall 2004…

  • My husband now teaches Latin (Catholic school!), but for years he taught AP U.S. Government, and he was a devoted fan of The West Wing. I think the one down side was that the show is so smart that he couldn’t watch it after the kids went to bed when he was tired– he had to be awake and on his A game. 🙂

  • Or you could do what I have, watch it over and over again! I can almost say the lines before the characters say them. I have yet to tire of it! I think it has something to do with starting out with a poly sci major at university and being a bit to idealistic.

  • I didn’t watch West Wing in it’s original airing, but I’ve started in on Netflix (possibly at the same time as you, Kay!) and I am HOOKED. It’s wonky and smart and gives you a little history/civics lesson in each episode. Maybe the current administration should give it a watch?

  • Love, love, love The West Wing. Didn’t watch it “live” but binged on Netflix. One of the best shows ever.