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Tag: The West Wing (1-10 of 11)

'The West Wing' oral history: 9 things you didn't know or forgot

Since Frank Underwood became president on Netflix’s House of Cards, I’ve had this geek fantasy of him debating Josiah Bartlet, Martin Sheen’s idealistic and professorial president from The West Wing. Bartlet’s Washington, D.C., was the proverbial shining city on a hill, a place where intelligent, well-intentioned people gravitated to do the peoples’ business. Underwood’s capital is the nasty underbelly of a trough coated by man’s craven pursuit of power for power’s sake. It’s practically Kennedy’s Camelot versus Nixononian realpolitik. To paraphrase Anthony Hopkins’ Nixon in Oliver Stone’s 1995 movie, “When [people] look at The West Wing, they see what they want to be. When they look at House of Cards, they see what they are.”

The West Wing was a political world worth aspiring to, and eight years after the show went off the air, many young politicos — more liberal than conservative, of course — reference Aaron Sorkin’s show as an early influence that pointed them towards D.C. The Hollywood Reporter recently published an oral history, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the show’s premiere, with Sorkin, showrunner Tommy Schlamme, and many from the cast and crew contributing. It’s a fun, nostalgic read, one that digs into several what-ifs and reinforces my belief that Bartlet would debate “There’s No ‘U’ and ‘I’ in Education” Underwood under the table.

1. Martin Sheen was practically an accidental president

The show first offered the nation’s top job to Sidney Poitier, and Jason Robards was high on everyone’s list, but the 77-year-old was not in good health and would die in 2000. Hal Holbrook and John Cullum (ER) also read for the part. But Sheen, who’d worked with Sorkin on The American President, was a natural who made the showrunners reconsider the size of the role of their president. READ FULL STORY

The Cure for Pop Culture Exhaustion

Burned out by the incessant opinions, snark, and sniping? Drop out of the conversation and binge on something in a vacuum.

While the rest of the world has been busy gnashing its teeth over the How I Met Your Mother finale, mourning the sudden death of Will Gardner, and snickering over Gwyneth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling,” I’ve devoted the past week to watching the first four seasons of Parks and Recreation. Many would call this a binge – or a cry for help – but I prefer to think of it as a detox. There’s so much hashtagging and around-the-clock quarterbacking in pop culture today. Sometimes one just needs to give herself the quiet relief of sinking blissfully into a Leslie Knope-hole. READ FULL STORY

'Scandal' behind the scenes: Josh Malina answers fans' burning questions -- VIDEO

For this week’s Josh Cam, Scandal‘s Josh Malina put the power in the hands of the fans with a Q&A session that exposes a few behind-the-scenes secrets (how does Scandal pull off those phone convos?) and gives him a chance to give you his REAL thoughts on some of his former co-workers (e.g. Dulé Hill).

Check out Malina’s answers below:
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Allison Janney busts out 'The Jackal' for Arsenio Hall

In the summer comedy The Way Way Back, Allison Janney played a sauced mom who leaks TMI, and in the new CBS sitcom Mom, Janney plays another poor role-model mother who’s a recovered addict. But Janney will forever be known for the most sober of characters, President Bartlet’s press secretary and chief of staff C.J. Cregg on The West Wing. Fans of that Aaron Sorkin show will recall the season 1 episode where the White House staff gathers at the end of a long day of walk-and-talks to watch Cregg’s performance of Ronny Jordan’s 1993 song, ‘The Jackal’ — a jazzy, whispery rap that the actress had mastered in her downtime during the show that has since become a secret-handshake of sorts for those who love Janney, Cregg, and The West Wing.

When Janney recently signed on to Twitter, White House press secretary Jay Carney welcomed her to the site by asking her to teach him how to do “The Jackal.” If he was watching Arsenio Hall last night, he received a free lesson. Janney slinked and slanked on to the host’s lap to perform a sensual rendition of the song. Watch it below. READ FULL STORY

'Sorkinisms II: The Sorkening' reminds us who Aaron Sorkin's favorite writer is -- VIDEO

Less than a week to go until we all get to yell about The Newsroom again!

In the meantime, whet your appetite for more quixotic antics, flighty women, and Internet hate with this masterful video — an expansion of Kevin Porter’s original Aaron Sorkinisms supercut, now revamped to prove that Sorkin’s latest series is also something of a Frankenstein’s monster.
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Love is on the air: Who is the greatest TV couple of all time? Round 1, part 3

BEST-TV-COUPLE-heart-v3.jpg

Ross and Rachel. Carrie and Big. Clair and Cliff. Ricky and Lucy. These are just a few of the iconic pairings competing for the chance to be EW’s “Greatest TV Couple of All Time.” Check out our full bracket here and vote in the polls below to determine who will move on to the next round. Now for the 16 couples in our “He’s Her Lobster” conference. READ FULL STORY

The solitary pleasures of TV binge-watching: 'Friday Night Lights' down, 'The West Wing' on deck

This February, I watched all 76 episodes of Friday Night Lights.

Somehow—despite the facts that I live in Texas and loved the movie and care about sports and am obsessed with small-town culture—I never got it together enough to watch it when it was actually on the air. I’m part of the problem of why the critically-acclaimed show long struggled in the ratings and for that I must find a way to forgive myself.

But then there came that one insomnia-ridden night in February when, adrift on Netflix, I clicked on the pilot episode. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Kyle Chandler’s coach Eric had the weight of the world on the shoulders of his blue coach’s jacket and Connie Britton, who plays his magnificent wife, Tami, had this unicorn’s tail for hair and suddenly the quarterback was in the hospital and there was this guy Riggins who had these humongous shoulders and he blamed himself for the accident and he didn’t appear to have any parents and Explosions in the Sky was playing in the background…

And so began a strange couple of weeks in which I’m reasonably sure I showered and my young child was fed. “They’re all my friends and family and nothing makes sense to me when I’m out in the bright of day,” I told somebody who worried over the amount of time I was spending in my Friday Night Lights alternate universe.

Sometimes when I mentioned to people that I was deep into the show they’d make the mistake of saying they were fans too and I’d overwhelm them with overly impassioned play-by-play. How much did your heart swell when Riggins’ dad showed up at the game? Don’t you love it when Coach Eric gets Tami more wine? Aren’t you impressed by how they never drink and drive? Ugh, Julie. Grandma Saracen will be okay, don’t you think? Remember that time Coach Tami told Tyra to spike the volleyball right into Riggins’ throat? Or that time we got every angle of Riggins doing a round of back squats? Would you say your favorite supporting character is Mindy Riggins or Smash’s mother? Can you too recite Tyra’s UT application essay? Ugh, Julie. Panthers or Lions, or is that Sophie’s Choice? Skeeter!

I got used to people backing away from me slowly, saying that it had been a while. And they called themselves fans! READ FULL STORY

Aaron Sorkin, certified Internet hater, finally joins Twitter

Is Aaron Sorkin capable of completing a sentence using 140 characters or fewer? Has he perfected the art of walking and tweeting at the same time? Find out by following the TV vet’s brand new Twitter account, which EW can confirm is the real deal. (He joined the site last Friday; blame Sandy for us not reporting this important news sooner.)

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Obama gets advice from 'West Wing' president Jed Bartlet -- courtesy of Aaron Sorkin

While watching Barack Obama’s halting, pause-filled performance in last Wednesday’s debate, liberals across the country found themselves wishing that the president had been prepped by someone more focused, someone more aggressive, someone like, say, snappy dialogue writer extraordinaire Aaron Sorkin. Unfortunately for them, there’s no way to grant this wish short of stealing Professor Frink’s time machine. But at least those folks can take solace in Sunday’s New York Times, which contains the next best thing to a Sorkin-penned debate: a Sorkin-penned dialogue between President Obama and imaginary ex-president Josiah “Jed” Bartlet, last seen thinking about “tomorrow” on The West Wing‘s series finale.

Sorkin pal Maureen Dowd invited her famous friend to imagine a post-debate conversation between the real commander-in-chief and the one Sorkin made up. Sorkin obliged, just like he did in 2008 when Dowd first asked him to write Obama/Bartlet fan fiction. The final product features vintage Sorkinese, cigarettes, a barrage of statistics, and cameos from Jim Lehrer and The Newsroom‘s Will McAvoy. Here’s the real meat of the conversation:

READ FULL STORY

'West Wing' cast reunites for Michigan campaign ad (Yay, nepotism!) -- VIDEO

Have you, like me, suffered from acute West Wing withdrawal since the series went off the air in 2006? Well, here are four sweet minutes of relief.

The cast reunited for a wonderful video on the importance of voting on the nonpartisan section of the ballot. (I know it may not sound wonderful, but ye of little faith. It is the cast of The West Wing after all.) Produced by Michigan Supreme Court candidate Bridget Mary McCormack — and West Wing star Mary McCormack’s real life sister — the video features many of your favorite stars, including President Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen) himself. Check it out: READ FULL STORY

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