The West Wing – one of the best television shows, nay one of the best dramas ever written is back. Yes, it is wonderful news but before you get all excited it is only for a single sketch. But oh, what a thing of beauty that will be.
The show, which chronicled the behind the scenes White House of a Democratic President, ran for seven seasons. It will return as part of Funny Or Die, the Emmy-winning website which features sketches created by both the site creators and random celebrities. Some really quite famous names have been in clips on the site, including Steve Carell, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jim Carrey.
Now, I am not saying The West Wing didn’t have a lot of humour – it was written by Aaron Sorkin so it’s basically drenched in wit – but I cannot really see it fitting into the Funny Or Die mould. Whatever, it will be just enough to see my favourite characters again, and by favourite I mean Joshua Lyman.
The news was broken on twitter by Eli Attie, a writer for The West Wing who is involved in the project. He tweeted happy pictures of the cast including Martin Sheen (President Bartlet), Allison Janney (CJ Craig), Dulé Hill (Charlie), Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler), Joshua Malina (Will Bailey) and Mary McCormack (Kate Harper). Oh, and Bradley Whitford, who played White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman, may have been there as well.
Dulé Hill also shared an adorable picture on WhoSay.
Sadly missing from the photos was John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry; the President’s Chief of Staff, confidant and best friend. Spencer died in 2005 and his absence is still keenly felt by all of us The West Wing fans.
The West Wing, which won several Emmys and Golden Globes both as a series and for some of the cast, finished in 2006 but this is not the first time the cast have reunited. In 2012 they appeared on Funny Or Die for the first time, in a sketch which used the famous Sorkin ploy of the “walk and talk” to promote physical fitness. They also featured in a voting campaign and endorsement the same year for Bridget Mary McCormack (Mary’s sister).
Whilst The West Wing definitely raised the bar on television drama, and engaged the audience in politics as no show had done before, it also proved to be a useful stepping stone for some of our greatest actors.
Janney, whom I loved in Struck By Lightning, The Help and everything else she has ever done, was at the forefront of female television characters by playing the headstrong press secretary. Malina has gone on to appear in just about every Sorkin production, whilst Hill starred in the madcap crime caper Psych.
Also, President Bartlet’s successor in seasons six and seven, Matt Santos (played by the ethereal Jimmy Smits) was based upon an up-and-coming politician of the time: Barack Obama
A date for the Funny Or Die sketch hasn’t been confirmed.
Whilst we’re waiting let’s dig out The West Wing DVDs, grab the popcorn and remember just what exquisitely-written, wonderfully-acted, superbly-directed television really is. Now, just how much will we have to pay Sorkin to write season eight?