West Wing on Twitter

Some days are relatively normal, get up, write, eat, watch TV, go to bed. The highlights are simple ones and, at present, one of my highlights is watching an episode of The West Wing on Soho in the early evening Monday to Friday.

They started at the beginning and we’re now up to series four and fast approaching the kidnap of Zoe Bartlet. I’ve blogged about this before and you know how in love I am with the writing and the acting and the pace at which the programme moves. The relationships between power and those who serve power fascinate me and American politics has always fascinated me. When it was broadcast for the first time I was captured by it and have remained so.

Then other days are like an alternate universe, the boundary between fiction and fact becomes blurred and people inhabit my world who you could call, strange. I follow several of the actors from West Wing on Twitter and they’re witty and interesting, Richard Schiff, Dule Hill, Rob Lowe and Joshua Malina. Last night Twitter suggested I follow Leo McGarry. For those who don’t know, Leo was the Chief of Staff for seven years and he died at the end of series six, the actor, the late great John Spenser, actually died.

So I sent Leo a tweet and asked if his deputy, Josh Lyman, was on Twitter. He was the hottest thing in politics, he was the ‘bad boy’, the bulldog who got things done and, like any fully rounded character, he had an emotional side and a simmering sexual tension with his aide, Donatella Moss. Leo tweeted me back and gave me Josh Lyman’s twitter account. Donna entered into it by tweeting Leo and I and saying “was?” because I’d said that Josh ‘was’ the hottest thing in politics. I had to apologise for using the past tense and asked if they were married yet and she confirmed that they are. Now I’m reading tweets from President Bartlett and Leo McGarry and Josh Lyman…especially as President Obama has come out in favour of gay marriage today, a brave thing to do in election year and very “Bartlett like.”

Do you see how weird this is? And it is also lovely. It shows me that I am not the only one who knew that this series was special, in addition to being the best thing ever in the history of television, it touched people’s lives, it had a social impact.

On one level it entertains, on another it inspires me to write witty, succinct, clever dialogue and reveal the inner conflicts behind the outer strengths of my characters. With one exception they’ve all gone on to other things and left behind the days in the “Oval Office” and yet in many ways they will always be in that moment, connected to the series that proved what television could be when it’s done as well as it possibly can be.

When these months are over on Soho I shall buy the box set and watch it all again, one episode a day and I will continue to read the tweets….it does one no harm at all to connect with brilliance, sheer brilliance.


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