The West Wing–Friday in Review


THE WEST WING, clockwise from top left: Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing, John Spencer, Dule Hill, B

Happy Friday! This week I wanted to review dialogue, and what a better way than looking at THE WEST WING.

The series aired from 1999-2006 and told the story of the White House Staff of fictitious President Jed Bartlet–a democrat that no one really liked (even thought they should.)

I’m not so much *reviewing* this show as I am pointing it out as a wonderful resource and example of how to write compelling dialogue. If you’ve never tuned in to an episode, this series is very much a character driven show. Any current television show that revolves around cameras following  the cast at a panicked pace as they talk at, over, and around each other–well, THE WEST WING is the show to thank for that.

More specifically–Arron Sorkin is the man behind the show.

It’s very easy when writing dialogue to get caught in the back and forth of a written conversation. He said, she said–each line complete with the perfect punctuation, but in reality people talk over each other. We cut each other off. One of my flaws comes out when I’m tired or distracted. In the middle of a conversation I will just stop talking.

Example: “Yes, I’ll pick up some bananas when I…”

I know I do it. It drives my husband batty. I don’t mean to do it–but such is life. I am human, flawed like the rest of the world. Just as our characters are human–flawed as they must be. Unless their Spock, but even he has fallen prey to that 1/2 human side of his makeup.

If you have Netflix, the entire series is on there ready to stream. You can tune in, choose a specific episode, and go from there. All emotions are touched on, and Sorkin’s dialogue mixed with a very talented cast, is a fantastic resource for those who don’t want to go to the ball and watch crowds to see how they interact. Josh is a fan favorite of mine. He has a lot of compulsive mannerisms that make up his character. This show is very much worth your time (no matter what you’re politics are.)

Happy watching!! xxoo-A


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