It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade since The West Wing wrapped. At this year’s ATX Festival in Austin, Texas, the cast and creative team reunited to celebrate seven incredible seasons.
Amongst all the praise that the panel bestowed upon series creator Aaron Sorkin, Sorkin’s comment was simple, “I don’t write things that are meant to be read, I write things that are meant to be performed.”
Sorkin went on to say that he thought the pilot, which won multiple awards, was one of the weaker episodes of the series. In fact, he says he was always left a little unsatisfied with every episode. “If you feel perfectly satisfied with every episode, then you’re not trying hard enough.” Sorkin said.
Perhaps even more amazing than Sorkin’s comments was the fact that the series almost wasn’t made. The pilot didn’t test well, and between Monica Lewinsky happening just as he finished the pilot script and a change of management at NBC, there didn’t seem like there was much hope. Warner Brother’s solution was to make four brand new demographics: Households making more than $75k, households with more than one college grad, households subscribed to NYTimes, and households with internet access.
Sorkin was involved in all 22 episodes a season for the first four seasons of the series, and when he decided to leave the series, he received a call from Larry David. David told him not to watch any future episodes of the series, because it would either be bad or good – and either way Sorkin would upset by it. Sorkin didn’t put much stock into that advice initially, and tuned into the first episode of season 5. However, he only made it about 20 seconds, saying that he felt like he was watching someone else make-out with his wife.
The 90-minute cast reunion was incredible for us fans, and while the whole cast wasn’t present – so many of the people that brought D.C. to us once a week were present, including: Joshua Malina, Janel Moloney, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Melissa Fitzgerald, and Richard Schiff with director Thomas Schlamme and series creator Aaron Sorkin.