I have a very intense[1] appreciation for the television show “The West Wing.” I watched the show when it aired on NBC originally. Since the show was released on DVD[1:1] and, later, online (iTunes, Netflix), I’ve watched it again. And Again. And again.

I’ve seen the first four seasons[1:2] of The West Wing about 8 times. And I will watch them again.

The first few times I repeated the show, I did so presuming I was alone in this condition. Upon arriving to graduate school, I discovered I was not.

Over time, it has become easier to seek and befriend others with this condition. There are Twitter accounts devoted to the characters and the dialogue of the show. Sometimes we are teased with reunions of the cast. Sometimes they record these reunions. And I’ve recently learned that the condition has a name: Wingnuts[1:3].

Recently, Joshua Malina and Hrishikesh Hirway teamed up to do a podcast devoted to The West Wing. It’s called “The West Wing Weekly.”

Each episode of the podcast deconstructs one episode of the show.

Malina played Will Bailey on the show and is one of (what I like to refer to as) "the Sorkin players[1:4]." Hirway is a composer and the creator of the excellent Song Exploder podcast. How Malina and Hirway came together is discussed in the first episode of the podcast, and they share more color about their motivations in this great interview.

It’s well worth a listen if you’re an aficionado. So far they’ve had two guests on the show: Eli Attie, a former writer for the show and former speechwriter for Al Gore, and Dulé Hill, who played Charlie Young on the show.

In several episodes of the podcast, discussion has focused on the lyrical or musical qualities of Aaron Sorkin’s writing. One recent yarn wound around whether the show is a drama or comedy. Someone remarked that Sorkin disdains the distinction between the two, preferring a “musical” or “not a musical” distinction instead, and planting his work firmly in the “not a musical” genre.

I found this ironic, given how close to music I find his dialogue writing.

The West Wing Weekly releases a new episode weekly and is available on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, and Google Play.

  1. More on this later. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎