That The West Wing ended its brilliant run on television has been hard enough. That its final year coincided with the death of my father was doubly difficult because The West Wing was mine and my dad’s favorite show, the program we enjoyed watching together (you should have heard the political debates that took place during the commercial break).
After my father died, there was an episode of The West Wing in which they eulogized the character Leo McGarrity, played by John Spencer who suffered a heart attack and died last December, and who died Election Day in the storyline. That episode, titled Requiem, brought the most emotion out of me since my dad died. The funeral speech at the beginning of the show is something I watched over and over again, crying in rememberance of my father, of better times, and the end of an era with the end of The West Wing.
The final episodes of the series reminded viewers why this was the most acclaimed television progam in history. Its acting, its production, its storyline was the stuff of genius, heads and shoulders above the greatest shows, even the Sopranos. There were so many inspirational moments throughout the show’s seven-year run, goosebump-inducing scenes that made you proud…proud to be an American, proud to be alive.
The final episode, which aired last Sunday, was as magical as any episode. It was sad, but only in a glass eye sort of way. Bittersweet? Certainly. Some even contend that with The West Wing’s end, it is the end of the great television that has entertained us for the last decade. More importantly, The West Wing illustrated what government and politics can be at its best, far from where it is today. But, as Jed Bartlett reminds us in the final moments of the show, when questioned what was he thinking about, there is always tomorrow.