Things I Learnt Watching The West Wing

So this is about a decade late, but Heather and I just finished watching all 7 seasons of The West Wing. To mark this achievement I have decided to (in the style of my lessons learnt from Psych post) share 7 lessons I have learnt from this magnificent show.

*spoilers galore, but it's 2015 after all. 

1)   Oratory! If you're going to say it, say it well. People sometimes get worried about using finely tuned rhetoric when speaking (I think this is an especially Australian thing, not wanting to come off too elitist or, you know, like you care) but I think this is a mistake. I sit through so many rambly speeches and sermons, it is such a fresh moment when someone presents something thought through and tightly written, determined to persuade... or as Sam says, determined to blow the doors off the place.

 

2)   Surround yourself with people smarter than you, even if they struggle with the day-to-day things of life.

 

3)   Use Props to Think: Even if throwing a ball against the wall doesn’t help you think, it will convey a contemplative aura to those who pass by. Sub Lesson: Richard Schiff is an entirely underrated and under-utilised actor.

 

4)   Don’t be afraid to reuse your best material - If you have a good analogy, a helpful illustration, or just a incisive quip - then let it show up in your work more than once.

Edited by Kevin Porter

5)   There are times when we need to get angry at God, and when you do that, you should ideally be in a giant cathedral and speak fluent Latin. Bartlett's faith is thoughtful, personal, considered, and hermeneutically nuanced - which makes this scene so tremendously passionate.

 

6)   Apparently anyone can just gate crash a Law firm’s meetings

 He does this twice... a man with no invitation or appointment wearing a trench coat, carrying a back pack and soaking wet doesn't just walk into a million dollar law firm (let alone ride the elevator to this fancy floor)

He does this twice... a man with no invitation or appointment wearing a trench coat, carrying a back pack and soaking wet doesn't just walk into a million dollar law firm (let alone ride the elevator to this fancy floor)

 

7)   Never underestimate the support of a spouse - they know you the best, so they'll think of the things no one else will.

So there you go, that's what I learnt from 102 hours of West Wing episodes. What did you learn? comment below.

My thanks to Mr Sorkin and team.