Seamless edit of a 'West Wing' episode performed 17 years apart

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I enjoyed the theatrical piece and the recut. It’s warm and cozy fictional nostalgia for an educated white guy like me. But, besides an admirable attempt to remind people of their civic duty and GOTV, that’s all it is. We live in a very different world from 2002, for good and for ill.

To give one example, this year no-one except some media and party hacks will give a tinker’s damn about who a couple of dozen old white people in NH or Maine will vote for on Tuesday. To give another example, a discussion like the one between Bartlett and Toby and Leo about the subtleties of American anti-intellectualism wouldn’t now get the tenuous purchase in popular culture that it did when Prince Bush was the worst we could imagine in that regard.

[Sterling K. Brown did great work in the absence of John Spencer. I wish they could have brought James Hong back as the Chinese ambassador, but I understand why asking a 91-year-old man to come out for the reunion would be a lot to ask.]


I agree with everything you’re saying here in this insightful comment, except that it’s just a reminder to vote.

This shows the president having rational, intelligent conversations - and it doesn’t even matter that they are out-dated in subject matter at this point. After the past four years, this is a reminder that things don’t have to be as they are, that, although Biden might not be a Bartlet, might not be “the smartest person in the room,” he is not a circus clown grifter who will order milkshakes during classified intelligence briefings. This is not just nostalgia for educated white guys, this offers hope to everyone for a different future to come.


I had a hard time enjoying The West Wing after GWB took office because the contrast between the thoughtful, competent administration we saw on TV was such a jarring contrast from the one actually occupying the White House that it became difficult to relate to. Then I had a similar experience with House of Cards after Trump took office because the Underwoods, while evil, were both brilliant strategists and interested in issues beyond their own personal enrichment. Not to mention that they didn’t take every opportunity to kiss fictionalized-version-of-Putin’s ass.


Thank you for sharing this. If anyone is interested in the editing process, involving a completely re-mapped keyboard so all the shortcuts are on the left side, so the right hand never needs to leave the mouse, check out this little video:

– D


While I agree it’s nice to see a president portrayed as having rational and intelligent conversations, if we want a different future we have to start envisioning it in the context of the future instead of trying to recapture the normalcy of a past to which we can’t return (and certainly not to Sorkin’s fantasy version, where he’s preaching to a choir (as is his wont) that’s changed in composition over the past 18 years).

Depending on how one reckons things, the post-war economic anomaly ended sometime between 2000 and 2008, and the GOP was already busy chipping away at the ideals of liberal democracy and neoliberalism was already exacerbating inequality at least a decade before that. Add in climate change and I doubt Jed Bartlett would be able to process things any better than a real decent, thoughtful and intelligent president.


I know a lot of people like to shit on The West Wing as being a liberal wish fulfillment and assign a lot of blame for everything from fostering unrealistic portrayals of government, to being directly responsible for the rise of Trump by giving him a blueprint for his reality TV presidency.

Wish fulfillment or not, I still unashamedly love it. It’s got a great cast, sharp writing, and great characters. I re-watch the series every so often longing for a time where we had a competent administration filled with smart people trying their hardest to do the Right Thing even if they make some really bad choices along the way. Where both parties could disagree on policy while honorably and honestly trying to do what’s best for their constituents in a good faith effort to further democracy. Of course, this isn’t the reality – and probably never has been and never will be. It’s a fantasy, and not a documentary.

Bartlet :smiley:

As an aside, if you’re a fan of TWW I strongly recommend following Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, and Josh Malina on Twitter. They are constantly ripping on one another and to me it plays kind of like a secret TWW episode.


Compared to the Trump era, House of Cards is light entertainment.


Very cool.

Hartsfields Landing is possibly based on Dixville Notch, though there are a number of townships that vie for the quaintist tradition in politics. Among them, Millsfield (16 Trump and 5 Biden) and Hart’s Location, which, due to the Pandemic, will not have a midnight vote.

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