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The West Wing
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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The West Wing is meant for mature audiences, not because of the language or any type of sexual overtones, but because the dialogue and plots are very intricate. But for a smart high school kid, especially one with an interest in social studies or political science, this show could be a slam dunk. Furthermore, the regular characters are all inspirational role models who work hard to make the U.S. a better place.
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What's the story?
THE WEST WING was the hit political drama that kept people talking for years. The show followed the Bartlett administration and his staff through two terms of political ups and downs, scandals and policy, and the daily hullabaloo associated with the running of the Executive Branch of the United States. Created by Aaron Sorkin, the show starred Martin Sheen as the president. Other cast members included Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, John Spencer, and Stockard Channing.
Is it any good?
What truly sets this award-winning show apart from its network drama counterparts is the superb writing. Oftentimes the writing in network dramas seems to pander to the audience so that the least intelligent audience member will understand. Not so with The West Wing, where the dialogue is so rushed, the characters so developed and rich, and the plot so intricate that even the most seasoned political aficionado may have difficulty keeping up.
But the most remarkable component of the writing is the speeches that are written for the president. Whether it's a stump speech at his re-election campaign, a State of the Union address, or a private meeting with a priest or mayor, President Bartlett never ceases to inspire with his strong, patriotic words.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about any of the topics around which each episode of The West Wing is based. This can include immigration, war, terrorism, abortion, the use of nuclear energy, and elections. They can also talk about how realistic the portrayal of White House life is.
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