The West Wing

TV review by
Elisabeth Chaney, Common Sense Media
The West Wing TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Intelligent political drama for mature viewers.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The series gives an overwhelmingly positive view of White House politics -- a view that's inspiring and patriotic. The sentiments of the president tend toward the progressive, rather than the conservative. Themes include humility and integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many of the regular characters are inspiring -- they are moral, passionate, committed to their jobs and their country, loyal, and whip smart.


Discussion of war and terrorism and the casualties of both.


Mild profanity.


Starbucks and some networks and political polls are mentioned often.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Celebratory champagne or wine or beer with a meal.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGuildedGinger August 14, 2020

A bit of mature themes, but overall fine for your tween.

A bit of sex, with the worst thing being callgirls being referenced frequently. Some swearing and substances are used. But overall fine for your preteen. And a... Continue reading
Adult Written bymichael12345678 May 10, 2012

Perfect for renewing hope in the human spirit

This is a show of idealists trying to make the world better through governmental policy, but presents sticky moral situations that don't always turn out... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 3, 2019


The West Wing is my favorite TV show. The main characters are really great role models, and I think that they try to present both sides of an argument. Aaron So... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byArihol October 7, 2019

Great series!

The series is about the staff that revolves the president of the United States. It has a great balance between serious concerns and comic scenes.
Age rating: T... Continue reading

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.

  • How do the characters in The West Wing demonstrate humility and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love political dramas

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

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