We should all probably know this by now: When there’s going to be a reboot of a classic TV show, the news is most likely going to be broken by the Hollywood trades – and not by supporting actors from the show.
Also, when talk like this starts to emerge in December or January, it’s almost certainly about a Super Bowl commercial.
Deadline reported last week that Joshua Malina and Mary McCormack, two actors who were in the cast of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing in its later years, had been teasing a reboot of the show, and that “the big reveal” would take place on January 24.
The trade site speculated that “Maybe it’s a Super Bowl commercial. Or perhaps a reunion panel.”
A behind-the-scenes look into the creation and legacy of The West Wing as told by cast members Melissa Fitzgerald and Mary McCormack, with compelling insights from cast and crew exploring what made the show what it was and how its impassioned commitment to service has made the series and relationships behind it endure.
This does, I grant, make more sense than a reboot. I liked The West Wing a lot, but it was the very specific product of a specific era of American politics and popular culture. And besides, what would be the point of catching up with the staff of a presidential administration that left office nearly 20 years prior?
Back in 2020, the West Wing cast indeed reunited, for an on-stage reading of one of the show’s old episodes. On the eve of that year’s presidential election, the reading was to benefit When We All Vote, a nonpartisan voting initiative, although it was founded by Michelle Obama. It doubled as a piece of conduct for the then-new streaming service that at the time was called HBO Max.
That showed something clear: The West Wing was never directed at swing voters, and always directed at Democratic voters who fantasized about a smarter, more ethical version of Bill Clinton’s presidency.
However, Malina’s teases were far from the most interesting West Wing-related social media content of the month. That was when Martin Sheen was falsely reported to have endorsed Robert Kennedy, Jr.’s presidential campaign, and his former co-star, Bradley Whitford, felt the need to set the record straight:
Yes, all these years later, he’s still working for President Bartlet.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.