The TV Show That Made Me Me

Since we started the  Books That Made Me Me series, you’ve run with it, and we’ve had posts paying tribute to all sorts of people and places that have made you who you are today.  If there were ever a TV Show that could inspire a generation, it’s the West Wing, and when Crysta send this through I found myself nodding like a goon all the way through.  I even considered walknig down the aisle to the theme tune.  Really.  This post, however, is about more than a TV show, it’s a love story with the White House as a back drop.

Over to you, Crysta:

I read a lot when I was younger, much like most of you. I didn’t sit in front of the TV, I sat in my room, reading book after book. I enjoyed watching TV, but I was never one of those girls who would go into school and discuss who did what and what happened to who in the previous nights show. I just didn’t care. Nothing could be as gripping as the book I had secretly read until midnight the previous night.

It was in my first year of sixth form when my best friend told me there was a series in the library I should watch. It was something I’d never heard of before, the West Wing, and I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it. I took it home and discovered that an incredibly written drama can grip me just as much as a book can. For once in my life I cared about characters in a show. I was inspired by the women, who could take on anyone with their raiser sharp intelligence. They were smart and sassy, and I wanted to be just like them.

They only had season one in the library. I couldn’t get the next season for two years. It was torture. As soon as I had a disposable income, I bought it and every other available season. I was well and truly hooked.

I went to university and met the friends who didn’t make me me, but instead who allowed me to be me. One day, at the end of October, one of these friends came into the kitchen from his room while working on an essay. I saw him wearing glasses for the first time. He smiled at me and it was like I’d been hit by lightening. I fell hard, and for months my secret crush grew each time I saw and spoke to him.

A few months later I was watching the final episode of season 1 of the West Wing in the kitchen. The boy and another housemate came up and started watching with me. The episode ended and the boy wanted to know what happened next. I knew if we went straight into the second season I’d be getting questions about who’s who and what’s what. It would bug me. So I refused to let him know what happened next, until he’d watched season one.

Every night, for the next month and a half, we’d watch the show together. Usually one of us would turn to the other and say “West Wing?” and then appear later to watch in one of our rooms. Every night I’d be thrilled just to be in the same room as he was. He loved the show almost as much as I did, which was a huge plus.

Then, one night, after I’d fallen asleep watching The Mummy Returns (or so I’ve been reliably informed), he kissed me. My first kiss.

Nearly 7 years later and that boy and I are still together.

Somehow its turned into an annual tradition that we watch all 7 seasons. I’m still gripped by it. I’m still inspired by the characters and their passion for what they do. I can probably trace some of my passion for human rights from certain episodes. I know for certain my interest in politics comes from the show. The name Gerald makes me smile.

And when Corey turns to me and asks “West Wing?” in exactly the same way, every single time, I’m taken back to that time, all those years ago, that I slowly fell in love with the man who’s perfect for me.

Categories: Books That Made Me Me
53 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Vivienne
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Aaah! You know I’m a bit of a west wing nut too…..Toby’s name was of course inspired by a certain grumpy, bearded fellow! It’s one of the very few tv shows that has gripped and pulled me through every emotion possible….there are some episodes I can barely watch!

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Toby grows on me more & more each time I watch it. Some friends of ours named their son Josiah, known as Jed, after WW. It also has a brilliant meaning, though can’t remember what!

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      I loved it when you told me that on twitter! I’m so glad your Toby is much more cheerful. There are some episodes I know I shouldn’t watch just before bed as I won’t get to sleep until I’ve watched the next one.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I love that you named your son Toby because of the WW!
      A couple of years ago I met Richard Schiff in London while he was in a play and it literally took everything I had for me not to call him Toby to his face although he did say it happens all the time!

  2. Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Wonderful. We’ve just finished our second re watch. Friends had raved about WW but I’d always dismissed it as too long to invest my time in. Then I met Warmth & he loved it. It was one of our very early being together rituals of watching it together, and yes this rewatch brought back the early days of watching it together. We even toyed with having ‘If we’re going to jump off a cliff I’d like to jump holding your hand’ included in our wedding quotes. Lovely way to start Wednesday.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Thank you! That would be a beautiful quote to have for a wedding. I have a colleague who doesn’t want to watch it because everyone raves about it. I’ve given up trying to persuade him that it’s a really good show, although perhaps I’ll watch an episode at lunch one day and see if he gets interested that way!

  3. Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Ah this is lovely! Also…must download the West Wing now.


  4. Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    My comment disappeared :(

  5. Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I love this story Crysta, I remember reading it on your blog and thinking I’d never realised how romantic Aaron Sorkin could be! And so adorable that you rewatch every year. I am a TV junkie but (and I really hope we can still be friends AOW-ers) I’ve never really bought into the West Wing. I can see how others love it though, it’s very snappy and clever.

    Bagsy writing TTVSTMM on the Sopranos.


    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      It’s purely unintentional, our yearly rewatch! It just happens like that. It’s like we need our West Wing fix once a year or something.

      I thought I’d leave out the part where I (apparently) nearly strangled in panic Corey when he kissed me in this version…

  6. Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    This has made me start another morning off all teary – it is just lovely – and I’ve never watched it so will start immediately!

    My husband and I have a similar early days connection over Diagnosis Murder (don’t judge me – it stars not only Dick Van Dyke but also his son Barry – winner!).

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I love Diagnosis Murder! My mother watches that when it’s on, and I always curl up next to her to watch it too whenever I’m visiting.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      You are my new favourite person Fee. Diagnosis Murder is the best.

      K x

  7. Jen G
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The West Wing is in my view easily the best programme that’s ever been on TV – it’s brilliant to hear that it’s inspired baby names! It was also the first thing my (now) husband and I really watched together too and, like you, we still watch it all the way through every 18 months or so.

  8. Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Fairly soon after I met Dan my laptop broke and with no TV (yay uni halls) I did some pretty heavy hinting that it was a shame because I couldn’t iplayer Top Gear. Eventually he asked me over to do that and the his spent chatting and cuddling became known to all my friends as “watching Top Gear”. I don’t even like it very much any more, but I am grateful it gave us an excuse to spend time together. Boys can be thick.

    Anyway, basically I get it. And it may not be a classic love story but Crysta this is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever read :-) Xxx

  9. Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Oh I love west wing. My boy also introduced me to it and we spent a couple of months living like hermits when we first moved in together as we ploughed through all 7 seasons. I felt like I had lost friends when it was over. Xox

  10. Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Yay for the West Wing! Best TV show ever. I would happily vote for Martin Sheen as the real life president of the world.

  11. Bex - The Ginger Bee
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Yay for WW! Yay for C and C!! Oh I’m so glad you wrote this! It’s beautiful! Brilliant!

    For those who need some more WW fixes, it’s not quite the same but In Plain Sight is a show staring Kate Harper (not as Kate but I’ll use character names!!) and Josh, Toby, CJ, and Will are guests in random episodes! (Obs not as their WW characters!)

    Now to get T into WW….

  12. Lexie
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    What a great story! I absolutely love the West Wing, best show. Also, Josh anyone?!

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I would and I really can’t work out why :-)

  13. Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Lovely story Crysta. I’m currently watching West Wing for the first time after some seriously heavy hinting to my hubby about getting me the boxset for Christmas. We’re both loving it and it’s now our bedtime ritual to get cups of tea, get into bed and watch a West Wing (or two). It’ll be a while before we finish as we’re only on series 2!
    Although does anyone else feel the pressure of starting a huge boxset a bit intimidating?

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      I do Linsey! We have been recommended West Wing by quite a few different people now but there are so many episodes (a fact I’m sure we’ll love when we start watching it!) that it has always seemed too scary to start!

      • Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        And yet when you get to the end of it, you’ll wish there were even more episodes! I started watching it when there were only 3 seasons of it, so it wasn’t too daunting for me.

  14. Yanthé
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The West Wing is, quite literally, my favourite tv show of all time. To know that it inspired a romance just moves it even further up in my estimations!

  15. Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I loved reading this Crysta, what an adorable story. I hope you two had a lovely rejuvenating week away last week and a wonderful anniversary xxx

  16. PiriyaP
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    This is so lovely! Thanks for sharing Crysta. How nice that you’ve got something to always come back to.

  17. PiriyaP
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    PS: I love this line: “I went to university and met the friends who didn’t make me me, but instead who allowed me to be me.”

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      They truly were. All of them. Even though I’ve lost touch with some of them, I’ll always be utterly grateful to have known them.

  18. Posted February 27, 2013 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Aww, this has made me all smushy and put a really dopey grin on my face!

    I have never watched The West Wing *pause for gasps and faints of shock*

    I really just don’t ever watch TV programmes, however I did recently become absurdly obsessed with The Killing, and as a result I am starting to venture into TV boxsets. We do own the boxset of WW 1-7, Gareth watched it while he was away from home for the best part of 6 months of last year. Soon, I will be brave enough to decide I want to watch it.

    K x

  19. Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m another one who has never watched The West Wing but I love getting stuck into a good box set. I am unsure whether anything will ever over take Greys Anatomy in my affections but I’m going to give it a go!
    P.s Those of you shouting that you’ve never watched Greys, please do. The men in it are FIT. That’s all.

  20. Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    The West Wing is quite honestly the best thing I’ve ever ever watched on TV, I am obsessed with it! I started watching when a friend lent me the box set and when I finished the last episode of Season 1 on a Sunday evening at midnight, I went up to her flat and demanded she give me Season 2 there and then- luckily we lived in the same building at the time and she was a good friend :)
    So happy to see other Wing-nuts on AOW!!

  21. Amanda M
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Ahhhh, this is lovely. It shows romance can blossom anywhere and to any encouragement! Sod candlight dinners, this is much more unique and personal.

    I’ve never seen WW but perhaps I’ll have to give it a go since it seems to inspire such fervour.

  22. Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely story, I imagined you watching the show together in one of those small student apartments with shared kitchens and looking forward to sharing this together.
    I never heard of this show (grew up in Mexico, but it does not really ring a bell). Now I am curious, see if I can download it it sounds interesting and empowering!

  23. Posted February 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    A great story Crysta, thank you for sharing. As an expat me and Mr H rely heavily on box-sets, and dipped into the West Wing when we stayed at my sister’s last summer. We were really enjoying it and had intended to borrow it to watch back in Dubai but we forgot and swiftly got engrossed in The Sopranos. When we’re back this summer I will take note!

    Katielase, I LOVED The Killer (Swedish) so much so that my sisters and friends bought me the Sarah Lund jumper and gave it to me as a Hen weekend gift. Unfortunately it was too mild in Dublin and London to christen it on our Christmas honeymoon but has been worn once here camping.

    AOWers, watch The Wire. No argument.


    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      YES to the Wire. I think I need to rewatch it. It is epic, in all senses.

      We’ve started Breaking Bad (on season 2 at the moment) and I have to keep having big breaks between episodes because such terrible things happen! But it’s so good and so well written. In fact I might get back to it tonight.

      Am going to see if West Wing is on Netflix, otherwise will have to investigate costs of DVD set – I watched bits and pieces of it at university and after but then it started being shown at stupid o clock and they kept messing the scheduling round, so I didn’t get to finish it. I remember liking it though so I need to get Mr W into it I think.

      Great post Crysta!

      K x

      • Emily
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        Another Wire fan here! And Breaking Bad – absolutely in agreement about having to have breaks between episodes. I keep changing my mind about whether to keep watching but it is so well done.

      • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Epic is the word. It’s been 2 years since we watched it- I think it may soon be time to revisit. :)

      • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        West Wing is on the US version of Netflix. If you’re in the UK, and use Firefox as a browser, Firefox have a plug in: Media Hint, which allows you to watch Hulu and the US Netflix. I’ve only recently been told about it, and it’s brilliant!

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      I loved The Wire. It took us four January weeks to get through all five seasons. I’m not sure it this should be applauded or paints a sorry picture of our social life!

  24. Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I am putting West Wing on my birthday list. I’ve never seen it but from the sound of it, I haven’t lived.

    I love box sets. Although does anyone else get to the stage when they have to fast forward over the theme tune because it starts to get on their wick? I have had this problem in the past with Blackadder, Jeeves & Wooster, Family Guy etc.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m the complete opposite in that the theme music really grows on me. Each season of The Wire has the same song sang in different styles, l just Ioved it and would crank it up! The Sopranos is catchy, as is Twin Peaks.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes L-Sten! Although I agree with Andrea that the Sopranos theme just gets better. Everything about the Sopranos just gets better.

  25. Emily
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely post. Don’t underestimate the power of TV to help a romance! It’s completely not the same but me and R spent many long hours talking into the night, always with music channels on at university. Admittedly we now both agree that most of the music channels are terrible but we still do it sometimes, for old times sake (8 years later)!

    So desperate to watch the West Wing. I only wish it were on Netflix! Also, loved the first season of The Wire and while we’re on political TV series, if you do have Netflix, try House of Cards. Kevin Spacey is brilliant.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Ooh I’ve been meaning to try House of Cards (but trying not to start too many series at once – hmm)

      K x

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s on the US Netflix! I’ve posted how you can get it in a comment above.

  26. Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely story. No wonder West Wing remains a favourite for you both!

    I’ve not watched any of the West Wing but will add it to the must watch list. I’m slightly nervous to admit it, but our historic Sky+ regulars have included Gossip Girl, Smash, One Tree Hill and Revenge. Intelligent watching indeed! We did watch The Wire though, if that’s redeeming?

  27. Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I was a little worried about sending this to Anna, Aisling and Clare, but I had several people on twitter invoke my word of the year, challenge. For years I hadn’t met anyone, apart from my friend, who liked the West Wing. It’s lovely to see there are a lot more of us out there than I thought!

    I also love how many people have TV shows that featured in the beginning of their relationships, too. There’s just something wonderful about having someone special to share a good show with. Although in no way will our first dance be to Brother’s in Arms. No matter how many times Corey insists “That’s our song”.

    • Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

      We had 24! I used to lend the discs to Sam at band practice as I watched them, and then he just would end up coming to my flat to “borrow” them because he “just couldn’t wait”. Ha! Don’t get the AOW ladies started on Jack Bauer though….. eeesh


  28. Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Oh gosh, the West Wing. I could write a more flowery ode to this TV show than I could to practically anything else. The show that made me believe I understand US electoral colleges, the Middle East, American-Jewish identity and, of course, how to write a speech!

    I’m so glad it brought you so much more than that, Crysta!

  29. Sarah
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I love love love the West Wing. Definitely the best TV show I’ve ever watched. It’s all been said already but it explained so many political situations that had previously escaped me and Martin Sheen would have my vote for president of the world any day too. Also agree there is something about Josh! We’ve not re-watched it like you do every year tho, think I’ll have to suggest that. I love the idea of the show inspiring baby names! Currently watching and loving breaking bad & also loved the wire (ok we do probably watch way more TV box sets than we should). We’re going to start house of cards once we’ve finished breaking bad…

  30. Posted March 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never watched the West Wing and this made me want to watch it but more, so much more than that, it was beautiful story and one that bought a wee tear to my eye.

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  • By International Women’s Day: Pressure on March 8, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    [...] post by Crysta resonates.  Oh, hoes it does.  Oh, how I wish it didn’t.  I don’t know any woman who [...]

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