Friday, 17 February 2012

The West Wing and UST

I’m feeling bereft.  After catching up on the entire series of The West Wing on DVD, I saw the last two episodes last night.  Fabulously satisfying ending, gusty sighs all round, but I’m going to miss those characters so much!   I really didn’t want it to end.

I remain baffled by US politics after seven series.  The characters speak so fast, I had no idea what was going on a lot of the time, but none the less I was riveted throughout. I squirmed every time the allegedly British Ambassador, Lord John (!!!) appeared – is that what Americans really think of us?? – but otherwise thought the writing and acting were matchless.  Brilliant stuff.

I was especially happy that Josh and Donna got it together at last. Every successful series has an element of UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) at its core, which keeps the viewers tuning in, just as the unresolved conflict in a romance keeps the reader turning the pages. The moment the characters in question acknowledge the feelings they have for each other, the UST disappears, and I lose interest.  Remember Niles and Daphne in Frasier?  Gil Grissom and Sara in CSI?

The relationship between Donna and Josh in The West Wing  was brilliantly done.  There was a real connection between the characters, and the chemistry was obvious to everybody else without ever being overdone. A look, a deflected question, a hesitation … the UST was there right until the end and  you were never quite sure that they would work it out.  When Josh was on that  plane, and Donna sat down beside him … phew! 

When I was looking for images, I came across whole websites dedicated to Josh and Donna, speculating about their life after the end of the series.  I’ve often done this with books too, if I really love the characters.  Being able to imagine what their life is like once the story has ended is the sign of a truly great character.

Do you have a favourite TV “couple”?  Now I’ve finished The West Wing, I need a new series to absorb me in the same way, and I’m offering a copy of We’ll Always Have Paris, awarded on the usual eeny-meeny-miny-mo system, for recommendations below.


  1. Great post, thank you for sharing. My favorite couple is Wayne Rigsby & Grace Van Pelt from "The Mentalist". I really like this show.

  2. Jessica,
    Don't worry, I'm an American and sometimes I think no one understands our politics, including us ;-)
    I think one the reasons West Wing was so popular here is it pulled the curtain back and let us get an idea of what was going on "behind the scenes" just like ER gave us a (fictionalized) sense of what working in an Emergency Room might be like.
    Some of my favorite TV couples are older ones like -
    Mulder and Scully in the X-Files
    David and Maddie in Moonlighting
    I'm also enjoying Castle and Beckett on Castle

  3. Thank you both for the tips. I've heard of this Castle elsewhere, Jill, so am hoping we'll get it in the UK eventually. We already have The Mentalist, although I've only ever caught the end of it, Natalija. Will pay more attention from now on!

    Would you both like to email me your postal addresses, and I'll put a copy of WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS in the post to you asap. At the moment I only have RIVA (UK) copies or large print of the NA edition, but the others should be coming any day now, so I can send one of those if you don't mind waiting. Exactly the same story inside the covers though!