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Top photo: A box of pasta, on my stove.

The time: summer 2000. The place: Mitchell Hall, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. (how appropriate). The scene: a bunch of college-age students huddled around a TV in a dorm room, watching The West Wing.

Ahh, those were the days. I was living in D.C. for the summer, and had become good friends with the people on my floor. One of us had a T.V., and that room quickly became a popular gathering place. One night, everyone was watching The West Wing, and I joined the crowd. I was instantly hooked. I was already a fan of Sports Night, a series created by Aaron Sorkin, which unfortunately was cancelled by ABC the next spring. The West Wing featured the same witty banter, style, and a subject I loved: politics. Once I got back to school, Wednesdays became West Wing nights.

More than three years later, I'm still watching The West Wing on a regular basis. It's one of the few programs I go out of my way to keep up with. For a while, Wednesday was one of my nights off. I would watch the episode, then get on AIM and discuss it with my dad. Back in September, my schedule changed, and now I work on Wednesdays. Still, I tape the show, and generally watch it almost as soon as I get home.

Anyone reading this who keeps up with The West Wing knows about the changes that took place this season: the departures of Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlamme. Many people think the show has degraded under the new direction of John Wells and his staff. I'll admit, it's not as good as it used to be. Some weeks I wonder, what did I just watch. I bought the Season 1 DVDs (the day they came out, of course), and have watched all of those epiosdes. Some of them more than once. I watch those, and think, "wow." I don't know if any of the episodes from this season have had that effect on me. But I'm still watching the show. One, it's still pretty good. Two, there isn't much else on, that's worth watching. I know that some people say "The O.C." is giving "TWW" some competition in the timeslot. I admit, I started watching it at the end of the summer, and it's not too bad. But I didn't keep up when the episodes resumed, and now I'd have a hard time getting back into it. What can I say, I'm stuck in the West Wing.

1.11.2004