Comfort food; it’s the basis for how most of us are slogging through 2020. For some, the mileage may vary: Some of us go for the literal thing and wind up with Eater’s Remorse as we stare forlornly at the collection of empty pizza boxes decorating our once stately breakfast bar even as we’re reaching for a pint of Haagen Dazs Double Belgian Chocolate. For others – such as this movie and television obsessed freak show – the mileage might read like a weekend long Ghost Adventures binge (“Orb is bro spelled backwards, you know what I mean?”) or an in-depth analysis of the vaunted Scooby-Doo franchise. Still, others aim a little higher than all of that and fall back in times of stress for acknowledged classics like My So-Called Life, Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The West Wing. This group always makes me feel bad and question my decision to spend the day watching Snowboard Academy versus The Remains of the Day. Hey, you pays your money and you takes your chances. But none of that is neither here nor there, as what we’re here to bend your ear with today is nothing less than an honest-to-gosh return of critical and commercial darling The West Wing. Sort of.
One of the best television shows of the late 1990s/early 2000s – and a comfort food now in 2020 if ever there was one – Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing has just been tapped by new streaming giant HBO Max for a reunion special, per our muchachos over at The Hollywood Reporter.
West Wing alums Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney, Dule Hill, Janel Moloney, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff will be reuniting with show creator Aaron Sorkin for what is being referred to as a “theatrical stage presentation” in which they will recreate a season three episode entitled Hartsfield’s Landing on a stage setting. Some new material will be cooked in by master gremlin Sorkin to make this classic episode timely to better mirror current day goings on. Plans have for the special to air this fall on HBO Max. Naturally, being The West Wing, the reunion will serve not just as fan porn but also as a benefit for the When We All Vote group which is a blessedly nonpartisan and nonprofit organization whose main focus is to get voters excited and turned out for the November elections in the U.S. The not-so subtle reunion title will be A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.
Other details are trickling out, too, such as the placement of a director for the reunion – Thomas Schlamme – and intriguing bits such as a special message being included in the special by former First Lady Michelle Obama and, as of yet, some unannounced special guest stars.
In a statement, Sorkin said that he and Thomas Schlamme “are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election.”
The reunion will be shot over the course of several days at the Orpheum Theatre in L.A. and HBO Max is not only footing the bill for this special project but its parent WarnerMedia will also be making a donation to When We All Vote.
So comfort food in the time of pandemic takes many odd shapes and forms; this one sounds at least promising and for a good cause and has at least half the calories of that dvd copy of Just One of the Girls I’ve been eyeing all week. For that reprieve alone I’ll be watching the return of The West Wing with the rest of the world. Welcome back you old scallywags; don’t stay away so long the next time, eh?