Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme — who both left The West Wing TV series after its fourth season — appeared at the ATX Television Festival in Austin over the weekend. They were joined by Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Janel Moloney, Joshua Malina, Richard Schiff, and Melissa Fitzgerald.
MSNBC‘s Lawrence O’Donnell, who wrote 16 episodes of the political drama series, moderated The West Wing TV show panel. Sorkin confessed he has not seen one episode of The West Wing from the fifth through the seventh seasons. He shared that when news of his departure broke, Seinfeld‘s Larry David reached out with some advice.
“[Larry David] said, ‘Listen, this is very important. You can’t ever watch this show ever again because either the show is going to be great without you and you’re going to be miserable or less than great and you’re going to be miserable. Either way you are going to be miserable.’”
Sorkin admitted at first he didn’t believe it “because Larry David is professionally miserable.” But before season 5 aired, he was sent a copy and couldn’t bring himself to watch. “It felt like I was watching someone making out with my wife.”
Added Sorkin: “I don’t know how the story that I started finished, or how anything else happened on the show.” He continued, “I was not trying to burn the earth behind me, I was trying to seed it.”
What do you think? Have you watched The West Wing TV series? Do you prefer the Sorkin seasons or the latter ones?