12 Moments From 'The West Wing' That Still Make You Cry
My favorite show is The West Wing, and one of my favorite things about it is how it makes you feel all of the things. Just all of them. There are scenes from The West Wing that still make you cry, or, at least, that make me cry, because I am a leaky faucet of a human being, and nothing can stop the flow of emotion down my face. But The West Wing gets me in a particularly successful way, because the show presents these intelligent, flawed people who really think they're going after what they want, but sometimes get in their own way.
Even though they're hugely important characters in this alternate world that Aaron Sorkin has created, they're also normal people like you and me, with little dramas, which makes my heart hurt for them all the more. (You guys it's just the best show.) The West Wing deserves our respect and admiration and memories every single day, so come along with me while I stroll down memory lane — and definitely shed some tears along the way — with the 12 moments from The West Wing that still make you cry. You know, if you have eyes and a heart.
1. Mrs. Landingham's Death
I still haven't forgiven Sorkin for this one. In Season 2, Episode 21, "18th and Potomac," Dolores Landingham gets into a car accident at the aforementioned intersection and she dies. I've never felt so betrayed after an episode ever in my whole life. As I recall, I was just sitting on my couch saying, "Why would they do that? Why would they do that?" over and over.
2. Toby Discovering Josh After He Was Shot
When Josh gets shot in "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1," and Toby comes around the corner and discovers him, the way Toby's voice catches in his throat gets me every time.
3. When Josh Visits Donna In The Hospital
After Donna Moss' vehicle gets blown up in Gaza, Josh goes to visit her in the hospital, and I feel like it's when he first starts to realize the extent of his feelings for her. Really well acted, super poignant, and really hard to watch.
4. "She Put The Pen In Your Pocket"
I could cry right now just at that line. It comes after the death of Mrs. Landingham, when President Bartlet is expressing his sadness through grumpiness about the setup of the office, and he makes a big thing out of never having a pen when he needs one. And Charlie Young very quietly says, "Mr. President, she put the pen in your pocket. Every morning she slipped it in there," and, oh, there I go, I'm crying again.
5. When The Secret Service Agent Dies
If you empathize with CJ Cregg, like I did to an insane level, this was a really tough show to watch, because she got dealt a crap hand all the time. Like when things were going really well with that Secret Service Agent Simon Donovan, and then he died in "Posse Comitatus," Season 3, Episode 21? Ouch.
6. Mrs. Landingham's Story About Her Twin Boys
Even before her death, Mrs. Landingham had the ability to completely devastate me, as she did in Season 1, Episode 10 when she explained the death of her two sons — they were both killed in the Vietnam War on Christmas Eve.
7. The "Two Cathedrals" Monologue
Honestly, this whole episode really gets me, but particularly President Bartlet yelling at God. It happened in the second season finale, right on the heels of Mrs. Landingham's death, and there were flashbacks throughout the episode to her original meeting with Jed. Plus, there were all the connections to his behavior then and his behavior now, and how much he learned from her. Oh man, it's a lot. A really perfect episode, as long as you like crying your eyes out.
8. Leo's "Man In The Hole" Story
It's really the friendships in this show that get me every time, like Leo McGarry coming to Josh's aid in Season 2, Episode 10, "Noël," after he was traumatized by the shootings and telling him this perfect story about friends helping friends out and promising him he always had a job.
9. The "You're Too Sad For Me, Toby" Speech
In Season 4, Episode 21, "Commencement," Toby Ziegler buys his pregnant ex-wife Andrea Wyatt her dream home and asks her to (re)marry him, and it should be this beautiful moment. Instead, Andi drops this bomb: "You're just too sad for me, Toby.... You're just sad. You bring the sadness home with you and you're — sad." I think about that moment a lot, and it always makes me tear up.
10. President Bartlet Describing What You Need In A Chief Of Staff
In Season 1, Episode 12, "He Shall From Time To Time," President Bartlet is speaking to the Secretary of Agriculture about how to select your Chief of Staff, and Leo overhears him dictating that this person should be your best friend, he should be smarter than you, and you should trust him with your life. My feels, guys.
11. When President Bartlet Gives Charlie The Carving Knife
This relationship always has me pretty close to welling up, because I just love it so much, but when President Bartlet gave his body man Charlie that carving knife in "Shibboleth," Season 2, Episode 8, it drives the whole father-son thing home for me so hard that it squeezed a bunch of salt water out my eyeballs.
12. Leo's Death
Really anything to do with Leo's death makes me weep, because the plot was the result of the actor who played him, John Spencer, passing away in 2005. So when you saw the characters onscreen, dealing with the death of Leo, you knew that the actors were also dealing with the death of the actor behind him, and it made it impossibly hard to watch without getting emotional.
And now, I guess I'll just go about the rest of my day with my heart just completely broken. I don't know how you do it, West Wing, but I hope you never stop.
Images: Warner Bros. Television (6); Giphy