8 Lies The West Wing Told Us About Politics

Photo: Steve Schapiro/NBCU Photo Bank/ Getty Image
TV shows are under no obligation to be realistic. Most viewers know the spacious New York apartments in shows like Friends and How I Met Your Mother could never actually fall within the characters' budgets. The school board would have cracked down on the class disruptions caused by the constant singing on Glee. And neither The West Wing nor (hopefully) House of Cards is meant to be a perfect reflection of what really goes on in Washington.

But now, ten years after the beloved Aaron Sorkin drama aired its final episode, it's hard not to yearn for the sunny, optimistic political picture it drew. As the 2016 presidential primary gets more heated and politicians spark increasingly troubling headlines, you might find yourself missing the eloquent, earnest speeches of President Josiah Bartlet.

Bartlet and his crew weren't always on the right side of things. They made mistakes, even huge ethical missteps. But at the end of almost every episode, when the music swelled, viewers were assured that these were intelligent people trying their best, and that their good intentions would, more often than not, yield good results. And less than six months away from the 2016 presidential election, that sounds like a pretty appealing alternate reality.