How the “West Wing” Theme Song (Briefly) Ruined My Life
The story of how the “West Wing” theme song ruined my life is actually pretty cute. It was 2020 and my fiancé Hudson and I were watching a lot, a lot, a lot of TV. We began a new tradition, where, if the show we were watching had a theme song without lyrics, we would take turns making up songs during the opening credits. We started doing this with “Law & Order,” naturally. (After all, it has one of the best television themes of all time.) Then came “Criminal Minds,” a supremely dumb procedural with a theme song that was so discordant, it was a struggle for me (hopelessly tone deaf) to sing along. My go-to lyrics were, “It’s criminal crimes / It’s criminal crimes / They must be criminal / The crimes, the minds,” and Hudson would often laugh at my inability to match up my words with the melody.
Watching lots of television is a mind-numbing experience, which is part of the appeal. I love TV, don’t get me wrong, but seven episodes of “Criminal Minds” later, it starts to feel kinda depressing. Eschewing the “Skip Intro” button and instead, making up a song, infuses the experience with much needed flavor.
When we decided to revisit “The West Wing,” I immediately fell in love with its Emmy™-winning theme song, in all its orchestral splendor. My greatest hits included, “The president has MS / But it’s a big secret / No one knows / But soon they will” and “They hired a Republican / And she’s so hot / She is who Aaron Sorkin would be / If he was blonde and a woman / And not a big liberal / But he’s the biggest lib and that’s a fact.” Hudson, on the other hand, was nonchalant about the matter, and would almost always sing a variation of “It’s my turn / To sing the song / About the western wing / It is not in the east / It’s in the west.”
I was so keen to make up a song for Hudson that I’d start planning out my course of action during the cold open, looking for the most interesting subplot to serve as my inspiration. I’d do this even when it wasn’t my…