My name is Katy, and I’m an Aaron Sorkin addict. Seriously — too many of my recent sentences have started with the phrase (and picture it in true Alyson Hannigan style):
“This one time, on The West Wing?”
If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask my colleagues or my husband, who now don’t even try to hide their rolling eyes when I start sharing stories from the old series. While I take a lot of the blame, you can also point fingers at Amazon Prime, which has the complete series for free on demand. Something I’ve been taking advantage of nearly every night.
There are just so many things about the series that bring me back to a big decision in my life, one I was making almost exactly 13 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.
An ultimatum from one of my favorite professors, a tall, screechy, high standard-holding man named Bill Coplin. In the foyer of Syracuse University’s Maxwell Hall, he told me I had to choose a path: politics or TV.
I’d spent four years dodging that very decision. Rather than choose one major, I decided to get dual degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Policy Studies. I thought for a while that I could combine the two — perhaps becoming a media relations consultant or speechwriter for a politician or lobbyist. I had the passion for making a difference (I was in a service fraternity and wrote my senior thesis on the education system) but I loved the power of technology and journalism for getting the word out.
Naive, I realize now, but I really did graduate with stars in my eyes.
As you probably know, I chose to pursue TV — and while I really do think that was the right choice, I often wonder — could I have been Sam Seaborn? (For those not obsessed with TWW like me, Sam is a character whose main role is the Deputy Director of Communications, writing speeches and helping shape policy.)
There are so many issues today that I want to stand up for. Education. Childhood obesity. Gun control. The environment. I think that times have changed and you no longer need a special degree or a political position to effect change (I’m certainly trying to do that in my role with Growing Bolder), and I’m not sure that had I chosen the other tine in that fork in the road, I’d be as happy as I am today.
I guess as it turns out, I became another Sorkin character — Dana, the strong female producer from my second favorite series in history, Sports Night.