It turns out, as the show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, has explained, if I didn’t like the show, that’s in part because I wasn’t really meant to. The pilot episode didn’t test well with people like me. But, according to Mr. Sorkin, it tested “extremely well” with certain audience segments. Among them: households that earned more than $75,000 a year, households with at least one college graduate and households that subscribed to The New York Times.
And though the show was not my favorite, I was fascinated by its characters. They were constantly engaged in debates about contentious social and political issues. One plotline I found particularly interesting was when President Bartlet’s deputy communications director, Sam Seaborn, loses a debate against a Republican woman named Ainsley Hayes. To her surprise, Hayes is subsequently offered a job in the Democratic administration; the president cites her “sense of civic duty.”
The more I