Politics

Die-hard ‘West Wing’ fans keep show going by assuming characters identities on Twitter

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

That person elaborated on why he spends his days role-playing: “It’s the one of the very few shows which I developed a real attachment with. I guess it’s the same for most of the [West Wing] fans. Each characters have so much depth, with their qualities and defects, that after 7 seasons, you know them almost like a friend or a colleague.”

The person behind Fitzwallace, a recurring but minor character, says the role-playing is challenging, especially since “Fitz” died during season five. But he likes that there’s a lot of freedom to explore the military man. “I always found kinda frustrating that his character wasn’t really developed throughout the series, but it gives me some kind of freedom in the way I make him ‘live’ on Twitter,” he said.

Oftentimes, the man said, he uses the Obama administration’s recent “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal promises to pontificate on the subject on Twitter.

Interestingly, not all the people behind the accounts are from the United States. “A couple of years ago, I knew nothing about America,” says one British woman who is tweeting under the identity of Donna Moss, the assistant and eventual love interest in the show to deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman.

Why spend hours everyday writing as if she was Moss? “Like many girls I have a bit of a crush on Josh Lyman, so when the opportunity came up to play with him, I couldn’t pass it up,” she said.

Her Twitter adventures, she says, have also changed the way she watches the show. “I find it hard to get through an episode of the West Wing without making some kind of note of something I can tweet about later,” she said.

The person behind one Lyman character said his favorite part of tweeting is “when real or official accounts start tweeting at Josh like he’s a real person.”

The man, who only describes himself as someone in his late 20s who has worked in Democratic politics, says he misses “the show desperately.” His “dream job,” he said, “would be writing a new season” of the show.

The man behind one Twitter account of former President Bartlett, who has the most followers of any of the characters, says “this thing was all pretty much an accident.”

“To be honest, I’m a bit of a struggling writer,” he explained in an e-mail. “I had hit a writers block and was struggling to get into a character, so I decided to start a twitter account for a television character.”

As for playing the role of Bartlet on Twitter, the man says he has “a few political pages bookmarked on Twitter… and I read those every morning to sort of get a bearing on what I’m going to tweet about that day and what President Bartlet would have to say about that.”

The person behind Marbury said the “idea for Lord_Marbury came about, perhaps ironically, over a round of drinks with some friends one night.”

“We were talking about how President Bartlet was tweeting some great lines and we thought Lord_Marbury would be a good foil,” the Oklahoma man explained.

Continuing he said: “Being Lord_Marbury is a blast. The only downside is [more] women flirt with him on Twitter than they flirt with me in real life.”