No West Wing Thread Yet?

NOT that tonight’s episode really warrants one.

Gods, what a crap fest. An hour of intelligent, insightful and impassioned characters, each with their own particular brand and type of brilliance, storming around yelling at each other because they’ve been doing a job well for five years and suddenly have their heads so far up their individual behinds that they can’t see daylight and don’t remember what their jobs ARE?


I swear I didn’t recognize a single character tonight. Will opting for future political glory while sacrificing everything he’s worked for his whole life? CJ coming off as a total neophyte? Leo turning into a senior adviser even the Prince would have beheaded. Bartlett roaring about like Richard III? Amy not having any idea the scope of her duties and suddenly becoming aware / having to be informed of the way her position is supposed to work? Josh being taken aback by a style profile and not knowing how to handle being in the news, when he’s had legions of fans for years and even a few fan websites directed at him? Toby just generally stumbling about and whining with no real purpose? We’re used to Toby whining, but it’s always ABOUT something.

I was expecting a bit of a drop after Sorkin got popped, but come the hell on, people. He’s not the only person in Hollywood who can craft a story or write engaging dialogue. Tonight’s episode ran like something created as a parody by people who can’t stand the show. It was painful to watch. The closest thing to a West Wing level/style exchange was the intern hitting on CJ, and that lasted all of 11 seconds.

This show is going downhill faster than Jean Claude Kielly. I don’t care how much they have to pay him, I don’t care if they have to walk on their lips through a city block of broken glass in the midst of a wild fire to appease his wounded pride, NBC NEEDS to hire back Aaron Sorkin and get him to save what was once the best show on television and is quickly becoming the worst. I’ve never seen shark jumpage of this magnitude, and it’s depressing.

There is no intelligence, no interplay, no dynamic, no tension, no dialogue and no FEELING in the show since the changeover. Even if the show had not started out as great as it was, what it has become, as evidenced by tonight’s episode, is awful on its own merits.

I don’t care that Sorkin was late with his scripts. At least they didn’t suck, and the show always went on. That should count for something.

I’m giving the show through this batch of new episodes. If it hasn’t gotten worlds better before the first rerun hits, I’m cutting my losses. I once looked forward to West Wing as one of only three consistently good hours on television. I’ve started to approach it now with a sense of trepidation. It may be able to be pulled out, but I’m not giving odds better than even money at this point.

Mind doing a recap? I only saw the last 15 minutes, which largely consisted of CJ getting into yet another self-righteous lather about something (an all too frequent occurrence recently). Saw Leo standing up to her (which was fine), Toby moping around (which is par for the course) but didn’t see anything about Will or Josh.

Will was approached by the new VP to be his communications director. Russell made the point (rightly, I thought) that Will doesn’t have much of a future with the Bartlett administration, and here is his chance to start from scratch.

Josh apparently intimidated some senator into voting a certain way, and the papers started comparing him to Corleone. Then he had to be the heavy with another senator, who was holding up military promotions because he wanted a pork barrell project for his state. The project was a missile launcher that didn’t work and the Pentagon didn’t want, but the senator wanted it anyway, on the basis that building it proves that we’re serious about defense. (Wouldn’t it make more sense to prove we’re serious about defense by building something that actually works?) Anyway, at the end the senator (played by Tom Skerrit, BTW) acquiesed on the promotions but resigned from the Democratic Party.

Question…didn’t Leo tell Josh he would handle Skerrit? Then, next thing I know, Josh is in the senator’s office throwing his weight around.

The lighting still sucks.

I would think after five years Leo would trust CJ’s judgement on handling the press and minor scandals.

I agree, Amy is too smart a lady to abuse her position as COS to FLOTUS to use Abby’s name in vain.

Exactly what does Toby want to do now? Give up Communications Director to be Secretary of Thinking About the Big Picture?

Anyone got an e-mail address for Sorkin, so we can beg him to return?

I agree. It’s as if the writers said to themselves, “Let’s do an episode where everyone in the White House is mean, snarky, self-obsessed and incompetent.”

P.S. Every time I see Josh and Amy together, I think to myself “Whatever happened to Joey Lucas?”

Odd, I actually really liked last night’s episode. I could see Skerritt’s character defecting from a mile away, but other than that, I was pretty happy. I really pictured the writers sitting in a room with a long-time viewer, have that viewer announce at the midway point of the episode that Skerritt was going to defect, and have all the writers completely amazed, because they were convinced they were pulling off the biggest suprise in TV history.

I thought the ending was very Sorkinesque. Bartlett’s expression was spot-on, vis a vis Josh’s about-to-be-breached news. I like cutaway endings like that.

Upon reflection, I think you guys are right about what they’re doing to CJ. I just don’t get it.

BTW is this the first new episode in a few weeks? I don’t remember if WW was on last week against the baseball game. I taped NBC at the right time just in case, but I don’t want to try to figure out which of my 1,000 tapes it’s on if I don’t have to. :wink:

OK, so what are the other two hours?

I considered last night easily the best episode I’ve seen since last season.

The writers are beginning to get the flow of the show down a little more. The speed with which people are talking and moving and switching from one subject to another like we’ve come to expect.
I think the negativity was there for a few reasons.
The Bartlett is negative because of his approval rating, but especially because his wife isn’t there.
Leo is upset because everyone seems to want to do their own thing. He Can’t let them, even if he wants to.
Toby hates that he’s relegated to his old roll. He wants to be the one to frame this Pres. in history but won’t get the chance while he has to work on day-to-day stuff.
Josh wasn’t that upset, he just fucked up.
Will is making a good decision. I don’t think that he’s politically motivated really. I think he wants to make a difference and he knows he can’t do it with the Pres where he is. If he goes with the VP, who gets more say than the last, and moves on to work for him throughout a Presidency imagine the impact he’ll have. Not out front on the stage, but back behind the cutains… pulling the strings (or at least some of them).

In the meantime, I think I’ve solved the mystery of the new intern character (if this has been covered in recent weeks, forgive me - I’m an inconsistant lurker).

My kneejerk reaction was that nepotism might be involved, and so I tried to make a point of watching the “guest star” credits. Wasn’t terribly consistant there, either, but last night I noticed among the credits the last name Estevez. Bingo. Maybe. If this Estevez is playing the intern, and he is a grandson of Martin Sheen, then mystery solved (descendant of a president, indeed). (If my mind is playing a Halloween prank on me and I’m wrong in “remembering” that Sheen’s real name is Estevez, just dope-slap me [Straight Dope slap me?].)

I’m surprised no one has said anything about this episode having been directed by Laura Innes of ER fame. (Coming soon to a theater near you: John Wells: The Thing That Ate NBC.) Seemed competent.

Presumably, the heavy-handed way Amy was treated is their way of writing her out of the script for maternity leave purposes.

hsapiens comment that “everyone in the White House [was] mean, snarky, self-obsessed and incompetent” was on the mark. Were they trying to launch a dozen subplots in one episode? Bleech!

I can’t say I was thrilled by the Josh storyline, but in general I like the episode.

Toby’s been grumbling around for at least two episodes that he wants to move into a more strategic role, and wanted to bring will along as Communications Director (why not CJ? Who knows?) Now Bingo Bob (he ain’t us dumb as he seems) goes to Will and offers him the type of role Toby really wants.

CJ is mad because she’s been ordered once to often to bend the truth a little too far (yes, even press secretaries have scruples.)

Everyone is mad because Bartlett’s halfway through his second term and they haven’t Changed The World yet and are beginning to realize they never will.

This is the point in a real administration that you’d start seeing Cabinet members and advisors start to quit. So in addition to Fitzwallace and Amy disappearing, I’ll bet either Leo, Toby CJ or Josh up and quits before the November sweeps are over.

Renee Estevez (sister of Emelio and Charlie Sheen) has been playing the role of “Nancy”, a secretarial assistant. She occassionally gets a line in here and there.

This is about the sixth or seventh episode of West Wing she has directed. I think she’s also directed some ER episodes, too.

Okay, IMO, last night sucked. Bear in mind that I didn’t watch the previous two episodes, so I haven’t come into this gradually. Also bear in mind that I watched the episode with Mrs. Landingham’ funeral yesterday during the day, so I had something to compare against.

The first fifteen minutes looked like it was filmed chiarscurro. The sound was horrible, no background noise, just very flat like they’ve gone back to filming in mono. All of the drama felt contrived. Leo was not Leo. Bartlet was not Bartlet, not even close. Josh was a simp. CJ regressed 20 years. CJ’s talk with Toby in her office about an old flame calling was pointless, and worse yet, not the sort of thing that Toby would normally sit through or care about. On the dialogue, again, if you can go back and watch an old episode (they’re on Bravo at least 3 times a day, normally). Notice that there is believable background noise, and usually well considered scoring going on. Also notice that people seldom complete full sentences, there are a lot of “Ums”, “Yeahs”, “Ers”, people talk over each other, etc, just like real life. The dialogue is faster in the old episodes (although there were about 3 points in last night’s ep where they approached Sorkianspeed). Also notice the framing of the characters. There were a lot more tight shots of the principals, the pans were smoother and a lot less herky-jerky cuts. It just plays more like real life. Plus the issues were generally more believable, less one-noted and better overlapped.

I really don’t think I’m going to bother watching the show anymore, unless I note in here that it’s vastly improved. I’ll deal with continuity later if necessary. It’s just too painful, like watching a loved on on life support. Does anyone here really believe that the current show deserves an Emmy for anything? Let’s just hope that at the beginning of next season AS will be back and this last year will be written off as a bad dream, a la Dallas.

I remember reading somewhere, maybe even here on the Dope, a prediction that with John Wells running things, the show would turn into a soap opera.

Give that person a gold star. That’s exactly what has happened.

Although people were spouting off about policy, nobody really sat down and discussed policy. They were too busy smashing their faces against crises in their own careers. (And personal lives, although I’m among the ones who never wanted Josh and Amy to be in the same room together, much less lovers.)

People yell. They storm out of rooms. They come back and apologize. They brood. They snap. They do everything but interact as a team.

Soap opera. It’s a great formula for lots of tv drama.

Doesn’t work on West Wing. Not for a second.*
*Well, maybe for a second. They are fixing some of the huge mistakes made in the past. Both Amy and Will are political operatives, hugely miscast in support roles totally antithetical to their characters. Get them out and put in someone who wants to do the work they are supposed to be doing.

The thing that boggled my mind the most was that CJ was getting “hit on” by the young staffer. That just seemed weird. Plus, I don’t think we really need a whole lot of office bedfellows running around.

I thought that was weird, too. She’s the press secretary, for God’s sake, and he’s just an intern. Aiming kind of high, isn’t he?

In response to AV8R

Another theory shot to hell by the facts. . .

I’d hit on CJ. But then I’m attracted to smart, assertive, stylish women like a moth is attracted to a campfire.

And although I thought the writing was getting better, I agree that the characters were a bit “out of character” last nite.

And I guess the most telling review: I fell asleep before the end.

Actually, I kind of liked the episode. Everyone in a crappy mood - sort of like every office I have ever worked at on a Monday.

Plus this is a turning point in the Presidential term - only a few years to go and they are running into some major walls. First time we have seen everyone’s nerves on edge, and considering the kidnapping and the interim Republican President, is it any wonder the character might be cracking a bit?

Lest we forget - even Saint Sorkin had more than his share of clunker episodes over the years. Remember the 9/11 fiasco epsiode with that wretched classroom history lecture?

I thought the pace was better this week but that was about the only good thing about the show. I thought the intern “fixed” the problem with the senator last week and Josh didn’t (and still doesn’t) realize that. He thinks because he took care of the last problem he can take care of the new problem with Skerritt and gets burned badly. Or did I miss something here?

I think it is getting better but much, much too slowly. Even if they continue to improve I doubt they will get to the level of before. Please bring Sorkin back!

The intern, by the way, is played be Jesse Bradford, who was the love interest in one of my favorite fun little movies, Bring It On