The West Wing - Faith Based Initiative

Well, we’ve got a few things here to discuss.

First of all, Brad Whitford wrote this episode. Is it the first he’s written for TWW? I do know that Richard Schiff has directed at least one episode.

Another Sports Night alum shows up - this time it’s Teri Polo as Mrs. Santos. While others of the cast from Sorkin’s first series have made appearances (Felicity Huffman) or have become regulars (Josh Malina, Janel Maloney), I think this is the first time one showed up after Sorkin left. Polo, btw, played Rebecca Wells, the love interest of anchor Dan Rydell for about a dozen episodes.

I liked how the height difference between CJ and Annabeth were exaggerated on a couple walk-and-talks. That’s all I have for that subject - I just liked it. It made me laugh.

And as for the WH Press Corp’s reactive to the rumor’s about CJ, doesn’t anyone in that room remember Danny Concannon?

This didn’t strike me as a strong episode, but a necesary housecleaning/transitional episode:
Josh wanders from thinking Santos isn’t going to run, to entertaining helping Russell’s campaign, to being Santo’s #1 guy.
Donna gets a job running Vice President’s Lumbergh’s NH campaign - and will end up doing a lot more.
Josh’s secretary stops being a clueless temp to a strict disciplinarian.
Toby realizes that he and CJ are all that will be left to run the White House.
The scope of Barlet’s MS defines what he will be allowed to do from now on.

Anyone else have some thoughts on this one?

My thoughts: It sucked ass.

Reasons for suckitude:

It’s now a political soap opera. Brad, stick to the acting gig. Could the plot be more hamhanded? Oh, I get it - all the presidential candidates are getting their footing while the president literally struggles to stand! Give me a break. Santos’ declaration speech. So utterly uninspiring. The prospect of the dueling White House aides - Josh (Santos) v. Donna (VP Lumbergh) v. Toby (VP Otter). Let’s hope for a quick primary season.

The abbreviated gay marriage discussion b/w Bartlet and the Republican. Could have been more direct, more detailed, and less cursory. I’m disappointed.


CJ and Annabeth. Hilarious. CJ’s constant surprise at her appearances were great. Sheen’s scenes were also fantastic.

Oddities and Asides:

“A Very Brady Movie” was on cable last week - featuring both VP Otter and VP Lumbergh as Carol Brady’s husband and ex-husband. Surreal.

If ALIAS continues in this timeslot, this may be my last episode.

My question is what did Bartlett do to get the gay marriage ban rider off the budget bill? When Jed and that doofus congressman were talking in the Oval Office, the conversation did not lead me to believe the ban would go away. I was waiting for the President to make more of a confession about his illness, like ‘I don’t remember saying that to you, I don’t remember a lot of things these days’ or something. Major gap there, unless I missed something.

A couple other things…

Could Gary Cole have a worse hair cut?

And just exactly how much of a cliche is Josh’s secretary going to turn into? I guess since he’s leaving the WW it won’t matter.

Toby is turning into Hawkeye Pierce in the last two seasons of MASH.

The episode should have clued us in on who started the CJ rumor. She should have busted out ‘geez, I kiss ONE girl in college and the world is coming to an end’ in that early meeting - Josh, Toby and Charlie would have peed their pants.

The implication was that if JB threatened a veto, than Wilkinson would back off on the rider. I’m assuming that’s exactly what happened (behind closed doors).

I, for one, liked the episode, but then again, I abandoned WW after early S5 sucked so much, so this is hopeful by comparison. Yes, it’s cleaning house, but I’m excited about all the possibilities with a Donna-less Josh, an even toadier Will, the duplicitous Hoynes, and SMITS! Go Jimmy! I just hope they don’t spread themselves too thin with so much likely to happen outside of the actual West Wing, but I’m giving this show another chance.

Now that I think about it, the conversation between the Pres and the Rep. makes sense - the congressman thought he was doing what the President ‘inferred’ he wanted (a statement against gay marriage) at the dinner party a few weeks back, but now understands that was not the President’s intention.

Whatever the other assets or problems with this episode, Will’s line about “I though he’d moved back to Kansas to sell flat globes” had me almost pissing myself. It was delivered so dryly that I almost missed it.