Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The West Wing

Last winter I started rewatching that great TV series, The West Wing, and Sunday night watched the final episode of the final season, fittingly titled "Tomorrow."

While I loved it the first time around, I really could savor it because I wasn't on the edge of my seat, worried about how things were going to play out. While I didn't remember a lot of the episodes--my kids were young during the years 1999 through 2006, when the series originally aired--I did remember the big stuff...


...some of which I dreaded rewatching, such as Zoe's kidnapping, and some of which I eagerly anticipated, such as Danny giving C.J. the goldfish. The first time around I wasn't much of a shipper for Josh and Donna, but I sure was the second time around. I still loathed Amy Gardiner as much this time as I did the first time, and I was still pleasantly surprised by how much I liked both Ainsley Hayes and Annabeth Schott, who seem to me to be cut from the Legally Blonde mold.

The best part of the series then and now was how caught up in the episodes I would be so that I was almost always surprised and disappointed when the credits rolled, indicating that I had to leave the West Wing for the evening. Especially in the early years when they didn't have big story lines to carry throughout the season (e.g., the re-election, Bartlett's MS, or the stalker who was after C.J), I really admired the way the focus was on the issue the characters were working on and not so much the characters themselves. At the end of the episode, the issue wasn't usually fully resolved...just as in real life, big, tough issues don't have easy, wrap-in-60-minute answers. Everybody works hard, speaks their mind when it is their job to do so, and respects the office that they work for.

The only part that I really didn't buy was when C.J. was elevated to chief of staff after Leo had a heart attack. I just didn't think that her time as press secretary gave her the experience and credentials to assume the job she was asked to do.

I thought the acting, story lines, production quality and writing were absolutely fabulous in this series. I think my overall favorite character was Charlie and my favorite guest actor was Alan Alda as the Republican presidential candidate in the final season.

I'm trying to get my 16-year old daughter to watch this series--"it'll help you with your AP Government class" I say--she's considering it, but I suspect it has to more with the fact that Rob Lowe is in the first several seasons.

1 comment:

  1. We just watched The West Wing for the first time on dvd recently and absolutely loved it. My faves were the same as yours I think, but I was annoyed by Zoe's wee girlie high pitched voice. It clarified a lot of things for us about how the US is run but the saddest bit by far was the death of John Spencer/Leo McGarry.