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Confessions of a West Wing virgin...
#71
I did finish the series a few weeks ago. It was definitely a tough run to the finish line. You could tell in the last couple seasons that the show was running out of gas. But even then Matt Santos was a great character and the election was intense even though I knew who won.

As for Toby, I don't buy that he is covering up for anyone, least of all CJ. As Bartlett said to him when he found out Toby always liked to hold himself to a higher moral standard than Bartlett. It would make sense for Toby to be the leak, more so than CJ who would have a lot more to lose.

The other thing I didn't like about the last season was the way the cast was split up. I think it really did the show a disservice to get Josh, Toby and Leo out of the White House, the scenes there just seemed to lose a spark. I really didn't like how they seemed to drop Leo's counting down the days and accomplishing things before they get out of office storyline at the end of Season 6.

I wanted the Bartlett presidency to end with a last hurrah, it seemed to have more of a last gasp. I know it sounds like I'm being hard on it but it was really only the stuff on the Bartlett end of things. I just really missed the old team at a certain point. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit I balled my eyes out during the scenes when everyone is finding out about Leo's death and the funeral scene. I knew he died but it still hit me like a ton of bricks. He really was the heart and soul of the show.

Edit: Yaz, that really bothered me too. They could have had Sam in town for the funeral when Josh pitches joining up with Santos. Or they at least could have mentioned something about why he wasn't there at their later meeting.
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#72
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Originally Posted by Richard Dickson
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Just a heads up, Steve Heisler at the Onion AV Club is starting an episode-by-episode viewing of the show.

Hope that gets better because the review of the pilot was awful.
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#73
So by fluke I noticed last month that Bravo is showing 2 episodes a day early in the morning. I hadn't seen any of the early stuff in such a long time so I decided to set my tivo to record them and catch up.

I had forgotten how good this fucking show was. Everything is just pitch perfect. I've also decided Josh might be my favorite carachter.

Season 2 just ended and it looks like they are taking a week off before picking up with the start of Season 3. Can't freakin wait.

However, I just can't bring myself to buy the whole series on DVD. I don't watch half of the stuff I have now. I fear spending the money would be a waste.
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#74
I've been watching the Bravo episodes here and there; they just finished up the first season. I love how I've seen these episodes probably three or four times each and I never get tired of catching up with these characters.

"At some point we're going to be talking about how they shot down a stealth fighter, right?"
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#75
Yeah, it's still such an easily accessable show.

I gave up on Bravo when they skipped out completly on Season 5 and 6. Yeah Season 5 was a stinker but I wanted to watch the resolution to the kidnapping and all of a sudden they skip from John Goodman saying "Your relieved Mr. President" to the campaign trail with Josh and Santos.

So I found a good deal on the complete series boxed set and picked up where they left off with the kidnapping.

I'm just about done with S5 now and I gotta say, it's a shame Rob Lowe left. The season would have been instantly better with him insted of Malina. Plus Sam leaving to work with the VP and essentially become a guest star would have carried alot more weight. Even the good stuff with the Speaker vs The President can't overcome how big of a mess the season was.
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#76
Fully agree about Rob Lowe. Would have taken Toby's "hey, you just got to the big league's snottiness" and raised it to something epic.
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#77
I think part of the problem with Malina was that they set him up as this fantastically talented writer without hearing any of the great things he wrote. Kind of like watching the "brilliant" Studio 60 show within the show which was never ever funny.
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#78
That and Molina did very little with the character, which could be in part that he's Sorkin's boy and they didn't feel like giving him much or that he didn't feel like giving much to the people that bounced Sorkin.

Either way, he was pretty much a nothing character and that he got with Mary McCormack's character was sucky.
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#79
Oh, by the way, massive second to the Amy Gardner / Mary Louise Parker love.
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#80
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jcassady
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That and Molina did very little with the character, which could be in part that he's Sorkin's boy and they didn't feel like giving him much or that he didn't feel like giving much to the people that bounced Sorkin.

Either way, he was pretty much a nothing character and that he got with Mary McCormack's character was sucky.

The real problem was that his sudden shift from team player to Bingo Bob supporter to team player again was so poorly handled that came off as wishy-washy rather than a believer.
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#81
I just think he was weak throughout, but yes the transition didn't help things either.
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#82
The husband & I recently finished TWW Season 5, and I have to admit, I'm not entirely getting where all the hate is coming from. Granted it's definitely a step down from earlier seasons, but it's not a HUGE drop-off in quality (ie Gilmore Girls S7, which was a show in a similar situation as West Wing in that it lost its creators).

S5 feels to me more like the producers trying to take the show in some new directions, some of which worked & some of which didn't. There were several good individual episodes (I enjoyed Access, Separation of Powers/Shutdown, The Supremes, & a few others), but they were a case of the parts being superior to the whole. The Gaza arc at the end of the season felt a bit undercooked to me; it wasn't much of a cliffhanger.

I have to agree on Malina. He is quite a black hole of charisma compared to Lowe, and we really missed Sam this season.

Despite my gripes, I still really enjoyed S5, though admittedly not as much as the previous 4. Are Seasons 6 & 7 more of the same, or does it become more cohesive? I'm curious as to anyone else's take on why S5 is considered the "worst."
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#83
I think Will was just a poorly concieved carachter to begin with. He was good as a one shot in the California Campaign. But his whole time in the WW seemed to be just a waste.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ady Meet Roy
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The husband & I recently finished TWW Season 5, and I have to admit, I'm not entirely getting where all the hate is coming from. Granted it's definitely a step down from earlier seasons, but it's not a HUGE drop-off in quality (ie Gilmore Girls S7, which was a show in a similar situation as West Wing in that it lost its creators).

S5 feels to me more like the producers trying to take the show in some new directions, some of which worked & some of which didn't. There were several good individual episodes (I enjoyed Access, Separation of Powers/Shutdown, The Supremes, & a few others), but they were a case of the parts being superior to the whole. The Gaza arc at the end of the season felt a bit undercooked to me; it wasn't much of a cliffhanger.

I have to agree on Malina. He is quite a black hole of charisma compared to Lowe, and we really missed Sam this season.

Despite my gripes, I still really enjoyed S5, though admittedly not as much as the previous 4. Are Seasons 6 & 7 more of the same, or does it become more cohesive? I'm curious as to anyone else's take on why S5 is considered the "worst."

It does have some genuinly good stuff in it. And this I think is where it really became "Josh's Show". But why is it disliked...it's the step down in overall quality and it's just all over the place. It's a transition/rebuilding year.

Season 6 starts off a bit more of the same (including CJ getting the outta left field promotion) but it really rounds into form and Season 7 is just flat out excellent.
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#84
The Supremes is probably the best episode of Season 5. William Fichner tweaking Toby is pretty much the best thing ever, and he and Glenn Close are great together. That's also why the Shutdown arc works, because Steven Culp is so great as the slimy speaker of the House. I also like how that season ends. "It should have been you, Leo."

I tell you, I'm liking this alternate universe that teams up John Hoynes (keep the sex scandal part, but not enough to make him resign, you'd have to lose the Goodman plot but I'm sure you could come up with something juicy to make that play) and Sam challenging Josh and Santos for the nomination.

"Dr. Lee, there are fourteen people in the world who know this, including the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. You are about to become the fifteenth. Seven years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a relapsing-remitting course of M.S. When all this is over, tell the press, don't tell the press, it's entirely up to you."

I love Stockard Channing.
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#85
Quote:

Originally Posted by RathBandu
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I tell you, I'm liking this alternate universe that teams up John Hoynes (keep the sex scandal part, but not enough to make him resign, you'd have to lose the Goodman plot but I'm sure you could come up with something juicy to make that play) and Sam challenging Josh and Santos for the nomination.

I dunno. I think the Goodman thing was too good to ditch. You'd just have to make Bingo Bob a more likeable or sympathetic guy (but still someone they are stuck with) so that Sam would be willing to leave.

2 more things to hate about season 5...the Presidental Funeral episode and Killing off Admiral Fitzwallace.
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#86
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Originally Posted by RathBandu
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The Supremes is probably the best episode of Season 5. William Fichner tweaking Toby is pretty much the best thing ever, and he and Glenn Close are great together.


Agreed. This is such a stand-out episode. Just stellar. And Willy Fichner to boot! His speech on the justice writing the dissent "who's time has not yet come"...brilliant.

And Toby: "He's arguing against DoMA and she's defending him. And apparently they're as thick as thieves. And fans of chain-yanking." Love it.
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#87
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Originally Posted by CDI F. Kelly
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Agreed. This is such a stand-out episode. Just stellar. And Willy Fichner to boot! His speech on the justice writing the dissent "who's time has not yet come"...brilliant.

And Toby: "He's arguing against DoMA and she's defending him. And apparently they're as thick as thieves. And fans of chain-yanking." Love it.

The little bit between Fichner and Charlie right before the presser was pretty good too.
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#88
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ady Meet Roy
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Despite my gripes, I still really enjoyed S5, though admittedly not as much as the previous 4. Are Seasons 6 & 7 more of the same, or does it become more cohesive? I'm curious as to anyone else's take on why S5 is considered the "worst."

The campaign parts of Season 6 are great. The aspects of the show regarding the workings of the West Wing are awful. Season 7 there are only a few episodes that are white house centric and they sorta suck.

The end of Shutdown works, but early parts with Josh getting benched for Angela Barrett who goes NOWHERE were wheel spinning while the show tried to figure out where it was going.

The Supremes is very well acted, but it's exactly cuts against Bartlet being Bartlet.
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#89
The Presidential Funeral episode gave us James Cromwell as Fake Jimmy Carter, and I think that is worth the price of viewing alone. Also, lol they killed off Fake Reagan and didn't even give him decent screentime. I also like Toby's speech about the men who rewrote the map in that episode. Megaburn!
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#90
Cromwell as an ex POTUS was good. But I still saw it as a weak episode, especially when they brought Goodman back. He went out before on such a perfect note.

Just finished part 1 of the Gaza episode before work, Josh trying to keep from throwing up while the Doc is telling him what they did to Donna is great stuff.
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#91
Finished S5 today. Totally forgot about it but Bartlet practicing the opening pitch with Charlie and Toby in the residence is fucking awesome.
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#92
I tried, I seriously tried.

I hadn't seen anything from s5 forward since the show went off the air. In fact, I had never seen the very first episodes of s5. And I figured, with some vague memories of Vinnick and Santos being worthwhile, that I'd keep on watching till the end in my current rewatch. I'm trying to watch episode 3 of s5 but I just can't. It's as if the body snatchers won between seasons and now I'm witnessing a world of pod people. Add the fact that I was kinda hesistant given how Toby was basically ruined, and Will Bailey thrown away, and Fitzwallace, and Charlie's newfound extra status.

Perhaps in the future I'll be a better man, and I'll give this a try again. But now, I just can't. Perhaps the key is not binge on the Sorkin years in a couple of weeks and then watch this and if I watch something else and start in s5, it'll feel different. But aragasdfasdh. I tried.
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#93
You gotta stick with it. It pays off pretty damn good in mid-late season 6 and all of season 7. The rough parts of 5 will just make you enjoy whats to come that much more.

And ruin Toby...I don't think they ruined Toby.
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#94
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Originally Posted by Paul755
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You gotta stick with it. It pays off pretty damn good in mid-late season 6 and all of season 7. The rough parts of 5 will just make you enjoy whats to come that much more.

And ruin Toby...I don't think they ruined Toby.

Yeah, I'm with you. People need to let that go. The end of season seven is so keeping in line with his character that it's not even funny.
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#95
Quote:

"I was sad for the show," he says. "I hated my storyline. Toby would never in 10 million years have betrayed the president in that fashion [in the seventh series, Toby is indicted for leaking classified information]. Even if he had, there would have been seven episodes' worth of fights before he did it... In the end, the only way I could make sense of my story was to come up with my own story - that Toby was covering for someone else. That, at least, made sense to me."

So, who was Toby covering for? "I don't think I should ever reveal that."

Quote:

We’re a group. We’re a team. From the President and Leo on through, we’re a team… We win together, we lose together, we celebrate and we mourn together. And defeats are softened and victories sweetened because we did them together…And if you don’t like this team… then, there’s the door… It’s great to be in the know. It’s great to have the scoop, to have the skinny, to be able to go to a reporter and say, “I know something you don’t know.” And so the press becomes your constituents and you sell out the team…

So, an item will appear in the paper tomorrow, and it’ll be embarrassing to me and embarrassing to the President. I’m not gonna have a witch hunt. I’m not gonna huff and puff. I’m not gonna take anyone’s head off. I’m simply gonna say this: you’re my guys. And I’m yours… and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.

Quote:

C.J.
It's me, okay? I am Spartacus.

TOBY
Look...

C.J.
It was a leak. Leaks happen. They've happened since the beginning of time. In this
White House, in every White House. There's no malicious intent. Things get out.
It's a company town. Everybody talks to everybody, and junior staffers try to impress
reporters by showing they're in the know. There is no group of people this large in
the world that can keep a secret. I find it comforting. It's how I know for sure the
government isn't covering up aliens in New Mexico. [pause] Toby, I've issued a blanket
email to 1,100 staffers about the incident. I've asked the President to let me make a
clarification for tomorrow morning. I've seen to it it'll be on page one. We're not
gonna lose an inch of ground in the negotiation.

TOBY
[wearily] No, we're not.

C.J.
No, we're not. And you knew that since this morning.

TOBY
Yes, I did.

C.J.
Yeah. So what's this about?

A lengthy silence falls between them. Toby gets up and stands behind his desk.

TOBY
This is small potatoes. I want to know, when the big potatoes come, are we up for it?

Yeah, sorry, I don't buy it's keeping in line with his character.

I think post-Sorkin, the best parts of the West Wing where those involving new characters, Santos and Vinnick being the obvious examples, but I don't think they ever had a good handle on the original characters.
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#96
I dunno. Considering the team is pretty much gone, Josh with Santos, Donna and Will with the VP, Sam in cali and Leo a mere adviser. Coupled with CJ's promotion and his brothers death I think the motivation is there. Especially with more lives on the line.
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#97
I'm more forgiving for Season 5 because the Writers had the horrible task of quickly picking up the reigns when Sorkin was sacked (Totally of his own doing). It's no suprise they floundered there for a while.
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#98
Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul755
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I dunno. Considering the team is pretty much gone, Josh with Santos, Donna and Will with the VP, Sam in cali and Leo a mere adviser. Coupled with CJ's promotion and his brothers death I think the motivation is there. Especially with more lives on the line.

I get that Schiff was unhappy with where the character was heading but I still think it's keeping in character. As Paul says above it's a different West Wing, Toby's pissed at the president about the MS and his self righteous stubborn streak could lead to what he did. The assumption seems to be that Toby wouldn't change loyalties given an extreme change in circumstances.
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#99
I always forget how astonishingly good Allison Janney is in season three of this show.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by RathBandu
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I always forget how astonishingly good Allison Janney is in season three of this show.

Not only that I think she's the most consistant carachter in the entire run. Even after the promotion.

And back to my previous hate of Will Bailey (i'm fully entrenched in season 6)...they really accelerated his asshole persona in the first episode with Josh and Santos in New Hampshire. However I did like the scene between him and Leo where he is explaing why he is sticking with Bingo Bob.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul755
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Not only that I think she's the most consistant carachter in the entire run. Even after the promotion.

And back to my previous hate of Will Bailey (i'm fully entrenched in season 6)...they really accelerated his asshole persona in the first episode with Josh and Santos in New Hampshire. However I did like the scene between him and Leo where he is explaing why he is sticking with Bingo Bob.

It's a good scene but it shows what a non-player he is. He's so far out of the loop that he has no idea how Bingo Bob got to his position.
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I think he knew how Bingo Bob got into the discussion of the VP slot (the GOP putting their foot down). What I don't think he knows is why of all the possible candidates Bingo Bob stood above the rest. And to be fair that's something I never really picked up myself. Was it because he looked the most electable of all the potential candidates?
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I think he knew how Bingo Bob got into the discussion of the VP slot (the GOP putting their foot down). What I don't think he knows is why of all the possible candidates Bingo Bob stood above the rest. And to be fair that's something I never really picked up myself. Was it because he looked the most electable of all the potential candidates?
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He's a good ol' boy dumbass. He Hoynes without the brain and political acumen, an empty suit. Exactly that kind of weak-sauce the GOP would want to saddle Bartlet with.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul755
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I think he knew how Bingo Bob got into the discussion of the VP slot (the GOP putting their foot down). What I don't think he knows is why of all the possible candidates Bingo Bob stood above the rest. And to be fair that's something I never really picked up myself. Was it because he looked the most electable of all the potential candidates?

I completely disagree. When Will says that he was trying to see what they (the White House) saw in him the look Leo gives him is pretty much "You're an idiot if you think we picked him." It shows that Will is so out of the loop that not only does he not understand that he's guiding a lame duck VP but that he doesn't understand that the current administration wants no part of his election campaign.
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