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Confessions of a West Wing virgin...
Watched two of the final 4 of season 6 before work today. The Cuban episode and the Vinick-centric episode.

The Cuban episode is kinda dumb, especially throwing Kate Harper into Leo's backstory. Dennehey as the drunk Florida Senator is decent enough though.

The Vinick episode is pretty great. Vinick and Bartlet eating Ice Cream in the basement is such a great moment.
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Originally Posted by Paul755
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Watched two of the final 4 of season 6 before work today. The Cuban episode and the Vinick-centric episode.

The Cuban episode is kinda dumb, especially throwing Kate Harper into Leo's backstory. Dennehey as the drunk Florida Senator is decent enough though.

The Vinick episode is pretty great. Vinick and Bartlet eating Ice Cream in the basement is such a great moment.

Not many people can hold their own with Sheen but Alda was stellar.
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I still maintain that if the GOP can ever produce a candidate like Arnie Vinick, I'll have to make a damn hard choice that November. If you ask me, Alda almost single-handedly rescues the show in seasons 6 & 7.
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Paul, in addition to what Andrew said, the GOP doesn't want a strong VP candidate who would be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination at the end of Bartlet's term. That's why they refuse to confirm the Secretary of State as the VP, as played by Rolling Thunder's William Devane.

I really like the "mini-arcs" that end the second and third season; from 17 People onward in season two and "Enemies Foriegn and Domestic" on in season three. The Sharief assassination story in season three and the first part of season four is the most morally ambiguous they get, and I kind of like that they go there.
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Originally Posted by RathBandu
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Paul, in addition to what Andrew said, the GOP doesn't want a strong VP candidate who would be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination at the end of Bartlet's term. That's why they refuse to confirm the Secretary of State as the VP, as played by Rolling Thunder's William Devane.

Oh yeah. I totally understand that. What I never quite got when the episode premiered or when I re-watched it on DVD is Will's role.

When he told Leo he was still trying to find what The President and Leo saw in Bingo Bob, he had to know that Bingo Bob was not the 1st, 4th or even 10th choice. But did he know Bingo Bob was simply the best choice out of the shit list the GOP gave them or does he really believe Bartlet saw something more in him. I don't believe he was so far out of the loop he didn't know Berryhill was the supreme choice.

And from his perspective WAS there something Bartlet saw. I mean something obviousley clicked when he met with Russell.
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I'm about half-way through Season 5 now, and at least for me the most difficult part of 5 is that the stupid, erratic stuff stands out all the more. We go from a staff of writers working with Toby and Sam to the writers all quitting, Sam's replacement moving to work for Bingo Bob, and Toby, now all by himself . . . has time to focus more on shaping policy? There's a lot of sloppy, lazy shit in five like that.

Still, I am enjoying it more than I remember.
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Paul, it's inconsistent on Will's part, you're right, but the show does an okay job establishing Russell as someone who's not as dumb as they look. There's a nice plot in a season five episode, I think, where Russell figures out how to deal with an issue in the Middle East because of something from when he was a senator. I also think -- and this is a stretch -- that you could argue Bartlet saw in Russell a lot of the same things he saw in John Hoynes, and we never really learned why Bartlet chose Hoynes other than he was the runner-up and would deliver the Southern states first time around. Russell was also a guy with a lot of corporate ties, so was Hoynes.

LIke I said, they don't really go into it.
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I think the Southern strategy is pretty much reason A1 why Hoynes was on the ticket. Bartlet seems to hate the guy initially.
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Originally Posted by Andrew Merriweather
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I think the Southern strategy is pretty much reason A1 why Hoynes was on the ticket. Bartlet seems to hate the guy initially.

Bartlett says he hates him because he makes him beg him to be VP and it made Bartlett look weak out of the gate. During the episode in Season 3 where they are discussing replacing Hoynes on the ticket (at least I think it's that one) Bartlett says he never disliked Hoynes as much as Hoynes thought he did.

I do agree though that it's pretty clearly established that he chooses Hoynes for electoral math reasons.
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Remember, "Because I could die." It may not have been that way initially, but Bartlett came to respect, if not like, Hoynes.
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Originally Posted by Louris
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I'm about half-way through Season 5 now, and at least for me the most difficult part of 5 is that the stupid, erratic stuff stands out all the more. We go from a staff of writers working with Toby and Sam to the writers all quitting, Sam's replacement moving to work for Bingo Bob, and Toby, now all by himself . . . has time to focus more on shaping policy? There's a lot of sloppy, lazy shit in five like that.

Still, I am enjoying it more than I remember.

Yeah the press office stuff was way more prominent with Sam. And they had a decent start with Will, when he had his "staff" with his sister and the interns. And that's something that could have really worked they just abandoned it too quickly. And I think that came about as the show started to move twords Josh being essentially the central carachter of the show. And it brings us back to how much better the show would have ended up if Lowe hadn't abandoned ship.

and re-reading my post from above. I kinda don't make sense do I.

I'm glad to finally be re-watching episodes I remember watching when they debuted. I used to work nights when I was in college and didn't become a regular viewer until late in Season 4. I'm able to pick up on little stuff I missed.

I just watched "when things fall apart". And I think this is when the show really started to hit it's last great stride. So many good little moments like Charlie asking The President if he would approve of Him and Zoey getting married if Charlie wanted to go down that path and not getting an answer. Or the look and sound of dissaproval and dissapointment from Leo when Josh tells him he will not make Santos accept the VP slot. And they are totally going with mis-direction with the Military Shuttle stuff. They want you to think it's CJ.
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Originally Posted by Paul755
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And it brings us back to how much better the show would have ended up if Lowe hadn't abandoned ship.

What I most missed about Lowe/Sam was the character's sense of optimism and idealsim. Even his shirts were blindingly white. It made for a fantastic contrast with the pessimistic Leo and Josh and Leo's pragmatism. Everything seemed darker without him around.
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Originally Posted by RathBandu
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Paul, it's inconsistent on Will's part, you're right, but the show does an okay job establishing Russell as someone who's not as dumb as they look. There's a nice plot in a season five episode, I think, where Russell figures out how to deal with an issue in the Middle East because of something from when he was a senator. I also think -- and this is a stretch -- that you could argue Bartlet saw in Russell a lot of the same things he saw in John Hoynes, and we never really learned why Bartlet chose Hoynes other than he was the runner-up and would deliver the Southern states first time around. Russell was also a guy with a lot of corporate ties, so was Hoynes.

LIke I said, they don't really go into it.

Yeah, the Isrealies having Nuke's and Russell learning about it from some dinner cruise.

And I think it was pretty well established that Hoynes ability to deliver the South...or at least Texas was what got him on the ticket.
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Having said all that, I always got the impression that Hoynes is a lot smarter and an all-around better presidential candidate than the empty suit that is Bingo Bob.
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Originally Posted by Andrew Merriweather
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Having said all that, I always got the impression that Hoynes is a lot smarter and an all-around better presidential candidate than the empty suit that is Bingo Bob.

Totally...he just can't keep his dick in his pants.
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Originally Posted by Andrew Merriweather
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Having said all that, I always got the impression that Hoynes is a lot smarter and an all-around better presidential candidate than the empty suit that is Bingo Bob.

I always got the impression that Hoynes was politically and intellectually on the same level as Josh, Leo, etc. but was much more prone to vice (cheating, booze, corporate sellouts, etc).

Edit: Beaten by Paul.
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To me, he's Sorkin's debunking of the Kennedy myth. Great politican, sure, but no angel, and certainly not the perfect Democrat.
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I think Hoynes is more Sorkin's take on LBJ than anybody.
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Originally Posted by RathBandu
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I think Hoynes is more Sorkin's take on LBJ than anybody.

How so, I think the idea of Hoynes as a take on JFK is pretty good. Right down to the look.
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He's an accomplished legislator from Texas who knows how to get stuff done and cross party lines, and is unable to keep it in his pants.
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Originally Posted by RathBandu
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He's an accomplished legislator from Texas who knows how to get stuff done and cross party lines, and is unable to keep it in his pants.

That works too.
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Favorite Sam moment:

His speech in s2e16 where he is telling Donna about her friend's grandfather who was a Soviet spy named Blackwater:

"It was high treason and it mattered a great deal. This country is an idea, and one that's lit the world for two centuries, and treason against that idea is not just a crime against the living. This ground holds the graves of people who died for it, who gave what Lincoln called 'the last full measure of devotion'."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KE05...e...p;index=14

Shame the show couldn't hold itself together for the whole run, seasons 1-4 were really something else.
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Originally Posted by Haddonfield13
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Favorite Sam moment:

His speech in s2e16 where he is telling Donna about her friend's grandfather who was a Soviet spy named Blackwater:

"It was high treason and it mattered a great deal. This country is an idea, and one that's lit the world for two centuries, and treason against that idea is not just a crime against the living. This ground holds the graves of people who died for it, who gave what Lincoln called 'the last full measure of devotion'."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KE05...e...p;index=14

Shame the show couldn't hold itself together for the whole run, seasons 1-4 were really something else.

The same episode does a nice job really introducing Nancy McNally as well.
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I'm nearing the end of Season Five, having just finished Talking Points, and I have to say that the back half of five is actually pretty solid. My memory was that the entire season felt disjointed and scattershot, and while I still felt that way about he first episodes, most everything from Abu el Banat up through Talking Points could easily be part of Seasons 3 or 4 and aside from the character changes.

You know who I'm also really missing aside from Rob Low? John Amos. Fitz just popped up last episode to set up the trip to the middle east, and I realized just how great he was and how much I missed not seeing him for a few minutes every third episode or so.

Matthew Perry also does terrific job in his couple of appearances. It's too bad that Studio 60 had that problem with being not good, because he's terribly charismatic in Sorkin's universe.
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Originally Posted by Louris
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I'm nearing the end of Season Five, having just finished Talking Points, and I have to say that the back half of five is actually pretty solid. My memory was that the entire season felt disjointed and scattershot, and while I still felt that way about he first episodes, most everything from Abu el Banat up through Talking Points could easily be part of Seasons 3 or 4 and aside from the character changes.

You know who I'm also really missing aside from Rob Low? John Amos. Fitz just popped up last episode to set up the trip to the middle east, and I realized just how great he was and how much I missed not seeing him for a few minutes every third episode or so.

Matthew Perry also does terrific job in his couple of appearances. It's too bad that Studio 60 had that problem with being not good, because he's terribly charismatic in Sorkin's universe.

Oh yeah, losing Fitz...then killing him was a big loss.
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Originally Posted by Paul755
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Oh yeah, losing Fitz...then killing him was a big loss.

My least favourite moment in the entire series. I assume John Amos wanted out because there's no real reason to kill him.
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Originally Posted by Ryan S~
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My least favourite moment in the entire series. I assume John Amos wanted out because there's no real reason to kill him.

The only reason to kill him would be to make it hit close to home for Bartlet..."Leo, I asked him to go." Sort of how Bartlet got all worked up in Season 1 over his Doctor getting shot down and killed in the Middle East. Plus they needed to do the Isreal story and there was no way they were gonna kill off Donna, Toby's ex or another name cast member. Fitz was kinda in the middle of being a main cast member and background carachter.

Still think it sucked though.
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Originally Posted by Paul755
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The only reason to kill him would be to make it hit close to home for Bartlet..."Leo, I asked him to go."

Still think it sucked though.

I kinda get that but they never follow through with the guilt and the anger that would come from it. It's part of the problem with that season. They drop so many potential interesting plot lines for really boring ones.

It's still way better than people give it credit for but after the go-for-the-jugular of the first four seasons, it's disappointing.
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Originally Posted by Ryan S~
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I kinda get that but they never follow through with the guilt and the anger that would come from it. It's part of the problem with that season. They drop so many potential interesting plot lines for really boring ones.

It's still way better than people give it credit for but after the go-for-the-jugular of the first four seasons, it's disappointing.

I think the anger was there it just manifested different. What with Bartlet pursuing the peace deal at all costs, even if it ment losing Leo.
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No black text here...it's been 4-5 years....

So I just got to the Toby confession to CJ. I'm still totally in the camp that he's not covering for CJ.

He wasn't protecting CJ as much as he WAS protecting Leo, Josh and the campaign. He had no idea they would go as far as to subpoena Leo and effectivly torpedo Santos. And he didn't make up his mind to reveal he was the leak to CJ until he found out Leo was due to go testify.

The closest CJ was to the leak was asking Toby if his brother had ever bragged about a "non civilian" shuttle.
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I don't think that Toby was covering for CJ, but I do think it was out of character for him to leak what he did. At least in that way.

I'm rewatching this now, and Will Bailey being incorporated into the White House is still awkward. They seem to shift him into being Russell's guy really quickly, which makes him look like a weasel. More so considering the moves that Russell ends up making.
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Technically this should probably go in some old Studio 60 thread, but I'm going to drop it here.

I found myself stuck in Nowhere, Ohio for a week with no vehicle, and I forgot to bring West Wing Season 6, which was how I intended to spend my evenings (the only alternative being buying meth from the locals). Since Season 5 had wound up coming across quite a bit better on my second viewing than it had the first time through, I decided to give Studio 60 a try since I could stream it on Netflix. I hadn't hated it the first time through like some people, but I thought it was only okay. My expectations were that I'd like it more this time with some time between me and it to temper expectations just like WW Season 5.

Ugh, it was worse than I remembered. I bought almost nobody in their roles except Perry, Busfield, and Webber, the comedy bits went from mediocre to downright embarrassing, and Sorkin's axe-grinding took me out of every scene. What a waste of great talent.

Looking forward to starting Season 6 tonight. If 5 came out that much better on my rewatch I'm excited to see how much better the superior 6 and vastly superior 7 look.
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Until he shows up in the election day episode I had forgotten him...but damn Season 7 is very devoid of Charlie.
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My biggest problem with Season 7 is the lack of time spent in the White House. I like the Election stuff and the Santos and Vinnick characters but my favorite stuff in the series is the team working together on Domestic policy and fighting to get what they want or at least make a good compromise. By the last season we see none of that kind of stuff and that always disappointed me especially when towards the end of Season 6 they started that storyline with Leo returning and counting down the days until Bartlett was out of the White House and what they could accomplish before hand. It's such a great and triumphant moment only to have it so quickly forgotten about.
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I guess the realism is that by that point the President is a lame duck and because Bartlett was not overwhelmingly popular, no one would stick their neck out for him. So while they wanted to get stuff done, in the end it is probably a bunch of helping out friends and looking for new jobs.

In terms of storytelling, CJ's character had become awful, the Toby storyline was frustrating and no one cared about Charlie unless he was with the President. The election stories were the only ray of hope.
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