west wing

West Wing rantage

A letter to Sorkin about The West Wing season 4/5 cliffhanger and resolution:

Dear Sorkin--

Now I get why you dumped Hoynes so implausibly and without prep or warning or setup or sanity. It was to manufacture the cheesiest, most gimmicky crisis ever with faked-up cross-party tensions. Bah humbug. And now I get to listen to somebody else's dialog playing it out.

But-- and this is a ginormous but-- the twenth-fifth amendment allows the President to pass the office to the Vice President. I'm not a lawyer, but it doesn't mention anybody else, and I'm thinking this plot is a big no-go in reality.

Also, I really have no patience for families acting pissy about not being included in decisions of state made by one member who happens to be head of state. When I'm president, my husband will cope with the fact that my job isn't his and that I'll be making difficult decisions without him. Though I guess this one isn't your fault, since you were in detox instead of writing this episode.

sincerely yours,
unimpressed

PS: Am enjoying John Goodman in his role, though.

PPS: Lord, I hate nearly every single musical decision made by you, your producers, and W. G. "Thuddy" Walden.

Darn it. Everything I've read says the series flounders sans Sorkin, so it's like how I felt when I watched the last ep of season 5 BtVS: the good stuff is behind me now. Sniffle.
*nods vigorously*

Totally agree with you there, though I thought the finale was shot beautifully. Between the end of the episode before (Commencement?) and the tease for this episode, it was incredibly powerful.

I thought they did better with music in other episodes, I don't know what they were thinking here. *sniff* They come with hats though!

Indeed, this is the end of the good stuff, though I watched sporadically after. It helps to think of it as a different show. What pissed me off the most was the huge character inconsistencies.

And um, if you haven't seen the resolution yet, I'll brace myself for more ranting.
Toby in the S4 finale was the salvation of the whole arc for me. Schiff's acting was fabulous in those scenes in the hospital and when he returns to the White House and tells people.

I have now watched the first 2 eps of S5, so I know how it resolves, and it's sort of a big... eh. Since we've avoided the world-changing drama of killing her and dodged the Republican bully attack, are there any lasting effects from this event? Don't tell me, because I'll watch eventually, but if there aren't I'll fume.

In re music: The S2 closer music was the worst. *Er, if I'm thinking about the right season. The one where Bartlet is deciding to seek re-election or not, that ends with him doing the heavily-underlined-in-case-you-missed-it gesture with his hand in his pocket.) The music was just so off emotionally I was baffled. Now the House producers, on the other hand: those people know how to use music. I've bought music I otherwise knew nothing about after hearing it in House.
I am so fond of Toby. The scene a few episodes earlier where he confesses that he's afraid he won't love his children is amazing as well.

I agree about that music, though I did end up listening to Dire Straits because of it. They're decent when they're not being used for the wrong purpose.

I don't remember much about how it resolves or doesn't, but I never did figure out who was behind the kidnapping in the first place. Maybe I was too distracted by screaming at the tv.

I did like how this was all foreshadowed by the scene in season one where Zoey gets yelled at by her father for ditching her detail, and he spins out his nightmare scenario, and this is what it was.
the season seven campaign is kind of eerie to watch. the santos/vinick race is very similar to what's happening now with obama/mccain.

but no, nothing is ever as good as seasons 1, 2 & 3 of WW.

but i do enjoy season six of buffy. and kind of hated season 5. so.
S6 of Buffy has its points, yeah. "Flooded" is one of my favorites. Such quiet sadness. S5 I like for the arc, even though it has what was, for me, the jump the shark moment: the appearance of the Buffybot.
No! You have been misled!

Yes, s4 climax is ridiculous. I think Sorkin was just looking to fuck over Wells and Schlamme for a laugh. "Fix this, suckers!"

And s5 is 'eh'. All the people you love are there, but the show is strangely unengaging. The good parts of it are balanced by really annoying elements. If you'll forgive the warning, if you disliked Abby Bartlet in the cliffhanger, you're not going to like her for quite some time.

*But*, it seems that at the end of s5, the writers sat down, took account, and figured out exactly what had gone wrong. s6 & 7 shift gears slightly, and they are every bit as good as the first three.

I loved the Hoynes-firing episode. I always loved the way his character was played - the only 'real' politician in the whole series, imo - so I hated losing him. But the episode was good, even if Sorkin was setting up for something stupid. Don't be too sad, though: Wells and Schlamme make much better use of his exit.

Do keep watching - I want to see more WW posts. :-)

8^-
Aha! You're onto something with Hoynes there. Yeah, he definitely had the flavor of a real politician, with the principles hiding behind the negotiating and the manuevering, but there when they counted. I'd have been happier with his departure if it had been set up earlier. They never did much with his alcoholism plotline, which they might have used here.

At least we see what happens with Hoynes, unlike the vanishing-without-a-trace Mandy, Ainsley, Lionel Tribbey, and Sam freaking Seaborn. Though okay, that last omission was probably because Rob Lowe was a jerk.

I'll stay with it to the end, if only to find out if CJ ever gets together with Danny. Thus revealing my inner mush-head.
Yeah. Hoynes can be a good guy or a bad guy, because he has an assortment of motives. The central cast are just the bestest most upstanding, moral, admirable people on the face of the planet. While John Hoynes has some principles, tempered by a ton of ambition, and a tendency to be a jerk, and good reason to have a chip on his shoulder.

Heh - it might have been good structure to write Mandy out of the show, but that would have been a whole 'nother episode with her awful character getting screentime, so I'm totally okay with her disappearing in the night.

Tribbey and Ainsley I loved, but they felt part-time enough to me that making a deal out of them leaving didn't seem necessary.

Sam sinking without a trace was really stupid. They seriously couldn't have thrown in a scene where they mentioned whether he won or not?

I love CJ and Danny so much. If everything else had gone to hell, I would have kept watching for CJ.

8^-
Danny suffered the worst of anyone of disappearing character syndrome, because it happened to him all the time. He'd be in the pressroom every day, tied up in CJ's life, then suddenly, poof! Gone! And then he'd pop up randomly out of nowhere months later. And disappear again. Never an explanation, and never with his plotlines tied up.

Poor Danny.

8^-
(Anonymous)
I really struggled with later seasons of TWW - mostly because of implausible plot devices. BUT, even at it's worst, there are some brilliant moments in seasons 6 and 7. Parts of the Santos/Vinnik campaign are especially interesting. But, like much late season television, it's the sitting through the eh parts to get to them, and then hoping the stench from the truly bad parts doesn't throw off your palette, that's the trick.

My true disappointment in the whole series (besides Sorkin's inability to really give CJ her due throughout, though, again, moments of brillant) was his missing a huge opportunity with the character of Ellie - who could have been many wonderful things.

~suki
This is the consensus I'm hearing: that s5's a bust, but it gets better toward the end. I'll ride it out all the way. It's better TV than most TV even when it's mediocre, right?