The West Wing went off the air many years ago. But I’ve finally given in and am ready to start the series from the beginning, reviewing each episode as I go. Ready to join me? Let’s do this…
The West Wing Season 1 Episode 2 was a surprising hour of television because there was nothing surprising about it at all.
While it managed to tug at the heartstrings a little bit, it felt as if the script had been passed around beforehand. It was one of the most predictable episodes of television I've seen in quite some time.
The question then becomes whether it was predictable to me because it first aired in 1999 and the expectations of the medium have changed drastically in 2017 or if it was just the material itself.
Because The West Wing is still regarded so highly, I'll have to bet on the former.
But across the board, every story began and finished just as expected.
That's unfortunate given it means I'll be suffering through more Moira Kelly as Mandy.
There is nothing more grating than a girl who is supposed to be "cute" by doing irritating things like driving like an idiot (it's a habit she has), riding up onto sidewalks, screaming at people in public, day drinking in the office and going so far as to call herself cute and brilliant.
That's not cute. Nor is it brilliant. But for some reason, we're supposed to believe that because she talks very fast and was in a relationship with Josh, she's the best at her job. Her education didn't do much for me either. Fine arts, communications, and political science. What about something useful?
Surely there was someone better in town to do the job, someone less irritating and who wouldn't annoy Josh.
But as soon as she did all the things, there was no place else she was going to end up than working at the White House. She wasn't going to have a side story working her own business.
Mandy will be difficult to bear.
When CJ tried to talk to the Vice President, from the moment he looked at her sideways, it was obvious he was going to be called to the table.
The poor guy tried to pretend as if he has a job of his own instead of being the President's lackey. Vice Presidents don't do anything but whatever the administration wants them to do or doesn't have time to do themselves, right?
If they're lucky, they position themselves for a run for President themselves, but they don't do it by creating waves with the West Wing. The Vice President isn't a permanent position. The President can toss him for the second term.
I checked IMDB to see if this guy is a short-term prospect because it wouldn't have bothered me. Low and behold, Tim Matheson is on for the full ride. Granted, he only appears in 26 episodes. I guess Hoynes should have played by the rules!
I misjudged Sam in my review of the pilot. He's not a womanizer type. He's a savior.
That's kind of sweet. It's not smart, but it's sweet. I didn't know why he was telling everyone about Laurie before he headed into town to find her to begin her salvation.
Maybe so when the story hit the papers they'd be prepared?
Sam's still a bit of a mystery to me, so I'm looking forward to seeing where this kind of behavior leads. For his position in the White House, it's kind of odd. And the man does like to stretch his legs, doesn't he?
For the biggest and most disappointing story, the token man of color was brought on, almost given a permanent role in the administration, but killed so President Bartlet could come to terms with his understanding of brute force.
It was bad enough when a black man came onto a predominantly which show back in the day, but put him in a uniform, give him a happy marriage and a beautiful new baby, and it was worse than standing him before a firing squad.
The more people fussed over Morris and his family and the more Jed liked the man standing in front of him telling him to lay off the scotch, red meat and anything at all fun, the less likely it was he'd ever survive his trip to Jordan.
The topic of conversation was equally brutal. Jed Bartlet was confiding in the man because he felt an unexpected kinship. He shared his unease with the Joint Chiefs, wondering why they made him feel like he was in trouble.
Morris shared his thoughts. Bartlet is a once in a lifetime mind. Don't let them rattle you, sir, once they know you, you will all get along. Such advice!! Bartlet needs to have this man at his side all the time!!
And for Morris? Don't forget to teach your daughter to whistle. Mothers never do that. An odd thing to say when they'll be working together closely in just a week. But for TV viewers, we don't know when we'll see them together again.
Oh, wait. Never!!
You have to admit it was very hard to take the about-face POTUS had regarding his feelings on violence merely because the helicopter that was shot down was carrying someone he knew personally. From not feeling violent toward anyone to wanting to "blow them out of the water"? Wow.
While I'm always for violence, most are not. I can't even imagine the reaction today to this being broadcast or, God forbid, being a real decision.
But it's a little of this, a little of that on The West Wing. They seem to have mastered keeping everyone happy.
Have you guys given any thought to these interesting thoughts from the early days of The West Wing?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.