News Archive: 2017
"Trust the people, Jed." – Newman
Have you ever wondered about how Jed Bartlet first came to be President? We know what inspired him to embark on the path in the first place, and how the staff first came together on his campaign. But the mechanics of his first Presidential victory are never explored in the series proper. His opp... read more
"We seem to have lost our quorum." – Abbey
From its earliest days, the Bartlet administration has felt like a family. More so than most workplace dramas, the show has built deep trusts and connections in its relationships, building familial bonds between Jed and Leo and all the senior staffers. Much of the show's charm can be at... read more
"Circus bugs? How can you be circus bugs?" – Flik
In the fall of 1998, filmgoers were surprised by the debut of a new computer-animated feature – the first one to premiere since Toy Story. This new film centered on an ant colony, and on one ant in particular who aspired to be more than just another bug in the sys... read more
"Secret Service's gonna love this." – Josh
As a writer, John Wells is a capable man. He knows how to string a compelling story across forty-three minutes. He knows how to balance healthy beats of drama and comedy. And he knows how to generate friction in rubbing two characters together.
As a producer, though, John Wells is a gen... read more
"The toys! The toys are alive!"
It all began with Toy Story. Or did it? Pixar Animation Studios had been around since 1985, a full decade before Woody and Buzz made their debut, and had made a minor name for itself with a string of computer-animated short films. (One of these films, the Oscar-winning Tin Toy, would i... read more
There are few moments in the history of television as iconic as the one which caps off the intro to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
In this moment, we watch Mary Richards, the character played by the titular actress, as she gazes in wonder at the bustling urban sights of Minneapolis. She twirls around, a huge smile on her face. Then, in one flui... read more
"There's something going around." – Bartlet
For the benefit of you loyal readers, I've put together a helpful little tutorial. It's called "How to Watch 'Separation of Powers.'"
"What are we doing here, sir?" – CJ
The West Wing was designed to be subversive. Where the real world seemed harsh and cynical, the show would find warmth and buoyancy. Where real politicians could look dumb and cruel, the series gave us people who were sharp and fun. Whenever the world zigged, The West Wing gleefu... read more
"We don't glorify ourselves." – Josh
Okay, let me preface this: "Constituency of One" is not the worst episode of Season Five. It is not the worst-written, it does not feature the worst concept, and it isn't even the most boring. No, the episodes with those labels are all still to come.
However, "Constituency of One" does bear o... read more
"Wake me when we have a consensus." – Bartlet
"Han" is one of those episodes that gets glossed over by many West Wing fans, and is often written off as just another disposable Season Five outing. This, I would assert, is unfair – "Han" is one of the few Season Five episodes that succeeds on both an intellectual and emot... read more
"It appeals to Dad. You know, hope and irony." – Zoey
Whenever I start reviews on a new West Wing season, I usually begin by defining that season's overarching theme. Defining a theme allows me to set a tone for that season's reviews, and helps me build on previous ideas when writing about each new episode.
Though we've a... read more
"A truly self-sacrificing act usually involves some sacrifice." – Atwood
From the time I first began to study writing – heck, since the time I was first able to hold a book between my pudgy little fingers – I discovered that all good stories are based in conflict and resolution. Conflict creates a plot, drives the characters... read more
"You know, I'm not the enemy." – Walken
It begins tensely, tautly. The camera pans over several broadcasting reporters, each rattling off the breaking news that Walken is now the President. Then we make our way to the interior of the White House, where staffers worry about the future, given that Walken is now the President. Then... read more