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August 30, 2015

How does President Vinick sound?

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 10th 2006 5:18PM
Alan AldaThat's the revelation in The New York Times today, that Arnold Vinick was supposed to win the election last night on The West Wing, but after the death of John Spencer, they decided to have Matt Santos win the election, thinking that fans wouldn't want to see Santos lose both his running mate and the election.

Some other tidbits from the article: the cast filmed their last scenes together on March 31, the last episode will be broadcast on May 14, and Martin Sheen is going back to college (at age 65)!

Let the debate begin, readers. Would you have rather have seen a Vinick win, regardless of how or why that happened, or did The West Wing have to end with a Democratic victory?

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Ariane Rivendell

Even as a Democrat, I would've been happy with either candidate winning. I AM glad they didn't make either one out to be some name-calling sophomoric winner OR loser. Both Santos and Vinick had class and I'm glad the writers chose to keep the characters dignified.


I'm going to go a little off-tangent from the original question, here, and comment on Josh's reaction of Leo's death.

Since Sorkin left, the writing has been atrocious. And I understand the writing staff has enormous shoes to fill, etc. But I had to stop watching the past couple seasons because the episodes have left me cold, bored, they're not funny, they're not interesting, nothing. I have not liked the direction the writers have taken the series.

I was really hoping the writers would step up to the plate with Leo's death. But, it was incredibly disappointing. I felt no sense of suspense with the election results, I felt no anguish or even mere sadness from the characters on Leo's death. I cried more because I felt the loss for the actors rather than that of Leo.

My BIGGEST complaint - and it absolutely bugs me - is that NOT ONCE did the connection between Josh and Leo EVER get mentioned. NO ONE made the connection between Leo's dying the night of the election and Josh's dad dying the night of the Illinois Primary. Both HUGE nights for Josh, with parallel events. One line is all they would've needed, one comment by Josh or Donna. I think it would have gone a long way to really cementing Josh's grief (since they decided to make him the focus) and bringing things full circle.

Apologies for the length. But I have to say, I, for one, am glad the series is ending. It should have ended when Sorkin got fired. I can't imagine how hard the writers worked to keep the show up to par. But they have fallen WAAAY short and done a disservice to the show, the fans, the actors; everyone.

The show is barely a skeleton of what it used to be. And it's heartbreaking to see it die such a slow and painful death...

April 17 2006 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry but I totally disagree with Peeved and his/her request that discussion of the outcome of the election be labelled with SPOILER warnings.

1. The episode already aired. Just because Peeved decided to delay watching it, we can't be expected to slap spoiler warning everywhere.

2. It's major, major development for the series (even though the show is ending soon), and we can't be expected to NOT discuss it.

3. Finally, if Peeved didn't want the ending ruined, why is he/she trolling in the TV Squad forum for the show? Peeved said he/she was careful to avoid reading the summary, but how about avoiding the comments about the episode as well, which are bound to be full of spoilers.

Peeved's slam is unwarranted and unfair, and quite frankly irresponsible.

April 16 2006 at 8:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You know what I would like to hear from everyone is what they would do for the next iteration of West Wing which I think will happen probably sometime after Studio 60 has run its course. Most likely with Sam Seaborn running for the presidency (this is at some point in the future of course). It's not like there isn't a precedent for this a la Star Trek, TNG, etc.

April 12 2006 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Susan J: That's a good point about the Dream Sequence, but I just don't believe it to be true. Moreover, Leo wasn't there. Bartlet, 2 Secret Service agents, CJ, Danny, Toby, Kate, Charlie, Will, and Josh. No Leo.

You're right that Bartlet would never become VP, but I'm not sure its against statute. Presidents are not technically limited to two terms in office, they are limited to 10 years (the 3rd term would put him over that limit). As an example, Madeline Albright was 4th in the line of Presidential Sucession as SecState, even though she could never legally hold the office of the President (she was not born on American soil)... Not that I know how that example directly relates either :). I'm just not sure that he couldn't (Though, after his MS deterioration, there's no way the House approves).

And you also raise a good point about cast changes, but (and I'm not a fan of the show, so I'm just working here on what I've been told) isn't Law and Order one of the least character driven shows on television? Compare that to ER, which is character driven, and has also (now) changed 100% of its regular cast... ER, while still a decent show (I still watch) is, though, a shadow of its former self.

As far as Josh goes, yeah, he's screwed up several times. He thought he was going to be fired in the first episode, and was alienated from the center of power early in Season 5 due to the Carrick party switch (which realisticly I still don't think he should have caught the blame for). However, everyone of the Senior Staff had a major screw-up (Sam with the video tape during the second campaign, CJ with Haiti, etc, Toby leaking National Security secrets (Though, I still believe he was told to by someone else)).

April 12 2006 at 10:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan J

Regarding all the comments about the people coming to view the opening of the Bartlett Presidential Library, there's no way to know if this was a "dream scene" of one of the characters. And don't forget, there were episodes with Bartlett talking to the ghost of Mrs. Landringham in the Oval Office. I think it was the eposide of her funeral or maybe the next one? So maybe a ghost Leo is there.

There's no way Bartlett becomes VP - I believe it would be against the law since there would be a chance to become President. Also, Mrs. Bartlett would kill him. (LOL)

As for cast changes, I also enjoy Law & Order, which has had a 100% cast change over the years. If the writing and new characters are good, that's more than enough for me.

Am I one of the few that don't particulary like Josh? I always thought he was something of a goof-up. Hasn't he been nearly fired several times? So a a big cast change could be interesting and there's nothing against the current staff popping up in new jobs.

April 12 2006 at 8:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow... I gotta chime back in here now.

The people that "know" (the promise of it occuring in the next three weeks is my favorite) that Vinick will be the next VPOTUS kind of make me laugh (Almost as much as my dad does when he suggests Sam). Would he next to a Secret Service officer.

Inky: Good point on the politics, but I think a publicmake a great selection for the spot in the realm of a television show about the West Wing, yeah, especially in light of positive comments that Santos made about him in his victory speech (Keep in mind, however, that canidates usually say that in a victory speech). But its not going to happen.

In defference of Peeved (With whom I still disagree completely about the nature of spoilers) SPOILERS!!!

Vinick, if the current spoilers pan out, will be offered the position of SecState. Remember, he was going to be offered UN Ambassador by President Bartlet prior to his election run, so he obviously must have the Foriegn Policy chops.

Sam, will be offered (and eventually accept, with a certian condition that will make Josh leave Washington) the postion of Deputy Chief of Staff (Kind of against character, IMHO. He left the White House to get on the other side of politics, and we as viewers don't know how that career is going).

NSA Nancy McNally will not be VPOTUS. (My early prediction, and still favorite) SecState Louis Berryhill will not be VPOTUS. CJ and Josh, two outlandish ideas, won't be VPOTUS (Hell, I'm probably Josh's biggest fan other than than Bradley Whitford's mother, but I've gotta question if he's got the maturity and intrapersonal accumin to be Chief of Staff).

If the sides for the final episode, which are out on the internet, are true, then the Vice President will be the Democratic Gov. of Penn. Eric Baker, played by Al Bundy.. I mean Ed O'Neal.


Cheri: The New York Times article does not bear you out. Futhermore, just because Josh told the group the President arrived doesn't mean that he worked for the President, he could of just have been the guy standing statement from Vinick (because, you know, he was the stand up guy on the contested election lawyer thing) encouraging the Electoral College to vote for the Santos/McGarry ticket would solve that problem.

Paul: Sorry man, but for about the 85th time on TVSquad.com, Leo was not at the 'Bartlet Presidential Library Scene.' Personally, I think that they were leaving the eventuality of Leo being POTUS at that time.

tom gitto: I'm with you. I love the West Wing, but most of the time it is unabashedly liberal. Charlie is a good point, but Donna played that role so much better in the early years.

willie: GRAVITAS!

margery: The season's lead it had all of our characters, including our unknown President, coming to the Bartlet Presidential Library.

MARIE: "Alan Alda acts more like a Democrat than a Republican. Remember the brief case scene, where Vinick returned it to Santos privately. Bruno would have leaked it to the media with the contents in that brief case." Bruno, for what it is worth, is a Democrat. Futhermore, there's no way the show will be picked up. You can watch Bradley Whitford on Aaron Sorkin's new show next year though (I imagine it would be difficult to be a main character in two separate one hour dramas filming at the same time).

SusanJ: Fitz would have been my first choice over Berryhill had John Wells had decieded to needlessly killing him off.

Tallon: Just to reiterate what has been said (here and elsewhere) Josh has little to no foriegn policy experience, and is more political operative, less policy wonk.

SethL: Not sure what you mean about NBC changing the time. My TiVo got it just fine.

S Stendahl: Ok, I'm as much of a West Wing fan as the next guy (I think I've proven it in this post), but saying that this show is the FIRST intellegently written television show is to insult a lot of good television over the years.

Tony: Santos and Josh getting out of the car would be difficult as he was already in the building.

Damn, that was a little long, but its pretty surprising that this post gets into the 90s in the first couple of days, but none of the episode recaps ever really make it past 40.

April 12 2006 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

I could actually see them working with a Vinnick presidency if the series had continued. The Bartlet presidnecy has always been presented as an "idealized" version of the Clinton presidency, so why shouldn't we see a Vinnick presidency as an idealized version of the George W. Bush presidency in which you have a true "compassionate conservative" in power.

April 11 2006 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This has morphed into a vp debate has it not?
My thoughts:
CJ - no way, has a baby by the time the library is to be dedicated. I don't think the VP would do that, never mind marrying a reporter (or former reporter)
Vinnick - bit of a stretch but still think this is the sec'y of state pick.
Josh - Not likely VP would come in motorcade and would not announce the President's arrival (Chief of Staff would though). Senate is still Republican and a lot of people hate Josh on that side of the aisle, so confirmation not likely.
Dr. Nancy McNally - my pick, yes she is that good. Love the way her character looks at problems not jumping to conclusions and very analytical.
Berryhill - could not get confirmed in the Bartlett administration as VP not even the Democrats liked him.
O'Neil - Could be but not thought provoking one way or the other, except for the Al Bundy tie in.
Fitzwallace - hands down if he were still alive.

This is just way too much fun, even for a Canadian. The show will be missed in the Great White North too.

April 11 2006 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey people, this was never meant to be reality tv. It is fiction. I was surprised when Santos did not announce that the people had not given either of them a mandate and ask Vinnick to be his VP when he stepped up to the podium on election night. With all of the talk about how many speeches were being written all thru the show, I figured he would do his own shocker speech. That is where I think things changed because of Leo's death. They have to have a funeral episode to honor John Spencer. They can get back to Vinnick later.

April 11 2006 at 2:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve M

Arnie for VEEP is a practical turn for this story line. As I recall, Santos was an independant when he won his house seat and prior to the Democratic nomination for president. It would then dovetail nicely that a moderate Republican of proven integrity would be welcomed to the new white house.

April 11 2006 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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