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July 24, 2014

The West Wing: Requiem

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 16th 2006 9:59PM
West Wing(S07E18) Now this was the type of episode longtime West Wing viewers were hoping for. If you had asked me what should happen in the Leo's funeral episode and who should be in the episode, this is what I would have done. The montage at the beginning of the episode showed everyone getting ready for the funeral - President Barlet, Josh, Toby, C.J., Donna, etc - and then showed all of the people at the church. Sure, it was jarring not to have Sam there (Rob Lowe isn't back yet), but you really can't complain when you have Mallory, Nancy McNally, Carol, Margaret, Hoynes, Russell, Joey Lucas, Danny and everyone else. Nice touch having Toby stay in the church til everyone leaves and Charlie offering to walk out with him.

I was a little afraid they'd rush though the Leo memories and shove in the whole Santos plot, but that didn't happen. You had to show what was going on with the Santos plot (life does go on after all), and it was a nice balance of the old and the new.Josh isn't sure about Santos decision to hire Barry Goodwin to lead the transition team. Santos is also trying to figure out what to do about his first bill on lobbying reforms and the speaker seat. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Let's talk about the old cast!

Charlie (in his new office, which won't last long) is surprised that Josh hasn't asked Donna to be on the new team yet. Donna needs a place to stay (she gave her apartment to someone else while on the campaign trail), and C.J. is going to let her stay with her. VP Russell goes into the White House gathering and makes a rather tasteless (I thought) comment to Will about Leo only being 58, only a few years older than he is, and that he's scheduled a colonosopy. Jed goes into the party and tries to keep a smiling, positive face, even though he's devastated. I really liked this scene with the interactions between old cast members. Nice job getting everyone in, and I'm glad they had a scene between Jed and Margaret.

And can I tell you how much I enjoyed seeing a scene between Josh and Amy (who wants a female VP)? And also C.J. and Ainsley Hayes (who comes looking for a job as White House counsel!)? Outstanding.

Josh and Santos are arguing about some of Santos' choices (hiring Goodwin, backing Fields). Josh says "if you're looking for a yes man, I'm not it."

Later, Jed, Abby, Josh, C.J., Charlie, Will, Donna, Margaret, Carol, and Annabeth get together and reminisce about Leo. When the gathering breaks up, Jed tells Josh that Leo loved him like a son, and that they are the old team. It's time for the new.

I really liked this episode. I'll have to check and see who wrote it because it had that old West Wing spark to the scenes. The dialogue, the rhythm, the feel. If this is any indication as to how the last handful of eps will be, I'm rather excited.

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Carol

Where was the funeral actually filmed?

April 25 2006 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Isabella

Sam should have been there, and WHY if he's coming back, wasn't he? Zoey and Charlie should have had something to say to one another, I feel. I was bored by the time wasted on Santos' transition problems (he's not going to be around anyway!) and also felt that they should have shown more of Leo and not told all these "wake" tall-tales that had little to do with his personality as we all knew it. What the heck did they do that for? The stories could have had something to do with more revealing aspects of Leo's life... also why no more of Mallory? Probably because it was cheaper to pay the actress (and E. Moss etc) to be there and not to say anything. Ainsley Hayes didn't look very well, and her beauty was not really shown off.
And yet, I love TWW and will miss it. I own all the DVD's and I watch a couple episodes each night-- and I know others who do, too. It is not the same withough Sorkin and Schlamme (I hear AS will be in the last episode, like Alfred HItchcock, in the Inauguration scene).
Cheers to the people who do this for making a brave show. as they go. It matters how a man falls down. I will miss them very much-- but I wish they'd use the time to tie up all the loose ends and forget about the nonsense (who cares about the Vice President's colonoscopy)? More on Josh & Donna. And I love Amy, too. Maybe they should have been a threesome!

April 21 2006 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

J Sandler: I'm almost too drunk to respond. But considering the fact that at least two (it was two, right? episodes that included Leo were aired after John Spencer's passing pretty much states that you not very accurate with your claim there, my friend.

I think that the West Wing handled the airing of scenes filmed with Spencer after his passing about as best as they possibly could (I'm still up in the air as far as whether or not they scripted things as well as they should have). The worst part of the entire thing was hearing the words "The first sign of a heart attack is usually death" come out of his mouth during the VP Debate episode, but you can't escape the truth.

To say that TWW handled the airing of scenes filmed incorrect is ludicrious. Please explain your line of thinking.

April 21 2006 at 3:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
F Sandler

I can't believe you thought Leo's funeral episode, and the other episodes since John Spencer died, were good. Surely they could have used whatever footage they hadn't aired of John Spencer--couldn't they fit it in somehow? And we didn't get one glimpse of Leo even in an episode largely about him.

The best way to honor a fine actor like John Spencer is to show his acting. I'm sure he wouldn't have felt that it was "using" him. I think he would have been pleased. And I know I and other viewers would have been pleased to see every scrap of his acting, even if it had to be in flashbacks with previously seen footage.

I feel like saying "shame on you" to NBC and the West Wing's producers for robbing us of that. It's sad enough to lose the man and his future performances: we didn't need to lose what was already filmed.

April 20 2006 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Isabella

I also wish they would use more LIGHT. The way it was photographed in the first 4 seasons was perfect. Why was this changed, I wonder? Kudos to Mr. DelaRuth, the photographer, if I have his name down correctly. I hate the dark quality and also CJ's dark hair!

April 19 2006 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Isabella

I wished for more on Ainsley; she wasn't shown off to her best advantage. She is so much prettier and funnier than the way she was depicted. Also sorry to see nothing said between Zoey and Charlie -- and Zoey saying NOTHING at all. What are these 2 going to do? Anything at all?
Also, too bad not more from Marlee Matlin (Joey), but maybe we'll see more with her before The End Of It All. Sure will miss it. Thanks, Mr. Sorkin, Mr. Spencer, Mr. Sheen, and thanks to all those who have kept it going. Also Stockard Channing, L. O' Donnell, B. Whitford, J. Maloney, and Everyone...

April 19 2006 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

It still amazes me that the Blog Post talking about the NY Times article about Vinick winning the election got over 100 comments and most of the episode centric ones barely get past a second page ;)

April 19 2006 at 6:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ariane Rivendell

I'm sorry to be the dissenting voice... I know many of you were moved by the episode.

I wish I could say the same. But it left me emotionless, again.

It seems to me that if Mrs. Landingham could get an hour's worth of funeral episode time, that Leo deserved just as much. I thought the 10 minutes we saw was a disservice to Leo (and John Spencer). I realize life does go on and Santos needed to get on with the transition, but it could have been done so much better. Instead, I felt like, "ok, funeral's done. Let's get on with it."

The wake scene - while amusing and well-done with the CJ/Danny+Donna/Josh roundabout - I thought degenerated too much into soap opera-ish kind of stuff. Coupled with Amy trying to hook up Josh and Donna eyeing her across the room - sophomoric writing from a show that deserves better and could have used the time better.

I just found it really disappointing. I keep hoping with each episode that the writers will rev it up, but it never gets to where it could be. To where I think the writers really could take it.

It's just heartbreaking to see them falling short of the gems they could be penning. argh!


April 18 2006 at 6:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dorv

Rich: First off... "The show was never the same for me after Leo's first heart attack, resignation, CJ becoming the COS, etc. And then of course after the Sorkin, Schlamme departure it was truly over for me." Sorkin left the show a full season prior to Leo's first heart attack.

I guess I'm the only one that liked these Leo stories. I don't want to hear telling of stories that I already know, but hearing things that I didn't know about a character I know and love.

The Congressmen were supposed to be annoying with their "More like a celebration" bits. We weren't supposed to like it. It was characterization. Notice how the one that we were supposed to like went first, and the annoying "stupid" one went last?

April 17 2006 at 10:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rich

I just finished watching the 'Requiem' episode rerun on Bravo tonight and I should point out that while I LOVED WW for 5 seasons and own the first 4 on dvd. The show was never the same for me after Leo's first heart attack, resignation, CJ becoming the COS, etc. And then of course after the Sorkin, Schlamme departure it was truly over for me. That said, I had begun watching again with the addition of Smits & Alda when the show was still in it's traditional Wednesday timeslot. But never really followed it to Sunday night at 8:00. So, that said, I found tonight's episode disappointing for many of the reasons already cited here. I too don't know how one could feel this was like WW's of it's storied past. I too HATED these new, out of leftfield stories about Leo that certainly didn't convey the Leo I knew & loved. He was truly the glue that held the show together and I knew it was doomed with his passing. No matter what NBC or the critics said. But I digress. When the third Senator tonight said "beautiful service/funeral...more like a celebration" I wanted to puke and it reminded me of why I'd stopped watching religiously. Yes it was great to see some of the great characters but they were used way to little and in my opinion underscored how far the show had fallen. From the "what did they do to themselves" department...Did Josh get hairplugs or a weave? He suddenly had more hair than I remembered. And Amy Gardner got some bad face work done that changed the way she spoke and the sound of her voice?! Lastly, Sam should have been there.

April 17 2006 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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