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October 9, 2015

The Five: More Fanesia moments

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 30th 2006 8:01PM

West WingLast year I introduced the term "fanesia" on this blog. It's a word that means "fan amnesia," those moments of a TV show that you simply forget ever happened, because they're illogical, hurt the show, or just make you feel bad and/or angry. I think it's time for another five:

1. Toby was the leak (The West Wing): I don't know what happened here. Whether the character was written off because actor Richard Schiff wanted to leave or NBC wanted to cut some payroll, the way it happened was a real kick in the stomach to longtime fans of the show. Not only that Toby would leak info about a secret military plane (he wouldn't), but that President Bartlet would just fire him so coldly and bring up their history in such a nasty way. Sure, these two butted heads many times, but it was always out of caring and love for each other. Great to see Bartlet pardon him as his last act as President and invite him to the opening of the library, but still. Aaron Sorkin must have thrown something at his TV when this happened.

In my mind, Toby just quit the White House to go teach at Columbia.

2. Irina was evil (Alias): Yeah, I know, this one is harder to justify, because not only was Irina evil for decades, the last season plot of her wanting the Rambaldi device for nasty purposes was a major plot and hard to forget, but I'm including it anyway. I mean, she helped them so many times and had finally reconciled with Syd and Jack, and then she turns into some James Bond villain wanting world domination and willing to kill her family to get it? Eh, stupid. I would have just had Sloane as the evil guy and have Jack and Irina stop him together.

3. Khandi Alexander leaving NewsRadio - and Lauren Graham joining (NewsRadio): Hey, I like Graham, and her episodes are some of the best of the show's fourth season, but Maura Tierney reveals on a fourth season DVD commentary that one of the reasons Alexander left was because there was buzz that Graham was going to be made a regular on the show, and Alexander already wasn't getting enough screen time.

4. Mark Greene dies (ER): Very rarely do characters on this show live happily ever after (it's from John Wells, who took over West Wing...hmmm...), and this was just awful. What, he couldn't just leave town to be with his family? He couldn't get a new job? They had to give him a freakin' brain tumor? Was it some reference to that nasty incident where he got his head bashed in inside the men's room? That wasn't enough? Why do shows have to kill off characters when actors want to leave?

5. That Dick Van Dyke Show reunion show: They leave New Rochelle and move to NYC? Richie is only on it for a minute? They all act like they truly dislike Alan Brady? Gah!

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The 8th and 9th seasons of The X-Files

December 02 2006 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The West Wing suffered the issue from being on the air too long, while attempting to relate to a real life and logical time cycle.

To compensate, they decided to go with a plotline of following democratic and republican presidental candidates on the campaign trail. And by doing so, they lost track of almost all the series regulars. They really didn't know what to do with them. Some were repurposed to help with the elections, which seemed somewhat illogical.

And long before the character Toby was fired for releasing government secrets, the series has already proven illogical by making the press secretary the chief of staff. Huh?

Martin Sheen practically disappeared the last season, and was only seen every other couple of episodes, and even then, sometimes only briefly.

It was as if the West Wing was an entirely different show.

And had you not known about the show the prior years, it might have worked. The campaign trail was actually exciting.

But anyone who cared or enjoyed about the West Wing was probably wondering what happened to the series.

December 01 2006 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My moment of fanesia is when Adam Rove slept with that art chick during the second season of "Joan of Arcadia." It was so out of character. Plus the writers sprung it on the audience without any justifications or reasoning for the behavior.

December 01 2006 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Season 4 of BtVS.

December 01 2006 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wasn't it, not so gently, intimated that Toby was asked by the President to be the leak?

For wanting him off the show he sure was around a lot.

December 01 2006 at 8:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think Richard Schiff (Toby) wanted to leave the show since he was in many episodes of the last season. I think the writers were trying to find new "fantastic" ways of interesting the audience but this storyline was awful.

Richard Schiff gave an interview and said that he hated the storyline and felt there was no way that Toby would have done it.

If I had my way we would have found out that one of the other staffers had leaked it accidentally and Toby took the blame out of loyalty or something. The outcome would still be the same but Toby's character would have been intact.

The final season pales in comparison to the early seasons.

December 01 2006 at 2:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rodney S.

Please enough mentioning of Paris Hilton,Jessica
Simpson and Her Sister,and Lindsey Lohan!! It seems
most of Hawaii's teenagers,and young adult women in
the 21-26 age range don't care about those women!!
And its so stupid for the media to keep focusing on
those women,Paris Hilton-rich brat,Jessica Simpson
along with Her Sister-can barely sing,but most men
focus on Her body instead! And Lindsey Lohan is a Star
who thinks She's big enough to be a prima donna on
Her movies,well She doesn't realize,She can be black
balled or a hasbeen,and be out on the street!!

December 01 2006 at 1:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The worst part about Mark Greene's death was that it took 2 freakin' years to happen! God, that storyline was utter, unadulterated torture.

December 01 2006 at 1:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

#9 ScottH, no, that's not fanesia, that's "writer-esia".

Writer-esia is when the writers are contracted to push the emotionally dead cash cow in front of the audiences for several more seasons of curtain calls. Writer-esia is often caused by large stacks of green stuff and is noticable when the writers to forget the level of quality that lifted the TV show out of the quality ghetto in the first place.

Of your examples of Writer-esia, Babylon 5 is the best example.

Fanesia then, would be a trick the writers who are infected with writer-esia do and where the diehard fans blindingly forgive them for doing it.

I imagine a giant dartboard where various outlandish scenarios are written and then a blind monkey or UPS delivery boy is ushered in to throw a dart, and wherever the dart lands, THAT is the plot twist that gets the writers through the next few episodes. When logic strains credulity, the plot twist is then quickly forgotten. The rest of the fair weather fans of the show are scratching their heads in a collective WTF? moment.

November 30 2006 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The entire 7th season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." And at least half of the 6th, too.

The fifth time-killing season of "Babylon 5" (except for the series finale, written & filmed during Season 4).

"The Simpsons" from around Season 9 on.

By the way, "Cheers" officially ended when Diane left at the end of Season 5.

The Harry Morgan silly-sitcom years of "M*A*S*H."

Oh, were you looking for smaller moments? :-)

November 30 2006 at 11:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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