Many of the events I refer to occurred after creator Aaron Sorkin was ousted from the series. I take that as more than coincidence.
Major spoilers for the show follow after the jump, so if you haven't seen it yet, turn back now.
Were The West Wing writers psychic or just very clever in their reading of the political landscape?
Several writers, including Stephen Siilver at NorthStarWriters.com, have noticed that the current Presidential election is very similar to the election that The West Wing had in its final season and a half. The show had a Democrat that inspired people by his speeches but didn't have much experience (Matt Santos), a Republican from the West that even liberals liked because he wasn't too far right (Arnold Vinick), and a candidate that had already been in the White House as a VP (Bob Russell). Does that sound like Barack Obama, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton?
He does, however, think it's one final slap in the face to the show and to the fans that made it a hit.
While Santos is busy as hell (he and the new First Lady have to decide what school their kids should go to, Houston or D.C.), Vinick finds himself with nothing to do.
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.
NBC is fond of calling their comedies "Must See TV." But this was truly the one must see episode of any NBC show in quite a while. Leo dies, and the election goes down to the wire, all in one episode. Must see, but not handled as well as it could have been. Some good scenes with Josh, and some nice moments in the White House between Bartlett and C.J., but they really should have given Margaret more to do, get more of a reaction from her besides one shot of stoic tears.
- "International rock star looking after my kids. It's a dream come true." - Matt Santos, sarcastically, about Jon Bon Jovi looking after his son on Halloween, on The West Wing.
- "Oh oh." - Chris, holding a shoebox, after Lois tells him that the word is diorama, not diarrhea, on The Family Guy.
- "Heading an empire is more difficult than finding racial diversity in the Ambercrombie & Fitch catalog." - Stewie, standing atop the jungle gym looking over his empire, on The Family Guy.
- "I lost the nail on my pinky toe. It never grew back, now I have to paint the skin." - Christine, on The New Adventures Of Old Christine.
- "Sunday, Major League Baseball is back! Barry Bonds says that his life is in shambles. Which is interesting because right on the side of the of the bottle of steroids there's a warning that says 'May Cause Shambles'." - David Letterman
Second, Jon Bon Jovi is not only the guest star, the episode title comes from one of his songs. Um, is Bon Jovi still a big star?
First up tonight is a nice opening with Martin Sheen, a short tribute to John Spencer explaining what type of person he was like and that tonight is the first in five remaining episodes that will feature Spencer.
Tonight's ep mostly centers around Leo and how he is screwing up the prep for the vice presidential debate. That stuff is really interesting, but it's surrounded by these really lame domestic scenes with Matt Santos and his family. Eh. They aren't bad for some other show (I guess), but it's just not the whip-smart show The West Wing used to be. Still, Spencer's performance, the stuff about the inner workings of the debate prep, and that one scene with Josh and Toby on the phone (Josh: "I forget, in D.C., can felons vote?......Too soon?" Toby: "Little bit.") make it all worthwhile.