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August 28, 2015

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The West Wing: Shibboleth

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 26th 2008 1:01PM
(Originally aired November 22, 2000)

Last year I picked The West Wing's "The Indians in the Lobby" episode as a standout episode of the series. It just so happens that we're blessed with two Thanksgiving episodes of the show that are standouts. This one is called "Shibboleth."

The plots: While President Bartlet has to figure out what to do with dozens of Chinese immigrants who have stowed away on a freighter, Toby tries to get Leo's controversial sister nominated for an education post, C.J. has to pick one of two turkeys who will get to be pardoned by the President, and Charlie goes shopping for the perfect carving knife for the President.

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The West Wing: The Indians in the Lobby

by Bob Sassone, posted Nov 14th 2007 11:25AM

TV Squad's Standout Episodes"The Indians in the Lobby"
Originally aired on November 21, 2001

There are so many ridiculously great episodes of The West Wing, trying to pick one out is like trying to pick out the best note in a piece by Mozart. But since it's November, I figured I'd choose the best of the show's Thanksgiving Day episodes, "The Indians in the Lobby" (and yes, fans of "Shibboleth," I love that one too, but this one has just a little bit more.)

It's Thanksgiving, and President Bartlet is making the stuffing ...

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DVD Review: The West Wing - The Complete Series

by Bob Sassone, posted Dec 4th 2006 8:33AM
West Wing complete seriesI was trying to figure out how to review this set. Should I even mention how great the series is (brilliant cast, brilliant writing, brilliant direction, blah, blah, blah)? And then I figured, no, I'm not going to review certain episodes or the series as a whole. Everyone knows how good the show was, and if you're a fan you already know all that stuff, so you really want to know how the rest of the set is and if it's worth upgrading from the individual sets to this new set.

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CBS looking for more comedy with Fugly and others

by Brett Love, posted Dec 1st 2006 12:05PM
allison janneyOne of the perks of having a top twenty show is that it often gets you a deal to make another show. Such is the case for Chuck Lorre and Lee Aronsohn, creators of Two and a Half Men. CBS is looking at an untitled comedy from the pair starring Allison Janney (West Wing), who has a talent holding deal with the network. There are no details on the show yet, but given the creators and the involvement of Janney, I'd give it a better than average shot at moving forward.

In other comedy news at the Tiffany Network, they have ordered a pilot for a show called Fugly. Written by My Name Is Earl creator Greg Garcia, the show tells the story of three not so attractive sisters who pool their money to get one of them an extreme makeover. The plan is for the three of them to then take advantage of the sister's good looks. It's an interesting premise, and I think Garcia could do a lot with it, but I suspect a name change is coming if the show actually makes it to air. I can't see the management mucky mucks at CBS actually putting a show called Fugly on their schedule.

[ via cynopsis ]

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West Wing complete series DVD set coming this fall

by Bob Sassone, posted Jul 27th 2006 9:32AM

West Wing - The Complete SeriesWell, I know what I'm giving myself for Christmas this year.

Warner will release The West Wing: The Complete Series on DVD November 7. The set will include every single episode of the series (154 episodes) on 45 discs. The set will contain the same sets as the individual sets already released, but will also include a copy of the pilot script, including a special intro by creator/head writer Aaron Sorkin. The set will sell for around $300.

The set for the last season will also be released that day, separately, with bonus materials.

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The West Wing: Tomorrow (series finale)

by Bob Sassone, posted May 14th 2006 9:10PM
West Wing(S07E22) Was anyone else struck by the differences between the pilot episode of The West Wing (shown tonight before the finale) and the episodes from the past couple of years, including this one? Such a different vibe. So much energy and passion and great writing (not to mention inspirational music and romanticism) in the pilot, compared to the last couple of years of so-so writing, dark camera work, bad changes in characters (although this season was a comeback). I would have rather have seen a retrospective, but it was interesting to see how the show began and how it will end.

The series finale got so many things right and also a few things wrong. Let's talk about them.

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West Wing retrospective scuttled over actors' pay

by Joel Keller, posted May 9th 2006 3:54PM
West Wing castWell, now, at least we know why there's not going to be a West Wing retrospective this Sunday. And -- surprise, surprise! -- the reason is money. According to Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post (among other sources), more than one of the primary WW players balked at the low amount of money NBC and Warner Bros. was offering to them to do the clip/reminiscing show, originally scheduled air before Sunday's series finale. So, instead of breaking the bank to create a show that will air at 7 PM on a Sunday, the two parties decided to just air the show's 1999 pilot instead.

Judging by the tone of de Moraes' article, she isn't taking the actors' side. I don't blame her; all they're doing is sitting and talking about the show that paid them handsomely for seven years. If it were me, I'd be so grateful for the opportunity WW gave me (before this, for example, Allison Janney was best known for a New York Lottery commercial and a small role in Private Parts), I'd do the retrospective for scale. But I'm just a lowly blogger, so what do I know?

[Thanks to Karen for the tip.]

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The West Wing: Institutional Memory

by Bob Sassone, posted May 7th 2006 9:22PM
Janney - The West Wing(S07E21) This was an odd episode. I mean, it's the next to last show, and we're supposed to believe that everyone is getting ready to leave the White House and they're packing up and they're thinking about new job offers. But at the beginning, even though C.J.'s office is filled with boxes and Will goes to see someone about a possible political job, it didn't "feel" right. Focusing on C.J. is fine, but focusing on Will and Kate? I just don't see it.

Then Andy walked into C.J.'s office and asked her to ask the President about pardoning Toby, and that's when the episode kicked into gear for me.

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Richard Schiff not thrilled with West Wing either

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 17th 2006 5:33PM

Richard SchiffAh, someone from the cast who feels the same as longtime West Wing fans.

Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler on the show (yes, I say "plays" even though he's been fired - he'll be in upcoming episodes) wanted to leave the show. In this article about a play he is in, Schiff talks about the show:

"It’s been time for me to move on for quite a while actually. You know, the money was very good and that’s what kind of drew me back because I felt like after five years of 70-hour weeks that I kind of deserved to get a little bit of a payoff. And the money got very good in the last two years. I wanted to leave and then we kind of made a compromise that I would come back and give them a story that they could use to lead me going out. They came up with firing him... That wasn’t my idea!

Between you and me - and you can print this - Toby wouldn’t have done that in ten million years! But, you know, it’s not my show...And now it’s even greatly sad because of John Spencer’s passing. I certainly, honestly, don’t want to go back for another season without Johnny there. I couldn’t imagine The West Wing without Toby Ziegler and I couldn’t imagine it without Leo McGarrey as well. It’s just not possible. So, it might move on and become another show and that’s fine.

It’s important for people to know that I really, really loved this Toby character. And I really loved the people on The West Wing. Allison Janney is my soulmate on the set and John Spencer was just one of the most fascinating, wonderful human beings I’ve ever met. And Martin Sheen is singularly the best human being I’ve ever met. Tommy Schlamme who used to run the show and Aaron Sorkin and his writing and some of the writers who tried to fill his footsteps are truly wonderfully gifted and they’re family and I love them to death. I just feel like it’s time to get out of the kitchen once in a while. It’s time to move on."



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