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?
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.
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?
The West Wing star John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry, died today in a Los Angeles hospital of a heart attack, according to his publicist. Spencer played Chief of Staff to Martin Sheen's President Jeb Bartlet. On the show, ironically, Spencer's character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House gig. In a main storyline this season, though, his character had been tapped as a vice-presidential running mate for Democratic hopeful Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits.
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