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November 24, 2014

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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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Obama's chief of staff is Ari Gold's brother!

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 7th 2008 5:02PM
Rahm/AriHere's an appointment to the President-elect Barack Obama's new administration that should really make Hardball's Chris Matthews happy. He's hired Ari Gold's brother -- sort of. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, has accepted the job as White House Chief of Staff, and the Congressman's brother Ari Emanuel is the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's character Ari Gold on Entourage.

Just like Ari on HBO, Ari Emanuel is Hollywood's toughest agent and Endeavor Talent Agency is the tops in the business. Ari's brother Rahm has a reputation for being just as ambitious, aggressive and forceful. He likes to play hardball and has been known to twist arms and bust heads, metaphorically, to get things done.

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Richard Schiff reveals more about what happened to The West Wing

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 8th 2007 4:41PM

Richard Schiff, Sheila KelleyWe've said it here a million times (and by "we" I'm including TV Squad readers): Toby would never have leaked classified information the way he did in the last season of The West Wing. And in the off chance that he did, it would only be because he was covering for someone else. Now, Richard Schiff (in the pic on the right with his wife, actress Sheila Kelley) says he agrees (this is an addendum to an article from last year).

In an interesting interview in The Independent, Schiff says that he felt let down by the writers in the last season, and in fact to get through it he actually made a fictional plot in his head as to why Toby was acting the way that he was.

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More Studio 60 episodes ordered

by Julia Ward, posted Nov 9th 2006 3:54PM
Studio 60 at the Sunset StripGood news for Studio 60 fans. Despite persistent rumors of the show's forthcoming cancellation by NBC, a "back nine" has been ordered - meaning that nine more episodes will be produced to finish out the season. Whether the show makes it past a first season remains to be seen, but it will be given a shot to build an audience.

While I appreciate a literate show and Mr. Sorkin's banterfests, I think a handful of problems persist over at Studio 60. Starting with, does anyone really care about the Harriet-Matt relationship? I'd much rather see "Josh Lyman" and "the guy from Friends" at the core of the show. They've got better chemistry, and the show is much more fun when they're on the screen together.

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TV's best characters, according to Joss Whedon

by Anna Johns, posted Aug 22nd 2006 12:03PM
josh lymanJoss Whedon took a cue from screenwriter James Gunn's list of the all-time best characters on television and made his own. Whedon's list includes George Michael Bluth, Josh Lyman, and Lou Grant, among many others. Gunn's list, which also includes rules about no Muppets or cartoons, includes Buffy, David Brent, Jack Bauer, and Creed and Pam from The Office (Gunn's married to Jenna Fischer).

Without putting too much thought into it, here are a few of my faves (and my list shows a far inferior knowledge of television):
  • Claire Huxtable, The Cosby Show, the perfect balance of cool mom, tough love mom and working mom;
  • Elaine, Seinfeld, for being one of the guys;
  • David Brent, The Office (British version), because he's wickedly, uncomfortably funny;
  • Capt. Mal Reynolds, Firefly, for being a funny, loving man underneath a thick shell of mean;
  • Fox Mulder, The X-Files, for not giving a rat's ass what others think and believing in the wholly unbelievable;
  • Dana Scully, The X-Files, for being the perfect complement to Mulder.
Who are your all-time favorite television characters?

[Via Pop Candy]

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Bradley Whitford: The TV Squad Interview

by Bob Sassone, posted May 5th 2006 11:15AM
Bradley WhitfordI always cringe a bit when I interview a celebrity whose work I admire. I'm always afraid that they're going to turn out to be a jerk, or they hate me for some reason, or I'll find out they're into terrible things, like torturing puppies or watching Wife Swap. Thankfully, I've only found out once in twenty years that a celebrity I loved on the screen was a really terrible person (and no, I'm not going to tell you who it is). My lucky streak continues with Bradley Whitford, ex-Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman on The West Wing, guest star on one of ER's best episodes ("Love's Labor Lost"), guest star on most TV shows since the mid 80s, and star of Aaron Sorkin"s new fall series, Studio 60. Whitford is an extremely nice, friendly, classy guy, I'm happy to report.

And I found out that Bradley Whitford is a lot like Josh Lyman, except for ... well, I'll let him explain that.

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The West Wing: Transition

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 23rd 2006 9:40PM
Josh and Donna(S07E19) Can I tell you how much I liked the opening scene with Josh on the airplane, going to see Sam in L.A. to ask him to be Deputy Chief Of Staff? I liked that Josh interrupted him in the middle of a law firm meeting (shades of "In The Shadow Of Two Gunmen"), and the banter outside the building was just like old times. I really think it's odd -- really odd -- that Sam says nothing about Leo or apologize for not being there (they should have at least mention that Sam had called), but I'm not going to quibble with that. In my mind, he did call.

While Josh tries to get Sam back in the White House, the President-Elect runs afoul of the President ...or does he?

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The West Wing: The Cold

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 12th 2006 9:13PM
West WingIt seems like such a long time ago that we had a new episode of The West Wing. We had John Spencer's death, then the Olympics. Seems like it's been forever. So when they showed the "previously on The West Wing..." recap, I was actually interested in it. Where exactly did we leave off? Oh yeah, the nuclear accident in California, Santos starting to creep up on Vinick in the polls, the aftermath of the live debate. And now we see that Santos isn't just creeping up on Vinick, he has tied him in several states (including Vinick's California), and surpassed him in others. Donna and the gang is so happy by the polls that they go crazy and start waking up everyone in the hotel. Donna goes into Josh's room, and they are so ecstatic about the numbers that they...

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The West Wing: Running Mates

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 8th 2006 9:12PM

John SpencerFirst 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.

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