Monday, October 17, 2005


Last night's new installment of The West Wing featured self-parody, which is a good thing. C.J. started addressing Toby at a breakneck pace, and Toby's response, "You're talking VERY fast," was a nice wink to the old days, when rapid-fire dialogue was both a hallmark of the show AND worth parsing out for meaning. Not so much anymore...

It was nice to see Santos find a sensible position on intelligent design that will wrong-foot Vinick, whose candidacy is looking more and more doomed as his lack of religion (and lack of tact, lately) hurt him among the Republican base.

But this "ripped from the headlines" style that seems to be penetrating the show--reporters in jail, leaks in the White House, Israeli-Palestinian troubles--is getting old. And the anticipation of Toby's perp walk is not what it could have been, as it's been obvious for weeks what was coming.

Indeed, the only blindsiding moment on the show last night was also the most cringe-inducing: Leo and Annabeth discussing the "tension" between them. Until then, I thought it was kind of cute that steady Leo would hold Annabeth's hand during the flight to help her overcome her flight anxiety. But sexual tension? I'm all for people finding love wherever they can, but this smacks of turning the characters into interchangeable parts and having them fall in love with whomever they happen to share scenes with for a few weeks. If you want a romantic subplot, you have one, Mr. Wells! It's called Josh and Donna? You've been planting seeds for seven years? Perhaps it's finally time to reap what you've sown?

One more thing: The four-minute commercial break between the final scene and the preview for next week is out of hand. NBC: nothing you do will make me stick around for Law and Order: Criminal Intent; I'm zipping to Desperate Housewives at 8. Have the grace to finish your previews before DH starts, would you?

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