Saturday, 13 October 2012

S02E05: And It's Surely to Their Credit

For an episode with an awful lot of humour in it they also manage to deal with some pretty heavy stuff too. When you're fifteen minutes in and all the President's been involved in is an abortive attempt to read a radio message and a possible booty call from the first lady you realise he's just the comic relief.

Heavy stuff #1: Ainsley's first assignment is pretty sensitive stuff. After shocking us by introducing a sympathetic republican in the last episode, he really floors us in this one by giving us two democrats who are just, well, pathetic. Sam's initial lack of support seems against character to me, and the last minute turnaround doesn't really redeem him totally. This is a man who was best pals with a prostitute the previous year but can't stand sharing the same room with someone who doesn't share his political opinion. It's put in even bigger contrast by Leo's acceptance, given the article she previously wrote about him.

Heavy stuff #2: Suing the KKK. I love Josh's reason for rejecting this. He's a big picture guy, and classy with it.

It's really impressive how well Emily Proctor gels with the main cast right from the off (more about her in the spoilers section).

Random observations:

Donna's jokes were probably good enough to make Studio 60.

Gail makes an appearance at the five minute mark. It looks like a stage in her bowl, which could be a Gilbert & Sullivan reference. It's hard to tell though, as you only see it for a couple of seconds.

Lionel Tribby is better known from Boston Legal (and IIRC from the US remake of Fawlty Towers).

Is it Donna's birthday during this episode? There's a note on Josh's blackboard.

The steam pipe trunk distribution venue doesn't seem too bad to me.

Aaron Sorkin actually got me into Gilbert & Sullivan (curse him). He's clearly a fan too, as the first Studio 60 episode after the pilot modifies Modern Major General for their cold open.

Episode grade: B+

So what did you all think?

Spoilers for the future follow.

Clearly Emily Proctor had a good future with the show, but she chose to go and star in CSI: Miami instead. While I can understand why she'd do that, I think it's a shame she didn't stay with The West Wing until the end of its run. She's a good enough actress that she'd have easily been able to get the lead in another series after.

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