Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day One Hundred and Ninety - The West Wing: Season 1, Episode 22, "Cliffhanger!"

It's been a while since I watched The West Wing, either for pleasure or the blog, and I know that I promised that I'd be skipping around to my favorites last time, but something about this last episode of the first season and its ending struck a cord with me for reasons different than what I was previously shooting for with the series.

And, perhaps, using the word "shooting" is in poor taste concerning the content of the last five minutes of the episode.

I'm sure that there are critics out there who consider the assassination attempt during the final moments of Aaron Sorkin's first season of The West Wing to be in poor taste and baiting, but I actually really like this episode for two reasons:

First, they let you know from the get-go that something big is about to happen thanks to playing the majority of the episode as a flashback that starts after CSI star Jorja Fox, guesting as secret service agent Gina Toscano, spots someone suspicious in a Town Hall crowd. It wasn't just a last minute surprise and I like the hell out of that. 

Second, because during said flashback, the White House is subjected to several real and pressing emergency issues that have absolutely nothing to do with the assassination attempt... and that said issues aren't related at all to what had been the main theme of the first season, the quagmire of Washington politics. While the slow, trudging fight against the entrenched power bases on both sides of the aisle is interesting, it was nice to finally have some actual world-relevant events to deal with, even if they were both America-centered.

That said... it's hard to imagine skinheads making an attempt on the motorcade as all that believable, let alone their obvious display of loading the clips of their semi-automatic pistols in full view of their sniping position. Sure, it had only been a few years since Tim McVeigh and company had taken out the Federal Building in OKC, but I just find it so passe to have white supremacists be a viable villain archetype for such a highbrow show (a fact I make with chagrin considering the upswing of such groups with Obama's election in 2008).

I dunno... I guess I was expecting a grander conspiracy than West Virginian skinheads. I could be wrong as my memory of the fallout of the attack has been lost to the ages and it's like I'm watching The West Wing for the first time again, so maybe a conspiracy crops up at some point, but I'll just have to wait and see.

It's hard not to admit to being a Sorkin fanboy. I love the grand majority of his movies and both The West Wing and The Newsroom move me in ways I didn't think television was capable of anymore... at least not when I'm feeling my darkest and most cynical (usually after just having watched a laugh-tracked sitcom).

I wish more television was like this... discussing the key issues of our time on both grand and deeply personal levels... and it's such a shame that many dismiss Sorkin as preachy and elitist.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

No comments:

Post a Comment