Rebirth of Reason

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Post 40

Saturday, March 12, 2005 - 10:11amSanction this postReply
Pardon me for flogging a dead horse, but if you are interested in the show, there are two websites that are pretty good. 

This the best fan website:

This is the official company website:

Post 41

Tuesday, April 12, 2005 - 6:57pmSanction this postReply
Last week, April 6, marked the end of the current season.  CNN posted this on their homepage that morning:

"NBC renewed the show for next season, noting it draws one of television's most affluent audiences for sponsors. "


We do not have broadcast, cable or dish, but the fourth season is now out on DVD and we have been renting them.

Post 42

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 10:06pmSanction this postReply
Who will be the next President? Will we again have a Democrat, or will we have a Republican?

In case you didn't guess, I love the show, despite disagreeing with many of the policies promoted. The creators of the show have successfully created a fictional world that is exciting and engaging and inspiring.

John Link

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Post 43

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 10:34pmSanction this postReply
The show has been criticized as being out of touch with current political trends, as well as recent floundering in popularity. With Aaron Sorkin stepping down for John Wells, hiring right-wing consultants like Kenneth M. Duberstein and John Podhoretz, and the market-sound tendency to pander to the largest audience, I predict things will be getting much more republican in the next season.

You knew Smits would win the Democratic primaries last season, he's got 'protagonist' written all over him. While electing Alan Alda next season would move the show to a more politically current environment, this would preclude scrapping the current cast as well as compromising the producers' leftist visions. So, I'm guessing NBC will let the Emmy-winning writers have their way and we'll see Smit's Santos in the oval office.

Post 44

Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 11:49amSanction this postReply
My bet is that the entire next West Wing season will be a hugely entertaining battle between Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda from the party conventions up to election night with lots of twists and turns.

Just like the delightful and surprising last few minutes of the last episode this year.

Actually my reason for hoping it's Alan Alda is not political agreement but entertainment. I think Hawkeye has more depth and ability and interest as an actor than pretty boy Smits, who does somber intensity but not much else. Alda would be more interesting to watch for a year. And I say that even though I realize that I'd lose spouse Teri Polo along with Smits so I'm thinking with my aesthetic gland instead of my $%#@.

In either case, I'll try to not miss an episode. The writers aren't as good as Sorkin, but they are still almost as good and interesting as the "Gilmore Girls" writers.


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Post 45

Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 8:48pmSanction this postReply
During the latest season, advertised as a year of changes, I seriously wondered whether Josh would end up working for Vinnick (Alan Alda) after he had that private meeting with Vinnick in his office, and after Leo said to go with the man that is the smartest, this right after Vinnick was seen on TV (that's "on TV on TV") looking very smart and very able to win.

I don't think it is at all a sure thing that Santos is going to win. Vinnick looks very good, coming across very principled and very strong. Besides, it would be quite a change to kick the Democrats out of the West Wing, wouldn't it? I hope that the creators of the show will challenge themselves with that.


P.S. By the way, how do I get my picture included with my posts? I don't see a place to upload it in my profile.

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Post 46

Thursday, May 19, 2005 - 11:39pmSanction this postReply
You have to email your picture to the admin, adding some helpful info like your login ID and member number.

You're right about Alda, they paint him nicely for a republican. If you remember John Goodman's character was favorable as well. But while they're happy to play to both sides, I can't see them switching horses midstream. From what I know of producers, their productions tend to form a part of their identity, and a change in the production usually requires a change in the producer. Could be wrong here of course, but I'm stickin' with Jimmy Smits for Prez.

Post 47

Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 10:27pmSanction this postReply
Bridget Armozel posted this YouTube link to a classic scene:

President Bartlett shreds a "Dr. Laura" radio character.

The scene stands on its own, of course. 

Context comes from understanding that the White House has just ordered the assassination of the Kumari foreign minister (the king's brother) because he is a terrorist linked to deaths and a plot to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge.  Fine, as far as that goes, it is nonetheless hard to deal with: it contravenes international law; it leaves the U.S. open to retaliation.  The main characters are having a hard time reconciling this open murder with their lifetimes of professed beliefs.  Meanwhile...  life must go on... and the President hosts a group of radio people, among them, Dr. Jacobs.  When President Bartlett enters the room, she remains seated, which draws the President's attention. 

My wife and I bought each other and the house the first five seasons of The West Wing.  We watch them when we need a lift.

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Post 48

Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 12:29pmSanction this postReply
My friends who know my passion for Capitalism are surprised that I am so fond of West Wing.  I tell them that the particular politics are an accidental characteristic in this show.  The real theme is a celebration of intelligence, good will and optimism - all enthusiastically in pursuit of what they sincerely believe to be good and right (and having fun on the way). 

I dearly want to find entertainment that values intelligence and is intelligently produced.  West Wing makes intelligence a major value that is joyously, openly and enthusiatically celebrated. 

I think the producers and writers were very intelligent themselves to never make the show about a liberal (or conservative) theme.  They weren't trying to proseletize for a political position but rather for a kind of person they wanted to see - intelligent, energetic, optimistic, honest and caring.

I don't know exactly when a person "should" dislike a show because a particular is in opposition to importan beliefs.  But I'm very happy that I can keep watching my DVD's of West Wing in celebration of those more fundamental human traits.  And it's sad that others got hung up on the particular political party or storyline's details to the degree that they missed the real theme.

Post 49

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 7:25pmSanction this postReply
The real theme is a celebration of intelligence, good will and optimism - all enthusiastically in pursuit of what they sincerely believe to be good and right (and having fun on the way). 
Art is more important than politics (or anarchy).  We could watch the show together, Steve, and never mention medieval Iceland.  (Do you like beer?)

Post 50

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 5:09pmSanction this postReply
The man who writes and creates the show, Aaron Sorkin, has also done "Sports Night" and currently "Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip".

He is a master at creating witty, intelligent, alert, lively characters and great, snappy dialogue. His characters are also all good people, not slimeballs or retards. [Oh, I'm sorry...was that politically incorrect??]

There's a lot of humor in Sorkin's shows, but it's intelligent humor not toilet humor or let's-videotape-the-dog-farting reality TV.

I can't wait for Studio 60 (sort of a backstage look at a Saturday Night Live type show and its writers, actors, and producers) to come back off hiatus so I won't have my remaining brain cells destroyed by PussyCat Dolls have a gum chewing contest part six.

Post 51

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 6:35pmSanction this postReply

We will have to get some beer and see if Michael would enjoy Studio 60 - I think he would, I sure have.

Post 52

Monday, November 9, 2009 - 7:04amSanction this postReply
Frankly, I think the West Wing is one of the two best series ever to appear on television (I'd give MASH, a comedy, the second nod). Despite the obvious big government 'good of the people' sentiments thoroughly enmeshed in the leading characters philosophies, the stories were really more about their personal honesty and integrity, and their dedication to being responsible to (their) ideals. We certainly don't have to agree with their ideals, but we can't help respect the honor and integrity they try to bring to their jobs.

Sorry to see this one end. And it didn't matter that they had an idiot (Martin Sheen) as president - on camera, he was an honest conscientious (tv) president.

I did later enjoy that Michael Crichton ceremoniously had a Martin Sheen-like character eaten by cannibals in "State of Fear". Talk about heartburn!


Post 53

Saturday, August 18, 2012 - 8:26pmSanction this postReply
"... you are just begging to be lied to. ... And it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. "

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell was one of the writers for this series. He has sole credits for "In God We Trust" (Season 6, Episode 20). Considering the current flap over Paul Ryan, this particular work is of special interest. Moreover, as I assert elsewhere on RoR, I believe that Lawrence O'Donnell was fair and objective in his presentation of Ayn Rand's ideas, to show that they are distinct and contrary to the views of Paul Ryan. Based on all that, I am working on an item for my own blog. In the mean time, I offer this.

Bartlet calls in Russell and Santos for a photo op and tells them if one of them attacks the other, Bartlet will get involved. And Senate Democrats try a stratagem that attaches a minimum wage amendment to the bill that raises the debt ceiling. And it turns out Vinick doesn't go to church regularly and that is starting to be a story. When Vinick is asked by the Republican leadership to work out a deal with Bartlet to remove the wage amendment so they can pass the debt ceiling in time, Vinick gives Bartlet more than he asked for and asks to "hang around for awhile as if we are really slugging it out in here." To pass the time the two of them go for ice cream in the kitchen, where the conversation turns to religion when Vinick asks,
"Whatever happened to the separation of church and state?"
"It's hanging in there, but I'm afraid the constitution doesn't say anything about the separation of church and politics."
"You saying that's a good thing?"
"I'm saying that's the way it is: always has been."
"You think a voter really needs to know if I go to church?"
"I don't need to know but then I'm not going to vote for you anyway." Bartlet pauses and then adds, "It's not up to us to decide what the voters get to use in evaluating us."
"A little odd coming from someone who wasn't completely open about his health."
"That was a big mistake."
"Was it? What did we know about Lincoln's health when he was running: nothing. Washington? Jefferson? What about FDR's health? And when he died in office, did people say, 'Gee, why didn't he tell us he was sick?' No. Did they say, 'I wish I didn't vote for him'? No."
"I don't know how you plan to handle this religious thing in the campaign."
"Yeah, well, that makes two of us."
[Bartlett:] "I could find a way to let it slip that I think a candidate's religion or how often he goes to church is not relevant to choosing a president."
[Vinnick:] "You going to say that on the way into church?"
"Are you accusing me of politicking church going?"
"You've had an awful lot of photo ops on the church steps."
"I went to mass every Sunday long before I went into politics."
"I did, too."
"Why'd you stop?"
[Vinnick:] "One Christmas my wife gave me a very old edition of the King James Bible --- 17th century. It was a real find for a book collector. It was a thrill just to hold it. Then I read it."

Bartlet chuckles. "You can't take it literally."
"Yeah, that's what my priest friends kept telling me. But the more I read it, the less I could believe. I could not believe there was a God that said the penalty for working on the Sabbath was death. I couldn't believe there was a God who said the penalty for adultery was death."
"I'm more of a New Testament man, myself."
"I couldn't believe there was a God who had no penalty for slavery. The Bible has no problem with slavery at all. Lincoln could have used a little help from the Bible."
"You think Lincoln was an atheist?" Bartlet asks.
"I hope not. That would mean all his references to God were just purely political."
[Bartlett:] "He didn't make any until he started running for office."
"No, and he certainly was a doubter."
"How about you?"
"You going to try and save my soul?"
"Let's just say I struggled for a long time with that book and then finally, I just gave up the struggle."
"The only thing you can pray for in this job is the strength to get through the day. You can try coffee if you want but prayer works better for me."

Later announcing the agreement to the press, Vinick gets asked about going to church,
"I don't see how we can have a separation of church and state in this government if you have to pass a religious test to get in this government. And I want to warn everyone in the press and all the voters out there if you demand expressions of religious faith from politicians, you are just begging to be lied to. They won't all lie to you but a lot of them will. And it will be the easiest lie they ever had to tell to get your votes. So, every day until the end of this campaign, I'll answer any question anyone has on government, But if you have a question on religion, please go to church."

UnOfficial Continuity Guide
Sixth Season Episodes  #620 "In God We Trust"
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/18, 8:32pm)

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