Review of 25
Written by Toniann
The veracity of Sorkin's interpretation of the 25th Amendment and
usage thereof on last night's show, constitutional theory and law,
and other various and sundries will surely be keeping those of us so
inclined busy over the summer. :) For anyone interested, I refer you
first to the Constitution itself, which you can find just about
anywhere online -- I like
Then, to the many informative posts on both alt.tv.the-west-wing and,
coincidentally, any web site/discussion board devoted to the
show "24". :)
I realize a lot of viewers aren't entirely familiar with John
Goodman's work, other than from "Roseanne" or maybe "King Ralph", but
he is an incredibly talented actor with a wide range, and I think
we're all going to be surprised with how much he's going to bring to
this role. Anyone catch him in the TV version of "Streetcar Named
Desire" back in the 90s? "The Babe"? "Barton Fink"? "Fallen" with
Denzel Washington? I recommend all of them. Heck, even as the dad
in "Coyote Ugly" he was fun to watch, and that movie was... well, bad.
As for the storyline itself, I'm of two minds about the whole
thing. I guess I'm with Toby when he said it was a good thing to get
Bartlet out of the Oval Office -- deep down, I think it's unrealistic
to ask any parent, let alone a father as devoted as Bartlet, to tie
his own shoes, let alone run a country, when his daughter is in
danger. So he did the right thing -- but as a viewer, I don't know
how I feel about watching this plotline unfold next season. All the
foreshadowing seems to be pointing to the idea that Acting President
Walken may be a little hard for Our Guys to get along with, and that
there may be some sort of power struggle and so on. If the writers
(whoever they're going to be) go a different route than that, I'll be
more interested, I think, and that's what I'm hoping for.
Question: the first thing Leo did, which he told Charlie to take
care of, was something that involved diverting all nonessential
executive orders/issues/whatever from the Office of the President. I
didn't quite get this at the time, but what I'm thinking now is that
he did that so that Acting President Walken couldn't muck about too
much with the way The West Wing is run during his tenure?
You have to wonder, really, how long Aaron Sorkin had this whole
kidnapping idea in his head. We all know Mrs. Landingham bit the dust
because Kathryn Joosten went out for a cigarette break with Sorkin,
but was this plotline created as spontaneously? When Jed Bartlet told
his daughter Zoey the scary story that made her cry, did TPTB already
know that it would one day come true? Or was it after the fact that
Sorkin looked back and said, "Hey, you know... I could actually DO
that!" On the other hand, the really big question is: is Zoey coming
back at all? On a lot of shows, I'd say, of course she is. On TWW?
You Know You're A Librarian/Archivist When: Bartlet drops the
photos of his daughter on the floor, and the liquid-filled glass
follows, and all you can think is -- "Quick! Color photographs are
near-impossible to preserve as it is!"
Charlie's reaction to the news of Zoey's abduction was, I thought,
spot-on -- the need to run off and do something, the barely
restrained panic and anger. Poor guy.
I tried to catch what it was that Zoey was actually given -- GHB, I
think he said, a type of date rape drug. So, if I'm understand this
correctly, what it seems like happened was that Jean-Paul's dealer
sold him this GHB disguised as Ecstasy? And that makes the dealer a
bad guy (well, badder than is already a given) but there's no point
in counting on him as a link because, let's face it, whoever's
running this show has gotten rid of him already.
For as much hype as Taye Diggs' guest spot got, I sort of thought
that his character would play more of a role in the post-abduction
scenes -- except, there really weren't a lot of post-abduction
scenes. Really, most of the episode focused on Bartlet's invocation
of the 25th, rather than the search for Zoey.
The trend of this episode seemed to be pointing towards a Qumari
connection and military consequences -- and the ransom note proved
that as accurate. But I confess I found myself more inclined to agree
with Nancy McNally when she was talking about how this wasn't a high-
tech job. It seems like a pretty unlikely plot to me. Sure, you can
get the dealer to sell Jean-Paul this drug, but how are you going to
count on Zoey taking it? She could have refused, he could have had
another girl on the side and given it to her, who could know that
Jean-Paul was likely to dose Zoey? And that evening? And even given
that all of it happened in that way, how was anyone to know Zoey
would be going into the bathroom? She could have simply stayed in the
chair she was in and passed out in the middle of the club, and I
hardly think they could have gotten to her from there. Seems full of
holes, and sadly none of those happened and it did work, but it was a
longshot. Is there any chance, you think, that Nancy is still right?
That someone is trying to make this look like more of an
international plot than it is? Just a thought.
There were a couple of people that looked familiar in this episode -
- the Cabinet member who spoke up about his concerns, isn't that the
fellow who played the Mayor on Buffy? And the African-American nurse
at the hospital, I know I've seen her before...
If Matthew Perry had been in this episode, I know he wouldn't have
been able to restrain his Inner Chandler at "Huck", because *I*
couldn't. Huck? As Toby said, apparently life doesn't have enough
obstacles for us all to overcome.
Having said that, the scene with Toby and the twins was, imho, the
best of the episode -- yes, I know, I'm a sentimental fool, fine. But
it worked for me. His warnings to them ("I don't want to alarm you,
but I'm Dad"), the way Huck held his finger but Molly was just fine
on her own, Molly's name, Toby's acknowledgment that Leo was right
(which we all knew was coming) and so on, I thought it was perfect
because -- Toby's still Toby. What he worried about is something I
think a lot of parents actually worry about, and it's okay. The West
Wing is a show that, I think, is better off focusing on issues,
situations, and -- well, the West Wing, rather than the personal
foibles of our favorite characters. That doesn't mean that those
characters shouldn't have personal foibles occasionally, or else they
wouldn't be very realistic or well-rounded -- it's a matter of
balance and keeping the focus where it belongs, not ruling out
everything non-political. My point is, I think Toby is the best
character for them to delve a little more into the personal life of,
simply because he's such a crusty curmudgeon. It's the seeming
contradiction that does it for me. :)
And that's all she wrote -- have a nice summer, everyone.
"Babies come with hats."