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Worst Episode


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#151

OldEllen

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Posted Jun 15, 2006 @ 4:41 PM

Those are some astute comments, surfboarder. I've never hated I&I, recognizing it as an out-of-any-sequnce episode, and remembering how I was feeling and what I was thinking in those dark days after 9/11. It may have been preachy, but I believe it was true to what so many of us were thinking and feeling.

#152

Maxie3987

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Posted Jun 16, 2006 @ 4:55 AM

I'm not a big fan of I&I either, but (and I can't believe I'm sticking up for this episode!) as far as treatment of 9/11 goes, it did it much more delicately than say, Third Watch did. I had the misfortune to see a re-run of what must have been the season opener just after 9/11. Talk about clunky and poorly written? They couldn't have had any peanut butter or apples, those writers. :-)

I hate, hate, hate, 90 miles away. It was awful, I will never watch it again, and looking for a way to remove it from my DVD permanently.

I liked TLG, although I much prefer episodes set in the White House. I thought Allison Janney was great as usual in it, but I don't know that I'll watch it again as the subject matter is too sad for me.

#153

countjellybean

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Posted Jun 16, 2006 @ 8:18 AM

Edited to add: Fixed a typo because there are too many puns possible for "Jedeo"-Christianity : )

Shoot. I'm too late.

I'm still gonna say it: A Jedeo-Christian is my kind of Christian.

#154

RabbleRooster

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Posted Jun 27, 2006 @ 3:59 PM

Pre-change:
Issac and Ishmael
The Long Goodbye

Post-change:
Access
The Debate

1.) 90 Miles Away
2.) Birnam Wood
3.) The Dogs of War
4.) 100,000 Airplanes
5.) Han
6.) Memorial Day

Well, it looks like we have a top 10 list of the all-time worst episodes of The West Wing.


Late to the party (as usual), but I thought I'd drop a couple pennies down.

Isaac and Ishmael - I applaud the effort, even if the results weren't fantastic. Pretty much everyone's out of character (except Toby). In a normal episode, that would bother me, but we were warned. Are the factual inaccuracies enough to derail the overall message? I don't think so.

The Long Goodbye - Not at all a bad episode. I don't love it, but not for the reasons others have listed. The script seemed to be written with a thesaurus in hand. Sorkinese is not about big words - this is the guy who talks about "the thing." Also, Matthew Modine's character whipped out the Symbolism Bat right at the end and started whacking me in the face. All the same, Allison Janney and Donald Moffat sold it. Plus, there's that copper pot with the curvy ass.

Access, The Debate - These were both gimmicks, for sure, but they could have been good in theory. Access is the biggest criminal, because it could have been good if it had some substance. The Debate is hard to watch. It feels to me like Alan Alda has to sit back and let Jimmy Smits win. I think it would have been more fun to prep them and let them duke it out without a script, but that would have been pretty unpredictable. Neither are real episodes, though, so I'm going to ignore them.

90 Miles Away - I have nothing more to say on the subject.

The Birnam Wood, The Dogs of War - These are why John Wells gets a bad rap. With all the setup of the Middle East talks and the kidnapping, he doesn't know how to end it dramatically, so he just ends it. Sorkin was able to do this kind of thing on the fly (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen comes to mind). The Dogs of War is forgivable, because Wells had to pick up from Sorkin, but The Birnam Wood is not, because Wells & Co. should have planned ahead better.

100,000 Airplanes - One of Sorkin's weaker episodes. The Lisa character didn't work, but I did enjoy the rest of it.

Han - I don't understand the hate for this episode; I quite liked it. In fact, it's my favorite episode of the 5th season that wasn't written by Eli Attie or Deborah Cahn. The show was always at its best when tough decisions had to be made. Yes, there are a few scenes that don't work (the climax being one of them, alas), but the majority was great - particularly the arguments about allowing the defection and the bittersweet ending.

Memorial Day - I also liked this one. The lighthearted parts (Josh: "Should I be carrying a piece?", pitching with the vest) worked quite well, and I liked the headfake with Donna's recovery.

This brings me to my own choices for worst episodes:

Sorkin-penned: Debate Camp
I'd sign up for Team Toby. However, none of the flashback stories worked for me, nor did the debate preparation. It's not unwatchably bad or anything of the sort, but nothing clicked. I really think the (first) election story ran out of steam at the end of the 3rd season, and we just had to "wait for the debates." This was killing time, story wise, and not in an interesting way that seemed to affect the characters or our views of them.

Not-Sorkin-penned: Disaster Relief
I probably would have picked 90 Miles Away or Access, but in the interest of shaking things up, I picked one that didn't make the top (bottom) 10. Why does this qualify as bad? 6 words: "You want a piece of me?" Okay, CJ's "my president" schtick was also overly melodramatic.

Edited because I stopped in the middle of a

Edited by RabbleRooster, Jul 3, 2006 @ 10:22 AM.


#155

Observer

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Posted Jun 27, 2006 @ 5:00 PM

Han - I don't understand the hate for this episode; I quite liked it. In fact, it's my favorite episode of the 5th season that wasn't written by Eli Attie or Deborah Cahn. The show was always at its best when tough decisions had to be made. Yes, there are a few scenes that don't work (the climax being one of them, alas), but the majority was great - particularly the arguments about allowing the defection and the bittersweet ending.




I liked Han, for a couple of reasons - the first being Jed's snarky remark when the North Korean pianist made the public comment that he plays for the glory of the country's leader "I wish Yo-Yo Ma said things like that when he plays overseas". The second being the whole "wrong speech on the prompter" bit intoducing Bingo Bob. That was cute. I would have, however, liked to have seen Jed and/or Leo tear Toby and Will a new one over that.

Edited by Observer, Jun 27, 2006 @ 5:00 PM.


#156

Mr.Frog

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Posted Jul 2, 2006 @ 1:48 PM

RabbleRooster:

The script seemed to be written with a thesaurus in hand. Sorkinese is not about big words




That was a hunka burnin' word.

So many of the other writers, even the better ones (Deborah Cahn being the notable exception) never understood this. As a result their language was often cluttered and arrhythmic. Another reason why the show just didn't have the magic for me long before it ended.