The West Wing Season Two: What's Next?

But the whole story line was incongruous since Worker's Comp would be the payer, not his HMO. His private insurance wouldn't be involved.  I was a WC case manager.

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3 hours ago, Kohola3 said:

But the whole story line was incongruous since Worker's Comp would be the payer, not his HMO. His private insurance wouldn't be involved.  I was a WC case manager.

Thank you!  That's exactly what I thought.  Did Sorkin think it wouldn't be noticed?  That would be a pretty big hand wave.

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Would worker's comp apply to an employ of the federal government?  Or a salaried employee (it never seemed to apply to me)?  Plus innocent bystander in an assassination attempt (or as it turned out, an attempted lynching) doesn't strike me as the sort of thing covered....

I am forever cynical about insurance payouts.

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FECA covers federal employees.  Sounds to me like Josh would be covered.  But I guess Sorkin needed to give Sam a chance to go ballistic about insurance companies (not unlike many of us).

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Sam wanted Josh to sue the KKK and several other hate groups.  Josh decided he did not want to do that but would be happy to sue his insurance company.  

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The insurance plotline felt flat to me. I honestly felt it was an ill-conceived attempt to make a political statement.

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I just listened to the West Wing Weekly podcast episode on In This White House, guest starring Emily Procter, and she was so lovely. Self-deprecating, funny, full of interesting little facts. My favourite being that John Spencer invited her to his house and set up a 'walk and talk' obstacle course for her by his pool, so she could practice for her scenes on the show.

And then I rewatched the episode itself, and it made me wish (for about the millionth time) that Sorkin had made Ainsley a regular. She provides a different energy, brings a counter-punch to a lot of issues that you have to at least consider, before you decide you disagree with her. I really, really liked her relationship with Leo, and felt that the flirtation/friendship with Sam should have been developed more, as another interesting aspect of the show. The staunchly liberal California guy and the lifelong conservative from North Carolina.

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After many thoughts that went through my head "You get Hoynes" after the election result was one of them. Say what you will about Aaron Sorkin, "Two Cathedrals" was amazing. 

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I finally finished Season 2 tonight! I thought about posting here throughout the season, but I was afraid I'd get spoiled and decided to wait until I was done. I'm trying to watch as fast as I can, so I can read everything here, but it's still taking me time!

This really was just a great season. And I'm surprised by how much I LOVE Ainsley. She does make want to turn the phrase "Blonde Republican Sex Kitten" to "Blonde Democratic Sex KItten", which would be more appropriate for myself, lol.

I already kind of know where Josh & Donna are headed (like Ross & Rachel, I feel like it was hard at one point to NOT know who they were, even if you didn't watch the show), but more often than not they seem to have a brother and sister relationship to me. And I don't want to see a brother and sister kiss. Gross.

Count me in with others who feels CJ gets treated too unfairly a lot of the time by the guys. I suppose you could look at it as a way women still face casual sexism from men, even men who otherwise are pretty liberated and open-minded, just because of how ingrained misogyny can be, but I feel like I might be giving Aaron Sorkin a bit too much credit on that front. I did NOT like how the guys left the turkeys in her office over night without her knowledge, allowing them to run free and crap all over her desk/other things. Not cool.

And I LOVE the use of Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" at the end of the season finale (and poor Mrs. L.!). And that it ended on THAT unanswered question! Of course, I'll be to start the next episode on Netflix in a little while if I want to, lol.

Lawrence O'Donnell as Jed's dad! Cool. (I know he worked behind the scenes on the show, too.)

See you the end of season 3! 

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2 hours ago, UYI said:

Count me in with others who feels CJ gets treated too unfairly a lot of the time by the guys. I suppose you could look at it as a way women still face casual sexism from men, even men who otherwise are pretty liberated and open-minded, just because of how ingrained misogyny can be, but I feel like I might be giving Aaron Sorkin a bit too much credit on that front.

Yeah, I think it's written that way because that's how Sorkin is, not because he's consciously making a statement that women have always been and continue to be subjected to that particular variety of crap from their enlightened brethren.  Sorkin is the kind of sexist who thinks he isn't sexist (and, ugh, he's so frustrating -- every once in a while he'll admit something he does wrong, but then he'll just go on and do the same damn thing on his next show), and that comes through not just with how he writes women, but how he writes the men around them, too.

Season two is my favorite, hands down, so I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. 

Edited by Bastet.
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Many fine episodes from S2, with all the usual suspects way out in front (Two Cathedrals, ITSOTG, 17 People)

But for me the stand-out episode is "Noel", if only because we get to see the gradual unravelling of Josh's thin veneer of bravado and aggressive belligerence at the hands of Dr Stanley Keyworth!

Right from the opening scenes between the two men, Josh was immediately on the offensive with some quite spiteful salvos:-

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J0SH - Dr. Keyworth, I’m the Deputy White House Chief of Staff. I oversee 1100 White House employees. I answer directly to Leo McGarry and the President of the United States.

JOSH - Do you think you’re talking to the paperboy? In your wildest dreams did you imagine that I’d walk in this room without knowing exactly who you are and what you do?

JOSH - I read briefing books everyday on subjects considerably more complicated than ATVA.

 

Of course Stanley has probably seen it all before with other patients suffering from PTSD but are in complete denial over it. So it was kind of cool letting Josh have his childish vent before coming back with the "How did you cut your hand, Josh?" non-reply; followed by a great putdown of his own

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STANLEY - You’re not talking to the paperboy, either, Josh!

I loved every moment from that episode, purely because it focuses on Josh and how he handles his devastating personal trauma both personally and especially to his work colleagues - not least to the President, confessing that 

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JOSH You don't raise your voice to the President...... You certainly don't do it in the Oval Office.

But Josh goes off the rails at the president in the Oval Office anyway!

 

But the the 3rd Act, Josh really is on the defensive, more so now that the good Doctor diagnosed his condition within 5 minutes of meeting him, and that the sound of horns or bells are the triggers that might send Josh down a hole..... but then we have Leo and his truly wonderful "Guy walking down the street...." tale, followed by 

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LEO - As long as I got a job, you got a job, you understand? 

 

A great episode with some terrific scenes and wise words of wisdom!

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The two Christmas episodes (Noel and In Excelsis Deo) were my favorites of all time in any series.  I could probably recite all of the lines by now!

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1 hour ago, Kohola3 said:

The two Christmas episodes (Noel and In Excelsis Deo) were my favorites of all time in any series.  I could probably recite all of the lines by now!

I've said before how In Excelsis Deo is my favorite episode of the entire series, but all of the Christmas episodes - Noel, Bartlet for America - are among my favorites as well.  Looking back at TWW, Sports Night, even Studio 60, I've always said that for a little Jewish boy, Sorkin could write the hell out of a Christmas episode.

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17 hours ago, Moose135 said:

I've said before how In Excelsis Deo is my favorite episode of the entire series

It certainly ranks as one of my favourites too: very touching, especially when he confronts Bartlet about social care for former war veterans:-

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BARTLET - What’s going on?

TOBY - A homeless man died last night, a Korean War Veteran, who was wearing a coat I had gave to the Goodwill. It had my card in it.

BARTLET - Toby, you’re not responsible...

TOBY-  An hour and twenty minutes for the ambulance to get there. A Lance Corporal, United States Marine Corps, Second of the Seventh. The guy got better treatment at Panmunjong.

BARTLET - Toby, if we start pulling strings like this, you don’t think every homeless veteran would come out of the woodworks?

TOBY -  I can only hope, sir.

This is one reason I love Toby - brittle, bullying and belligerent at times; but in reality he is probably the most altruistic/philanthropic staffer in the White House!  I'm pretty sure Josh wouldn't give the issue a second thought; and probably not Sam either (although it would probably play on his mind). Only Toby (and perhaps CJ) would actually stand up to Bartlet and question what the government intends to do about the issue - rightly or wrongly.

But politics aside, the final Act of Excelsis Deo, was incredibly moving, underlined by "The Little Drummer Boy" song running throughout the military funeral. That and having Mrs Landingham accompany Toby really topped it off, and had me in floods of tears!

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4 hours ago, Only Zola said:

But politics aside, the final Act of Excelsis Deo, was incredibly moving, underlined by "The Little Drummer Boy" song running throughout the military funeral. That and having Mrs Landingham accompany Toby really topped it off, and had me in floods of tears!

That episode was brilliant, start to finish.  The juxtaposition of the tree lighting and the funeral.  Toby flinching at the gun salute.  The poor soldier's brother looking so bewildered.  The homeless man insisting Toby keep some money for the bus.  I went through a box of tissues and still do when I can steel myself to watch it again.

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Going back earlier, I'm actually inclined to think Aaron Sorkin *was* writing the guys on the show to be low-grade sexist and write CJ facing off against that crap. The show hangs a clear lampshade that the guys were wrong to lie to CJ about the India-Pakistan conflict on the assumption that she couldn't lie to the press, that they were wrong to think that she was so dizzy over her relationship with Danny that she'd leak stories to him, that they undervalued the efficacy of her communications strategy and poll-predictions in Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. There were scenes where the guys would clearly mansplain and they'd come off silly for doing that either because CJ got the better snark against them (Sam in Mr. Willis of Ohio) or the scene in Mandatory Minimums, I think, where Jed Bartlet notes Toby pompously explaining a strategy that CJ had already outlined to him before Toby entered the room. When Ainsley Hayes was hired, Toby has the privilege of remembering the most flattering, idealized version of history where the guys were never condescending to CJ because she was attractive but CJ remembers it differently (and accurately). In Shibboleth, I think the guys *were* painted as rude to take so long to invite CJ to a clear Senior Staff Colleague Thanksgiving and then, offer an invitation with, "Can you cook...food?" 

I will grant that Sorkin has a more limited definition of sexism than some. Based on the above examples, he definitely has a problem with clearly treating women professionally worse or blatantly excluding them in some "No Gurlz Allowed!" treehouse mentality. However, he does like workplace flirting A LOT while some would call it sexual harassment. I feel like he thinks older guys like Jed and Leo have earned a particular right to condescend to women because they get extra Evolved Cookies because they're living in a far more integrated workplace than the one they were promised in their 20s and 30s as young men. I'm not sure how to read the turkey storyline. I also thought it was an asshole move, especially since she wasn't invited to their Thanksgiving at the time so it didn't feel like a practical joke among friends so much as a "No Gurlz Allowed!" treehouse mentality. It was a nice sort of Sister Solidarity dynamic that Donna sort of helped CJ deal with it instead of just making the mess and walking away like the guys did. However, I think CJ's arc is quite deliberately written and not an accident. 

Edited by Melancholy.
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I think there are two overlapping things going on: the specific feeling, especially in season one, C.J. has of being separate from the guys, and the general patronizing sexism that rears its ugly head time and again.  We know the first was deliberate, as Sorkin saw that's how Allison felt, and wrote it in for C.J.  But the patronizing sexism - and the "Who, me, sexist?  I think women are great" denial - and the recognizing overt acts of sexism but keeping his male privilege blinders on to systemic, daily, casual sexism, is just so very much who Sorkin is, so I think he writes the guys the way he is, which means sometimes they get it, and much of the time they don't.  I think we can tell, based on how C.J., Andi, Abbey, etc. react, when Sorkin knows he's written one of the guys as being a sexist jackass in that moment and when he thinks he's written them as perfectly okay. 

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