TV "I've cried many times but the one that always, always gets me is when Donna is trying to have a national holiday named after her high school teacher. Bartlet doesn't do it, obviously, but he does call the teacher in question from the Oval. Donna is there and doesn't know what to say so Bartlett says just tell her where you are. Donna says 'Mrs. (whatever) I'm in the Oval Office with the President of the United States and it's because of you....' " -- Rob Fraser is amongst a raft of posters to The Guardian's Organ Grinder blog remembering their favourite West Wing.

I agree with all of the suggestions. I think the series is best when it's being goofy or ideological or both at the same time. The best episodes are when you've absolutely no idea what the story is because it's about some obscure bit of US politics but it works because the dialogue and characterisation and acting and direction make it so. The problem with the first half of season five is that John Wells found himself trying to work from Sorkin's legacy without really having a clue on what made the show tick. He tried to imprint an e.r. sensibility on the thing, ladling in the soap suds (Ian Jones wrote a really great critique of all this at the time for Off The Telly). Later, there seemed to be a new impetous. I noticed, amongst others, Alexa Junge's name pop up in the credits. She wrote some of the best episodes of Friends and her writing here seemed to recapture some of Sorkin's sprightliness. By the end of the season it felt more like the show I remember. Two seasons to go then (for me at least).

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