Now This Log

Tuesday, 9 October 2001 : "West Wing"

The West Wing episode "Isaac and Ishmael" struck me as mediocre but not as horrible as others have said; reading the criticisms, though, I can't say I really disagree with them. Here are various reactions:

'West Wing': Terrorism 101 by James Poniewozik [TIME]
In the end, you have to wonder whether it ever occurred to Sorkin that it might be the slightest bit insulting to essentially represent the home audience, within the story, as schoolchildren, who need to be gratefully taught his lessons.

But most important is that it was attempted at all. Whatever the deficiencies of the script, the very idea of interrupting a serial drama and using its characters in a one-time-only "play" for this cause or even a lesser one is the kind of fresh, quick-response thinking most of TV could use. At the least, it should serve as an example to other creative artists, who've thrown up the white flag, refusing to deal creatively at all with a time that demands their talents, pleading the irrelevance of art at a time like this which is an insult to their art and their audience.
Terrorism is unhealthy for children and other living things: "The West Wing" preaches the obvious in its "bold" special episode. [Salon]
Let's face it: This is a liberal show, and it showed the limits of liberalism. I'm not part of the blame-America-first crowd, but a show with that much preaching could have had one sentence about the U.S. role in arming the mujahedin in Afghanistan, and then abandoning the country to its terror once the Soviet Union was defeated. ... [I]t also lacked the steely certainty about how to conquer this enemy that a more conservative-minded show might have portrayed.
I'm expecting the regular-season shows to be better.

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