The West Wing: The Complete Fifth Season
Who knew federal budget negotiations could be as thrilling as a Wild West [Wing] showdown? Leave it to Sorkin and his crack writing staff. Have I said enough about them in these West Wing blurbs to make you sick already? Iíll spare you this time, donít worry. But just when I get over my jealousy, I watch another season and it strikes again. Bastard. If nothing else, the show proves that any time is a good time for a Fatty Taft joke, even during an international crisis in Gaza. So now that Bartletís second term has commenced, a lot of the campaign tension that abounded in S4 is missing this time (obviously), replaced with the Presidentís struggle to establish himself in the annals of history with a legacy worth remembering. Which means thereís less of that immediacy of frontline political survival that defined earlier seasons. Itís much more of the general soul-searching that goes on between the President and his staffers over the dwindling time left to do something big, and what the future might hold for the outgoing agenda. I did like Toby (Richard Schiff) and Willís (Josh Malina) little rivalry for that reason, as Will becomes focused on the future (regarding the VP, played by Gary Cole) while Toby seems intent on going down in a blaze of glory if need be with his meal ticket Bartlet. Some standout episodes this season include a visit to the White House by the Muppets (ironic justice for this past election season, in a sense), a tense standoff between Israel and Hamas that the gun-shy Bartlet canít seem to intercede in effectively, and a great gimmick piece modeled after 60 Minutes and its ilk showing a day in the life of Press Secretary C.J. Cregg (Alison Janney) during an unforeseen domestic terror incident.