Monday, January 23, 2006

Josiah, We Hardly Knew Ye: West Wing Wrung

NBC Finally Pulls Plug On White House Potboiler While Bestowing Blessing On "Earl," "Office."
To no one's surprise, NBC made it official yesterday and said this would be the last season for "The West Wing," which had made something of a creative comeback this year, but was sucking wind in the Nielsens, thanks to a deadly 8 p.m. Sunday timeslot.
In any event, enough was enough.
Matt Santos will have to win the election without Leo McGarry (Josh Lyman for VP?). Arnie Vinick? Yeah, right. Alan Alda gets top billing only when he's on, which isn't often enough.
This is supposed to be a two-man race, but nobody apparently told the writers. If anything, the Vinick camp is more interesting, or at least has a more intriguing supporting cast, what with Patricia Richardson, Stephen Root and real-life neocon Ron Silver mixing it up.
The Santos camp has had a whole lot of whining going on. Janeane Garofalo's communications chief is the predictable know-it-all pitbull, while Santos' wife, played by Teri Polo merely rolls her eyes a lot and looks peeved. Then there's Josh, who manages to piss off just about everyone at some point, including us. He needs to shtup Donna once and for all and get a grip.
Still, we're cautiously optimistic that the finale will be memorable for the right reasons. In its seven years, "The West Wing" hit a lot more than it missed, and that should be its most enduring legacy, given that painfully few shows can make that claim.
For those of you bereft at the prospect of life without a Bartlet administration, NBC has bestowed a few goodies to salve the pain such a void leaves, with full-season pickups in 2006-07 for "My Name Is Earl" and "The Office," which only keeps getting better. Too bad the season's being cut short this April because Steve Carell's leaving to do a movie.
Of course, if the flick's anything like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" then all will be forgiven in a Dunder Mifflin minute.

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