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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

It's Over

I tried. I really tried. I felt I was obliged to. We have a long history, and I'd been head over heels in love at one point. But last night I finally understood it was over. I didn't feel the same way any more. The situation hadn't been good for years. Now it was really, really bad. I had to make a clean break. I had to stop watching West Wing.

Seriously, did anyone see last night's episode? In fact, the obvious answer to that is "no", since it's now buried on E4 rather than Channel 4. I used to feel bad for those non-digital, West-Wing hooked households who had to endure no access to West Wing. Now I feel that they have been spared. This programme is now going downhill faster than Lance Armstrong descending the mountains of the Tour de France.

Of course, the main problem is that the show is now Sorkin-less. To be honest, I'd thought his work in Series 3 and 4 were less than sterling (in fact, I consider the show to have died after the Season 2 finale) but, honestly, last night's effort made his worst work look positively Shakespearian.

(Actually, I hate Shakespeare, but that's the best line I can come up with.)

The new writers seem to have decided that the best approach is to write to write as much as they can in a Sorkin-like style. Trouble is, they can't write much Sorkin-style. So you get this weird change between wordy yet energetic scenes, and non-wordy and monotonous scenes. It's harder than ever to hear what the hell the actors are saying - are they muttering their dreadful lines because they're so damn embarrassed? - and every character now talks as though they have experienced a major personality change within the last six months.

So that's it. I'm done. No-one can say I didn't try. But sometimes it's less painful to leave than it is to stay.

(For the record, I'll state here my belief that it will win at least one of the main Emmys. Possibly Martin Sheen will win best actor. Don't get me wrong. I love Sheen, and he's been robbed of the prize before, but this is clearly the year he's least deserving of a nomination. So he's bound to win it. If it wasn't for the precense of The Sopranos in the best drama category - which always wins that category when it's in it - I would bet on West Wing to take that too.)


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