THE WEST WING signs off

Last night’s finale of THE WEST WING was an excercise in saying goodbye. For those of you who’ve been to summer camp, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. On the final day of camp, you’ve packed up all your things, said your ‘good-byes’ and pretty much spend your final hours staring at your watch, counting down until you have to leave. The sense of sadness and finality, is exactly what I felt in watching last night’s episode.

It was such a strange episode, as the writers have been building up to it for weeks. We knew it was over. The Bartlett administration had come to an end. All that was left to do was see Matthew Santos sworn in and take over as the new President. Which of course is exactly what happend. We got to watch the Santos administration move into the White House, as the beloved cast that we’ve come to know and love throughout the past seven years were kicked to the curb.

Perhaps that’s a bit harsh, but the finale was essentially an introduction to a new cast – one that unfortunately we’re never going to see in action. Don’t get me wrong, the writer’s did a good job. It was nice to see CJ, Charlie, and Will have final scenes with the President, and Martin Sheen and Stockard Channing were at the top of their game as per usual. It was just strange, essentially watching an episode that would not only mark the final episode for the Bartlett administartion, but also for the actors as well. We spent the entire hour watching Matt Santos and his first lady (the lovely Teri Polo) nervously realize how much their life is giong to change – yet we’ll never get to watch go along for the journey. For lack of a better word, it was a bitter-sweet ending.

A few of my favourite moments:

Donna seeing her new office, she’s come so far!

Josh & Sam briefing the President in the Oval office, and of course having him say, “What’s Next?”

Mallory returning to give the President a gift. While it was the most obvious gift ever, it was yet another deserving nod to Jon Spencer’s brilliant chief-of-staf Leo McGarry.

Some of the supporting players getting a nice moment: Margeret, Ed & Larry, the reporter, and Lilly Tomlin’s funny secretary.

Overall it was a nice, albeit, depressing farewell. The show will be missed. All I can hope is that one day in the not to distant future, say four seasons from now, THE WEST WING is revitalized as we see Matthew Santos fight for his re-election.

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  • That’s it! One of the best TV dramas of the last decade signs off and all you can devote to the final episode is a tiny little paragraph! No detailed comments about the show? No comments like WHY THE HELL WASN’T Richard Schiff in the opening credits and WHY THE HELL WASN’T HE ON THE SHOW. That was so disappointing. All in all a great episode. Final scenes were very appropriate and not too overly sentimental. Charlie, Donna, CJ and Josh all had great farewells. The last 10 seconds were so effective. I have always loved that the shows are titled. I also loved how “Tomorrow” was against a white background as opposed to the black at the start. Being the last word made it all that sweeter. Good to see Leo was well remembered but where was Toby!!!!! There should have been at least one scene with him.

    What a great run!!!!

  • Ummm Snow,

    you do realize that you can click ‘Read the Rest of this Entry’

    For MORE of my thoughts….. ! 🙂

  • I have to say that the finale didn’t do much for me. I have been a viewer since the very first episode, and I would much rather have seen the entire show devoted to wrapping up storylines/saying goodbye to the old characters. I didn’t like the fact that Santos and his new crew got half of the screentime. Yes, there’s supposed to be a transition and all that. This episode would have been fine if the show were going to continue. But the writers knew well in advance that this was going to be it. Come on, throw us a bone here!

  • Panasianbiz,

    I agree with you. I think it would have been great to have a two hour finale. With half devoted to Santos/ Half to Bartlett. But not enough people are still watching WW for NBC to really care about the show!

  • Yes I read the whole post, after I posted, and there is no mention of TOBY!!!!! Series finales very rarely live up to expectations. I think they did a great job. Can someone name me a great series finale. The only one that comes to my mind is the Wonder Years and Family Ties.


  • Dana

    I love the West wing and it will be soooo missed. I agree about being mad about NO TOBY!!! I couldn’t believe it, but at least they talked about him a bunch of time. LOVED the napkin! and Santo’s whats next, even though both were obvious, it made the shows end perfect. You can always nippick about things but sometimes you just have to enjoy!

  • I was disappointed in the finale, honestly. I was hoping for some group scenes with the whole gang. You can read my take on the finale at Tube Talk.

    Tube Talk Girl

  • kelleh

    I loved the finale. I thought that Lilly Tomlin’s little bit was lovely and I really enjoyed some of the great parrallels that were made to earlier episodes. I loved that there was a call back to Leo (which I thought was very important) but of course (not to preach to the choir or anything) Toby should have been somewhere (I can see how he would have been hard to incorporate as an actual appearance though) at least they mentioned him (but he really should have been in the credits). I thought they did a nice job of rapping up storylines and introducing the roles of the new staffers (but I was still a little unclear about who was doing what). And where was Lou? It would have been nice just to have her in that final Santos scene if only to add some variety to the visual (all men, I found myself missing CJ) wasnt she signed on to be communications director? Anywho… I’ll put an end to this before it becomes longer than the thing Im replying to (or has that already happened?) But I must say, before I sign off, that there have been plenty of great series finales over the years (someone clearly didnt watch MASH, Alan Alda is God).