Monday, November 27, 2006

"West Wing" Redux?

As you all know (all five of you), I eagerly awaited the premiere of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." What I didn't mention on this blog was that the night that the pilot aired, I was suddenly stricken with an unexpected sense of dread. Why? Because I realized that as soon as I saw Bradley Whitford playing Danny instead of Josh Lyman, it would require that I come to terms with the fact that "The West Wing" was really, truly dead.

And at first, this was indeed the case. All I could see in Danny was the absence of Josh. It didn't help that in the inevitable comparisons to my favorite show ever, "Studio 60" overall obviously came out on the losing end. But over time, I've begun to accept Bradley Whitford's new incarnation. It doesn't hurt that he isn't making a deliberate effort to distance himself from his "West Wing" persona. (Obvious to any viewer, plus Whitford said as much in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.)

The real question in my mind is this: Is Aaron Sorkin purposefully trying to evoke the memory of shows past? Maybe he just thinks of the repeats as his own characteristic stylistic choices, which I personally think is valid. It seems unlikely that he could possibly be unaware of the fact that he's recycling his own material. I mean, come on — verbal volleys during walks through strangely convoluted hallways, offices with glass where there should be solid walls, and the clincher in tonight's episode: Matt sending Danny an important note through an assistant, prompting Danny to communicate silently with Matt from a distance via a hand gesture. "West Wing" Season 1 finale, anyone?

Not that I'm complaining. In fact, I love it! Sure, I've been a big fan of Sarah Paulson and Amanda Peet's since their days on the now defunct WB's long defunct series "Jack and Jill." And yes, just like the Chinese investor's daughter from the "Nevada Day" episodes, I have a big crush on Tom/Nate Corddry. But really, it's only the scenes with Matt and Danny bantering that truly quicken my pulse. Oh, Lemon Lyman, how I miss you. Chandler Bing — not so much.


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