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Posts Tagged ‘West Wing’

Daylight Savings Time ends overnight. Last year I pondered over which shows I’d watch if I had more time in my day. This year, I find myself thinking about the ever important flashback episode.

It’s a pretty common device. Almost every show, especially sitcoms, has had a flashback episode or two at one point or another. As we turn back the clocks tonight, I thought I’d make a list of some of my favorites, in no particular order.

  • The Simpsons, “Lisa’s First Word.” – To put it plainly, this episode is adorable while maintaining the irreverance and sharp quips that make this show what it is. This episode goes all the way back to the show’s 4th season and opens with the entire family trying to get Maggie to talk. The experience reminds Homer and Marge of Lisa’s first word, a touching tale of a jealous toddler Bart, and a pre-balding Homer. There are smiles, and laughs and at the heart of it, a really great family story. What keeps The Simpsons so timely and popular is that they never seem to lose sight of that.
  • Gilmore Girls, “Dear Emily & Richard” – This episode from the Gilmore Girls third season finally shared the untold story of Lorelai’s pregnancy and how the initial rift between mother and daughter began. Some flashback episodes can seem kind of out of place in the story arc but series creator and writer Amy Sherman-Palladino did a fantastic job marrying the past, present and future into a really complex and beautiful episode. In my opinion, it’s one of the best in the series.
  • The L Word, “Looking Back” – While on a weekend road trip to Palm Springs, the ladies decide to share their first love/coming out/first love lost stories. On a show that can be deathly serious, this episode was surprisingly light and one of the funnier ones of the first season. It also started a wonderful tradition of L Word travel episodes which are now notoriously good spirited and offer a nice break from the serious lady drama. (You can check out Alice’s coming out story here. And yes, they are singing Indigo Girls in the car. I don’t know why you expected anything less.)

There are so many more episodes I want to highlight but this post would go on forever. The short list includes that one episode of Prison Break where they show how everyone landed in the big house; my very favorite episode of Greek, ” Freshman Daze” where we see just what drove Cappie & Evan apart; and the episode of West Wing where when we learn how the gang got involved with the Bartlett campaign. Pure magic!

Anyone else have a favorite flashback episode? Let ‘er rip in the comments.

Image: http://home.flash.net/

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The New York Times ran an interesting article yesterday about the parallels between seasons 6 and 7 of the popular NBC drama and our current election.

Some of the parallels are  Sen. Obama is eerily similar to Matt Santos (played by Jimmy Smits), the 40-something idealist up and coming Latino Congressman, with two young children who refuses to be labeled as the “brown candidate.” And like John McCain, the right-wing base on The West Wing isn’t so sure Republican challenger Arnold Vinick (played by Alan Alda)  is conservative enough to take home the election.

Some of the similarities aren’t coincidental. Barack Obama was just becoming a bright spot on the political map when season 6 began and Wing writer Eli Attie admits to loosely crafting Santos after him. However, no one would have guessed the Phillies would be playing in the World Series in a fictional election year, and a real one.

Wacky stuff huh? You can read the whole piece here.

And for those of you who didn’t watch the West Wing, that young, idealist, Congressman wins.

Image: http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com

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  • It ended on time, even a few minutes early. Though it got a little annoying towards the end with every presenter reminding people the show was running late and that their jokes were cut. Worse? The jokes that stayed weren’t that good. Watching Ricky Gervais blow a few minutes on a good bit was well worth it though.
  • Just what were the hosts there for? They didn’t even open the show (thanks Oprah!) and they only appeared once or twice the rest of the night. If this show is going to have hosts then they need to do something. It should be their job to move the show long. Otherwise, skip the whole job altogether.
  • Other than an excellent Cartman impression the only thing Josh Groban did tonight was prove his voice only works with one style of music.
  • My picks were pretty off for the better part of the night. Bad for me but great for some folks who surprised the oddsmakers and took home the awards. I definitely tip my hat to Bryan Cranston who foiled Emmy pools nationwide for his best actor in a drama series win over “sure thing” Jon Hamm. Here’s the thing…I called Bryan Cranston’s win not once but twice right here on this blog. I really should’ve double checked this thing before submitting my list.
  • I really enjoyed the way they incorporated mock sets from old television shows. What a fitting tribute to some great programs. (And did I mention it was great to see Martin Sheen again? I just watched the finale of West Wing on Bravo last week and I realized just how much I miss it.)
  • How much do I love that Tina Fey took home the biggies tonight? Almost too much. She’s truly remarkable. I still don’t quite get why folks aren’t watching 30 Rock.
  • Other than Tina Fey, the biggest winner of the night? Don Rickles. Funniest guy on stage. We need to welcome Old Hollywood back for these things every year.
  • The Laugh-In folks can stay at home though. Laugh-In is usually much funnier, too bad that’s the impression most young people will be left with after tonight. Check some of it out at your local media library folks. It was great 40 years ago.
  • And briefly: Best Dressed: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Worst Dressed: January Jones…Yikes!
  • Want a list of all the winners? Check ’em out here.

I’m already chomping at the bit for next year. I suppose the Golden Globes will have to tide me over.

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Smart TV? Says Who?


Because they weren’t too busy solving the worlds problems, the geniuses (geni?) over at Mensa released their list of the 10 Smartest Shows of all Time.

Chairman of Mensa International Jim Werdell told the NY Post, “They tended to be shows that dealt with issues in the world and, from my perspective, that’s considered smart.”

That’s all fine and good until you check out the list.

1. “M*A*S*H”
2. “Cosmos”
3. “CSI”
4. “House”
5. “The West Wing”
6. “Boston Legal”
7. “All in the Family”
8. “Frasier”
9. “Mad About You”
10. “Jeopardy!”

I don’t know how Mad About You cracked the top 50, let alone the top 10. That’s coming from a fan of the show no less. West Wing and M*A*S*H are superb choices that make the list at least a little bit legit.

Let’s dish about who they left off.

  • Sports Night
  • Lost
  • The Office (BBC)
  • Arrested Development
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • The Mole

There are so many others but the post would never end. If anyone thinks of anymore, please leave a comment. Not to knock Mensa as I’m sure they quantified every show ever and made that list, but while they were compiling and computing they forgot to watch some of the good stuff.

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