Friday, December 19, 2008

Kelly Amends Rachael's Christmas List

Last week Rachael presumed to list a couple crush-worthy TV characters who hadn't made my list because I was yet to discover their shows. So this week, I've decided that I need to fix her list of favourite Christmas episodes. See there's one REALLY big hole in Rachael's viewing history, The West Wing

One of, if not THE, best shows of all time, The West Wing celebrated the holidays with some of their best episodes ever. And those 2 episodes are:

"In Excelsis Deo"
Toby's quest to give a proper burial to a homeless veteran gives this episode some serious emotional punch (not to mention one of the most beautifully edited sequences of the series, pairing Little Drummer Boy with the sounds of the military tribute); CJ's vendetta in favour of hate crime legislation is an important turning point in her relationship with Danny; and Bartlett's trip to the rare book shop is lovely. But the real Tivo moment of the episode is Josh's Christmas present to Donna. The moment perfectly captures their dynamic; she's been bugging him all episode, asking for various gifts and though he doesn't get her what she wants he gives her something even better. This is one of the first truly crucial moments in their incomparable relationship. 


One of the most powerful episodes of the series and definitely one of my favourites, Noel features the introduction of the dynamic Dr. Stanley Keyworth, lots of fun Scroog-y Toby, a lovely CJ storyline, a bit of Presidential fun, Yo-Yo Ma playing one of the most beautiful classical cello pieces ever written (Bach's Suite #1 in G), Josh having a character-defining breakdown, and Leo offering a hand with one of my favourite speeches ever on The West Wing; “This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out."


Dorv said...

"Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out"

This is how friendship should be defined.

Irony is that I never "remember" Noel fondly... Is it that I hate watching my favorite character (you know, of all time) struggling so completely (The arc with the pilot is so..... I don't want to say sad, so the best emotion I can go with is depression)... But then I watch the episode and remember just how good it is, and how perfect the ending is... Not just Leo's story (Which, I cannot stress enough, might be the best words I've ever heard spoken out loud), but then Josh and Donna walking out of the West Wing to be confronted with Carol of the Bells being played outside the gate, seemingly representing the incredible barriers Josh will have to over come.

TWW generally did Christmas well, but I would also put forth Bartlet for America, and the exploration of a different kind of friendship, that of Leo and Bartlet.

Kelly said...

I think "if you were in an accident I wouldn't stop for red lights" is how friendship should be defined.

I like the Leo/Bartlet friendship a lot and I like the truths behind addiction that are explored in "Bartlet for America" but consider it less of a Christmas episode than the others. I think one of the coolest things about that episode, too, is Cliff Caley (one of the many arguments against the critics who say that TWW demonizes Republicans), he's such a standup guy, morality extending beyond partisenship and political gain.

Dorv said...

I love that quote too ;) TWW is full of them (Spend 10 mintues with me and you'll probably hear me quote at least 5 of them).

I always wanted to like Calley as a character, and he was a stand up guy. But not good enough for Donna, which was why I never came all the way around on him.

Kelly said...

understandable, he wasnt good enough for donna (none of them were except the obvious), but I think he's an excellent example of the many wonderful republican characters on the show

Dorv said...

Ainsley was my favorite, hands down ;)

Kelly said...

Ainsley Hayes is probably my favourite recurring guest star, and definitely the best Republican character, though I think Cliff and Vinnick also make excellent examples. Also: jack reese (christian slater's character), that gay republican josh debates with in "the portland trip", the fascinatingly intelligent Christopher Mulready in "The Supremes", Joe (Matthew Perry's character), and even Kate (the deputy nsa who, if I remember correctly, voted for Vinnick).