Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How the West was done

It's done. After 7 years, the West Wing has finally come to a close. And how did it end? Not with a bang, nor with a whimper. To me, it ended with a meh. It wasn't the Seinfeld level of head-scratching finales, but it wasn't the Buffy level of satisfying conclusions. No Toby? No "what's next" from Jed? No Jackal? With so much missing, it really felt like the end of an era on just a so-so note.

There were some nice moments, though. The callback to the "Bartlet for America" napkin. Ronna's amazement at working right outside the Oval Office. Donna mistaking her enormous office for the one the First Lady was meant to have. A jobless Charlie, Will, and Kate heading out to a movie in the middle of the day.

Even with those brief flashes of good, the majority of the episode left me feeling a bit tepid. It's as if they couldn't decide what note to end things on, so they chose not to end it on any note at all. I can't fault them for that, exactly, since goodness knows I haven't the foggiest idea how to conclude a show that's been creative and inspiring for many years, but I did feel a bit disappointed.

Oh well. At least we know who'll be President circa 2038 - from the Malcolm in the Middle series finale, it looks like it will be beleaguered middle child Malcolm himself. I haven't watched Malcolm for a few years, but I read Entertainment Weekly's positive review and then caught the last episode. I liked the note they ended things on - with Malcolm's whole family smelly and scattered and arguing, but full of love and the best intentions, as they've had throughout the series' run.

That is how a TV show should leave you, I think: sad that it's ending, but with fond memories that make you happy and hopeful for the characters.


At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this description --
"smelly and scattered and arguing, but full of love and the best intentions"! It's just perfect!
I will miss Malcolm and the Middle, although I thought it was time for it to end. I hope Bryan Cranston goes on to a new series --he was consistently terrific.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Joobie said...

I completely agree about Bryan Cranston. He is wicked talented and it's a shame he was never rewarded with an Emmy for his role. I hope he goes on to other parts that are as great a showcase for him as Malcolm was.


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