Saturday, April 22, 2006

Major Spoilers For Upcoming Episodes, TV Guide Spoilers, Spoiler about Vice-Presidency and Last Episode's Call Sheet Info

fourweekwindow posted unconfirmed spoilers mixed with speculation at Television Without Pity:

ultimatum, fight, nutty, Sam, home, talk, sex and talk?

More along the lines of: stress, Sam, pre-talk, home, sex, not-an-ultimatum, putting out fires (CJ), Sam, stress, staffing, Donna, CJ, work, snap, Sam, introduction, Adios.
Well, ok, pretalk is with Donna ("Who said anything about talking?") on the phone.

By the way, if you want to see a version of Donna which I would characterize as really quite wonderful, mix the On the Day Before, Third Day Story, and Running Mates. That's the Donna of most of Transition, just add water and lust.

"OH, and the preview: It's his apartment."
"That, by the way, is what makes Transition art. That and all of the "dude"ing done by the staffers. It's an absolutely beautiful way to show exactly why Josh is frustrated with T West Wing: The New Class"
"But there's a window. I'd say, four weeks."
That thing under the thing, by the way, is a direct quote.
I don't see it as an ultimatum. I mean, it kinda is, but it's in a very long off-the-top-of-my-head-and-I-hate-to-add-this-pressure-to-your-growing-list-
but-I-need-to-set-limits-before-it-becomes-out-of-hand kind of way. It's Donna not allowing herself to be his "personal" assistant in the same way she was his secretary, if that makes any sense. She's telling him she'll be his lover for a month without any strings attached, he can take her, use her as a girl Friday, completely lose her in the shuffle of his life if that's what he wants, but she can only exist in this limbo for a limited amount of time because after it's over they both have to move on. And really, it was a very big "Go Donna" moment to me. Be happy with it, at least a little bit. Donna's like the only thing in his life that is consistently positive, and while she leaves him flummoxed, at least someone's in control of that situation.

Kimberley posted on the J/D Talk Group:
"Was just watching E! News and they had a short story about "The West Wing" series finale. Two items of note are that "some other ends will be tied up in the series finale": the first involving a guest appearance by Aaron Sorkin, and second, "proof that a fan favorite couple seals the deal" (they say this over a split-screen shot of Will and Kate, and then a split-screen shot of Josh and Donna-- from 20 Hours in America, it looks like."

If you live in Europe, E! international broadcasts E! News on Thursday. Check your digital TV provider and your local listings.

There is scan of the TV Guide article printed below here (which includes spoilers) , which has a photo of Sam, Josh and Santos Campaign Aide Bram in the Oval Office.

Posted on the West Wing Continuity Guide's Spoiler Blog:
"Episode #18 - "Requiem" - Airing April 16, 2006
Written by Eli Attie & Debora Cahn & John Wells
Directed By Steve Shill
"Now that the ballots have been cast and counted, friends, family, colleagues and dignitaries gather to say goodbye to Leo McGarry. A great man. A great politician. A great friend. And while everyone who knew and loved him would like the world to stop for just a few moments, the days following an election afford no such luxury. Santos and Josh will have to choose a new VP, appoint a Cabinet, and trek through the murky terrain of a White House transition. Santos appoints Barry Goodwin to head the transition team without consulting Josh, which creates some tension between the President-Elect and his Chief of Staff. The tension only escalates when Goodwin and Santos disagree with Josh on whether or not to endorse the Congressman's old friend for Speaker of the House. After a heated argument with Santos, Josh is left wondering if it was ever this difficult for Bartlet and Leo. C.J. assures him that it will get easier. And at day's end, as the world of governing and politics continue to swirl around them, the people Leo left behind gather to share memories, laughs and a few tears over their great loss."

Transition - Airing April 23, 2006
Written by Peter Noah
Directed by Nelson McCormick
"It's crunch time for the Santos team, and no one is feeling the pressure more than Josh. With a hundred positions to fill and a phone sheet a mile long, his nerves are retreating about as fast as his hairline. His first order of business: a trip to California to convince Sam Seaborne to be his Deputy Chief of Staff. Sam tells him he needs to think about it. Back in D.C. Josh convinces Lou to sign on as Communications Director, and is about to ask Donna to be Deputy Press Secretary when she drops a bomb on him — she can’t work with him. The First Lady has asked her to be her Chief of Staff, and while she's not sure that's what she wants, she knows that whatever's going on between the two of them will make a working relationship nearly impossible. Also, whatever is going on between the two of them must at some point be discussed and defined. She gives him four weeks. If four weeks from now they haven't figured out what they want, then it just wasn't meant to be. So while Josh frantically attempts to piece together his personal and professional lives, Santos busies himself playing good cop-bad cop with Bartlet and the Kazakhstan crisis. The two have, unbeknownst to their staffs, coordinated a strategy using the inherent awkwardness of a Presidential transition in an attempt to scare Russia and China into a peace agreement. Finally, just about the time the staff thinks Josh may actually implode, Sam comes to the rescue. Arriving unannounced in D.C. he tells Josh he'll come back on one condition — that Josh takes a much-needed vacation. Josh reluctantly agrees to Sam's terms and soon finds himself on a plane to somewhere warm and sunny, with Donna by his side.

Episode #20 - The Last Hurrah - Airing April 30, 2006
Written by Lawrenece O’Donnel, Jr.
Directed by Tim Matheson
"With just weeks to go before Inauguration, everyone is being forced to rapidly adjust to unfamiliar territory. As Matt Santos surrenders his life to the Secret Service and the press corps, Arnold Vinick finds himself in an equally unfamiliar position — bored. And although Vinick has piles of job offers to sort through, the one position he really wants still looms in the distance. While his waning staff is busy sorting job offers and packing up boxes, Vinick is calling party officials and analyzing exit polls. Finally, it occurs to them — he's thinking about running again. It seems he is convinced it's his job to save the soul of the party, and nothing will change his mind. Except perhaps, a call from President-Elect Matt Santos. After weeks of deliberation, Santos has decided he wants Baker to be his Vice President, but the Republican Senate will never confirm him — he's too strong a candidate. Santos seeks Vinick's advice on the confirmation process, and in the course of their conversation is reminded what a brilliant political mind Vinick is. Santos decides he needs Vinick in his corner and asks him to be Secretary of State. Vinick is skeptical. It's probably just a ploy to make Santos look bi-partisan. He can't accept. Won't accept. But he can't help being a little intrigued by the idea. As Vinick deliberates, Santos comes up with a strategy to get Baker confirmed. Threaten to go through the Electoral College, get Congress to swear to a quick hearing, then push Baker through. It's their best shot to get the guy they want. Finally Vinick, still unconvinced, comes to Santos and lays out his demands. No politicking. No Democratic fundraisers. No campaigns. And he will not be worked around. He'll only take the job if he actually gets to do the job. Santos complies, increasingly certain this is their guy. And in the end, it's an offer Arnold Vinick just can't refuse.

Episode #21 - Institutional Memory — Airing May 7, 2006
Written by Debora Cahn
Directed by Leslie Glatter
As her final days as Chief of Staff dwindle away, C.J. and Danny struggle to define the future of their relationship. In the midst of uninspiring job offers, she's suddenly approached by one of the world's wealthiest men, Franklin Hollis, with an unbelievable proposition. Take over his charitable foundation and he'll give C.J. ten billion dollars to solve whatever world problem she wants. But before she has time to mull over Hollis’ offer, Matt Santos asks her to say on as his Special Counselor to the President. For two years. And while the thought another two years in the White house is daunting, it's an offer C.J. doesn't believe she can refuse. When Danny discovers that she's made the decision without him, he ponders if they can really have a future together. Meanwhile, Toby's ex-wife drops in to ask C.J. for a rather large favor — approach the President about pardoning Toby. Since Toby didn't apply for a pardon, C.J. decides to talk to him about it before she even considers the request. Toby insists he doesn't want a pardon; he knew what he was doing. He is prepared to pay the consequences. C.J. returns to Danny with two confessions. First, she's not good at this. Relationships. She doesn't know how to do them. She's not sure she can still learn, but she wants to try. Second, she doesn't want to work in the White House anymore. She's ready for something new, for the next chapter of her life — with him.
Episode #22 - Tomorrow — Airing May 14, 2006
Written by John Wells
Directed by Chris Misiano
It's Inauguration Day — the final hours of President Jed Bartlet's extraordinary presidency and Matthew Santos’ first steps into the halls of history. A day of goodbyes and new beginnings. Memories and traditions. Everyone preparing to leave the life they know for the next uncertain step. As Santos and Helen prepare themselves for the biggest adventure of their lives, Bartlet makes one final tour of the White House, saying goodbye to Will, Charlie, and all the people who have been his family for the past eight years. But amidst the chaos and ceremony, one last act of the Bartlet administration remains: Presidential pardons. The White House buzzes with news that a last minute name has been added to the list: Toby Ziegler — added by request of the President himself. Toby's future now rests in the hands of a man he served, loved and ultimately disappointed. As Josh, Donna, Lou and others prepare to begin the Santos Presidency, Bartlet struggles with the Toby decision up until the final moments of his own. Then, finally, he affixes his signature to the document, making his last act as President a reflection of his greater legacy of thoughtful action and relentless compassion. As Santos takes his oath of office and Bartlet and Abbey fly back to New Hampshire to begin the rest of their lives, we say final farewell to the people we've come to love on this remarkable journey."


From the TV Guide Print Edition:

President Bartlet may not have been eligible for another term, but Rob Lowe has elected to revisit The West Wing. "One line, and Rob was back where he left off," executive producer Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr. says of Lowe, who's reprising the role that resurrected his career when The West Wing premiered in 1999.
Lowe left the show in 2002 in a dispute over salary and sereen time. Now with the series coming to an end next month, Lowe has signed on to make two guest appearances, with the first of his episodes airing on April 23. "It was a great moment," says O'Donnell. "I saw him in the monitor, and he turned toward the camera and I realized that the series would have been incomplete without that moment. Seeing Rob and Brad Whitford together again was like the good old days." Adds executive producer John Wells, "You thought it was going to be odd, but it wasn't. It was emotional for Rob, and it gave all of us closure."


Lowe's return as former White House staffer Sam Seaborn comes after the election that replaced the Bartlet Administration with President Matt Santos and his crew. Former Bartlet Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Whitford) who works for the new regime, flies to L.A. to convince his old buddy Sam to come on board.
"Sam doesn't want to do it," says Wells. "He's gotten on with his life. He's working for a law firm and is engaged to be married." But Josh persists, offering Sam the opportunity to become deputy chief of staff. "In other words," Wells says, "Josh wants Sam to become his Josh." But Josh doesn't make such an enviable role model. "We see Josh as he has never been before," says O'Donnell. "He's out of control, he's enraged. It becomes clear that he cannot run the White House without Sam. Sam is the only person who knows how to manage Josh."
Sam also has some personal advice for Josh, who is having relationship troubles with Donna. "Josh has to make a decision about their relationship," says Janel Moloney, who plays Donna. "Sam influences him and tells him: 'You are not just your job.'"
But what about Sam's potential new job? Will he, or won't he? Josh will get the answer when Lowe makes his final visit to the West Wing for the May 14 finale. If our vote counts, he'll say yes.

- Mary Murphy"

eurp posted at Television Without Pity:
"In next week's TV Guide, it says that Josh flies to LA to convince him to return to DC and come aboard the Santos presidency. Sam doesn't want to do it - He's working for a law firm and is engaged to be married. Josh persists offering Sam the job of DCoS. We won't find out whether or not Sam finally accepts until the final episode when he shows up."

fourweekwindow posted an unconfirmed spoiler at Television Without Pity:
Just throwing this speculation out there... does anyone think they'll go back to the Amy/Donna question as a way to resolve J/D? – arcadia

No. Sorry, at least not to any real extent. Amy is in “Requiem” almost entirely to make Donna jealous. Sure she and Josh talk, and I’m sure it’s got some substance, but the key feature in the scene is that they cut away from it right to Donna, ignoring CJ and Danny, or Will, or whoever she’s talking to, with the look that says her hamster just died. Which is very different from her former boss and friend dying face. Donna does have her own agenda in the episode, and it spills over, amazingly, to one of the other storylines.
This is going to be an extremely crude interpretation, you understand, based on something that happened two months ago in a crowded room, and was not my main focus at that moment. Yes, I had a spoiler in there, and that was Donna's conversations bleeding into another storyline. As to the Donna Jealous Look at Josh and Amy talking, I would say that it's true-ish. I think that's what happens because that's what I remember being shot. But a lot of stuff happened at that funeral, so it might not end up on screen.

I hope that helps."

Mildy Irate posted at Television Without Pity:
" 'Where was the spoiler about Ronna getting a tour from Debbie from?'

I have a very reliable source that describes a scene of Debbie giving Ronna the fifty cent tour.

From a poster at the IMDB:
"Sam will not be the Vice President. He is going to be Deputy Chief of Staff.
Eric Baker will be Vice President."

From the same poster:
Actors on call for the last day of shooting:

Martin Sheen
Allison Janney
Dule Hill
Josh Malina
NiCole Robinson
Mary McCormack
Lily Tomlin
Melissa Fitzgerald
Karis Campbell
Renee Estevez
Peter James Smith
William Duffy
Charles Noland "


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the article.

Scottage said...

Oh, I must admit I'm psyched! I just wish they could be convinced to do a spinoff with Santos as president.

curtishettich said...

Where the West Wing Went Wrong”

The closer we get to the end of the show the more I see a possibility for the show to continue as Sorkin originally envisioned. With Rob Lowe as a main character, at Josh's side, helping to run the White House. Santos is not Bartlet, so why ask hime to be? Sorkin's original visions of the show, if I'm not mistaken, was for the staff to be the focus and for the President to be a quasi secondary character.

I think that the fundamental mistake made by John Wells and the rest of the production staff was in not reaching out to the audience at the beginning of season six and/or seven in an attempt to describe the changes that would occur in the show while they made the transition from the Bartlet administration to the new administration. The producers should have aired a short piece, similar to that at the beginning of season three’s “Isaac and Ishmael,” in which a few select characters (probably Josh, Leo, Bartlet, and Sam) explained that the show would take on a new life for the next two seasons. I imagine them saying something along the lines of the following; “As draw closer to the end of the Bartlet administration the show will be undergoing some stylistic and storyline changes. We will shift the focus of the story line to the campaign for a new President. This will allow the introduction of new Presidential candidates, staff, and eventually a new administration. You also see a different kind of campaign than those we have followed in the past with President Bartlet. You will get a more in-depth view of the day to day decision making of a nation campaign for the Presidency and a deeper appreciation of the chaos. So sit back and enjoy a breath of fresh air into an old and beloved cast and story. Thank you.” Or something along those lines, I am not a real writer.

I can’t believe that a spot like this wasn’t done. This is of course a political drama and therefore there should be someone on the writing staff who knows a little about communicating with the audience. I can’t imagine the whole staff up and quit when they realized and new administration would take over and that all that were left from the much lambasted season five were a room of interns. Why not be up front about the coming changes and express a shared apprehension with the audience? Surely the coming could have been shown as positives which traditional and new viewers would enjoy.

The most we have ever seen of Bartlet’s first campaign were the flashbacks surround the attempted assassination of Charlie in the first two episodes of season three. In Bartlet’s re-election campaign their was a dual focus on the campaign and previously established story lines. Although there were memorable moments from this campaign, such as Bartlet’s confrontation with Gov. Richie in New York, the story line of the campaign was overshadowed by the assassination of Omar Shareef, among other plots. The campaigns for Democratic and Republican candidates for the eventual Presidential campaign which would place a new administration in the White House, was an opportunity to delve deep into the psyche of candidates and staff during national elections. As Sam Seaborn once wrote, what was needed was a, “commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility.” And, I think, the show did an extraordinary job in portraying the party nominations and Presidential campaign, but I think I could have been more successful if the producers had been able to commit fully to this story line if they weren’t afraid of having to convince the audience to continue watching the show through the transition.

Bringing back a cherished character could have been a way for the show to bridge the gap between a presidency falling into decline and the emergence of a new story line and administration. The obvious choice for this roll would have been Rob Lowe’s character, Sam Seaborn. Nobody was happy about the departure of Rob Lowe form the show. He brought a youthful exuberance which was unmatched by any other character, despite the introduction of Will Bailey, which is not jibe as Joshua Molina. Will Bailey and Sam Seaborn are just two very differenct characters. The move to bring back Sam Seaborn would have been in line with the original conception of the show envisioned by Aaron Sorkin. Sam Seaborn was to have been a seminal character in the show’s plot lines and story telling. We began to see possible lead ins to the development of Sam’s character when Batlet shares National Security information with Sam in an episode who’s name escapes me at this moment and also when Josh asks Sam to staff the President while he, Toby, and Donna struggle to find civilization in Iowa on the re-election campaign trial. As we will see in future episodes, Josh will travel to CA in the hopes of bringing back Sam as his Deputy Chief of Staff, an endevor which eventually proves fruitful.

Where does the new President fit into all of this you might ask? Well, Martin Sheen’s Jed Bartlet was never meant to play as large a roll in the story telling as he eventually would. President Bartlet is a special character as is Martin Sheen a special actor, and I don’t think anyone would object to the large part the character and actor played in the show’s success. However, who is to say there was anything wrong with Sorkin’s original conception of the show’s structure, A show focused on the lives of White House staff and less on the Presidency? I don’t think the show’s loyal viewers have ever wanted another President to replace Jed Bartlet, nor do I think very many actors could successfully do so. So why even conceive of such a foolhardy plan? Why not return the focus to the staff which would include Josh Lyman as Chief of Staff, the reincarnation or Sam Seaborn as the Deputy C of S, a new President in a lesser role, a new Press Secretary, and Will Bailey as the new Communications Director. I would like to think that with Aaron Sorkin at the helm of the show, such a transformation as I have described might have been possible, and maybe even proposed.

TV Guy said...

wow, that was one hard post to read with all that inviso-text...

the finale sounds absolutely perfect. I hope it focuses more on Bartlet and less on Santos...