The West Wing
In an eerie bit of synchronicity, tonight's West Wing
focused on Leo McGarry, just three weeks after the sudden death of actor John Spencer
. While I assumed there would be a special intro mentioning his passing, I was unprepared for how moved I was by Martin Sheen
's words. Johnny, we hardly knew ya, indeed. This episode was a fitting tribute, a reminder of all the splendid work Spencer has done over the years. From playing the usually unflappable Leo as vulnerable and self-doubting in the beginning of the debate prep, to the inevitable revelation that he was leaking bad reports on himself to the press because he knew Josh wouldn't — it was classic Leo. (By the way, for my money, the greatest Leo moment in the history of the series: "So a guy's walking down the street, and he falls in a hole....") That said, I couldn't help but feel a little creepy watching the show. Did anyone else spend the hour looking for signs of ill health, searching for some indication of Spencer's looming heart attack?
Spencer wasn't alone in doing solid work in the episode. Kristin Chenoweth stole just about every scene she was in. Her discussion with Leo about controlling his smirk in the debate was hysterical. "Do you want to come off wise or wiseass?" Nice. And one can only hope that some of President Bush's handlers were taking notes.
Speaking of wiseasses — OK, just asses — how about Mrs. Santo's thong making front-page news? Don't you think a politician's wife would be a tad more careful, even in her own front yard? On the upside, the Santos campaign just locked up the endorsement of America's Maxim subscribers. The underwear flap, however, did afford us a nice look at the strength and humor of the Santos' relationship (as well as Teri Polo's butt). Their solid family ties played nicely off the burgeoning romance between Will and Kate. The banter there was terrific, but that's got to be the worst first date in human history: dinner and a vice-presidential debate. — Jonathan McDaid
My roommate Jason said quite loudly towards the end: "Best episode of the season!" While I wouldn't call it the best, I'd certainly say it was one of the best. I loved how this kissing-themed hour involved just about every character, and I especially loved how it intertwined characters with other characters that normally wouldn't be in a scene together. Although I thought the whole Gabrielle-kissing-Tom thing was just silly, I liked how it gave Gabi a reason to interact with Tom and Carlos a reason to have a scene with Lynette. And Bree asking Susan's ex, Karl, to be her lawyer was ingenious. "My son is trying to blackmail me, and I want you to stop the little SOB." Very daring of ABC in this post-Janet Jackson era to show the two teen boys kissing. Twice! Of course, Bree had to catch them — her squeezing the champagne glass and making it crack was hilarious. Another little gesture that cracked me up was Gabi zipping up her top after saying to Tom: "Your wife doesn't trust me since I had an affair with my teenage gardener." Followed by that high-pitched zipping sound, it made for a perfect exit. Speaking of Tom, when did Doug Savant get so funny? He was never this amusing on Melrose Place, so I'm glad he's finally getting a chance to shine. Best line (to Lynette): "Oh, I'm a hot guy. I'm in a neighborhood filled with nothing but lonely ladies. They can't help themselves. I'm like catnip." My roommate and I laughed so hard we had to TiVo back to watch it again. But the best scene was the very end with Susan crashing her car into the back of a parked car, causing the trunk to open, revealing dead Michael Ironside to the lurking neighbors. I've missed that whole element of mystery-and-reveal that the show's been lacking lately. Hopefully, we'll get even more as the weeks go on. I myself have been desperate for it. — Dave Anderson