Like I said last week, this ain't your father's West Wing. Tonight's episode makes me think that the days of long hallway walk-and-talks debating the relative merits of public housing and the census are officially over. What clued me in? Hard to say. It was either the jump-cut montage of Matt Santos on the campaign trail set to Steve Miller's "Jet Airliner" or the Jerry Bruckheimer-esque Top Gun homage near the show's end.
All that's OK, though, because watching Josh frantically try to put Band-Aids on a thousand political paper cuts from the "siesta" scandal to the broken bed to the Mommy Problem makes for an entertaining hour of television. Can anyone play pompously irritated better than Bradley Whitford? Hey, wait! Janeane Garofalo just answered that question! While Garofalo's turn as acid-tongued media consultant Lou Thornton might not exactly be a huge stretch, she does provide a much-needed foil for Josh inside the campaign. He can only ignore everyone, including his own candidate, for so long. Lou should be a boon to a show that has always put a premium on smart, funny female characters.
Speaking of smart, funny female characters, didn't C.J. used to be one? So far this season, it's been nothing but furrowed brows and knowing looks from Allison Janney. I just don't get C.J.'s relationship with jailed reporter Greg Brock. The show's writers spent no time developing his importance, and the whole straight-from-the-headlines plot feels tacked-on. Couldn't one of NBC's 37 Law & Order franchises fictionalize the Judith Miller case?
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