Question: Can you please tell me the name of the song (and the artist) that played at the end of The West Wing's season finale? Thanks. — Shirley
Televisionary: That was the title song from Dire Straits's 1985 disc Brothers in Arms, Shirley. And let me congratulate you for your speedy keyboard work — you were the first in a wave of viewers who logged on and asked about it. (I had a hunch there'd be at least a few of you guys when I watched it — thanks for demonstrating that I'm right every now and then).
If you're looking to sample the band, that's not a bad place to start, certainly, though several of the tracks on it ("Walk of Life," "Money for Nothing") were played to death for years after the album's release. However, in my opinion Dire Straits's best remains 1980's Making Movies.
And I must admit that while I'm usually not a big fan of using pop music to create mood and impact on TV — I find that writers frequently use it as a substitute for crafting hard-hitting scenes on their own — Aaron Sorkin and company used the song well. It complemented the scene rather than propping it up and didn't get in the way of the subtle hands-in-the-pockets payoff set up earlier in the hour. (Some people I spoke with thought that moment was too obvious, but I felt it played perfectly, particularly when talking to a number of fans who didn't pick up on it at all.)
Am I getting a little sick of season-ending cliffhangers? Sure, but they should all be handled as deftly as this one.