Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provides a topic, and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.
This week’s topic is a non-book freebie. I’ve been rewatching The West Wing show with my grandma for the past month. We were both sick for about a week in March, and one night I couldn’t sleep laying down, so I put on West Wing (this was around 1 am). Around 5 am, my grandma woke up and joined me. A couple episodes later, she asked if we could start from the beginning. Since then we’ve almost made it through all 7 seasons of the West Wing. She has never watched the show before, so it’s been great to watch it with her and enjoy the time with her. So, here are the best episodes out of all 7 seasons. I was going to try to have them in order from 10 to 1, but it was too difficult to pick which one is the best out of all ten. Therefore, this is in no particular order.
The Stackhouse Filibuster
This episode is such a great example of people coming together and working towards something good. The line that CJ says at the end really sums it up well: “Yes, Hoynes had us nervous with his admonishment of big oil and yes, the President was making us nervous too, but that’s for tomorrow ’cause tonight I’ve seen a man with no legs stay standing, Dad, and a guy with no voice keep shouting and if politics brings out the worst in people then maybe people bring out the best ’cause I’m looking at the T.V. right now and damned if 28 U.S. Senators haven’t just walked onto the floor to help.”
It also has some hilarious lines and scenes!
Can I just live in a world where Evelyn Baker Lang (or Glenn Close, I’m good with either) is really the Chief Justice?? No, it’s not allowed. Well, how rude! But seriously, the best part is how Evelyn and Christopher argue back and forth and are still great friends. There’s not a lot of episodes I absolutely love after Sorkin leaves, but this is definitely one of them.
One, this episode is pure perfection!! There’s many articles/papers/discussions about how well it’s done on all levels. It absolutely breaks my heart each time I watch it. I love the juxtaposition of the beginning of season 2 were President (at the time Govenor) Bartlet doesn’t remember any of the main character’s names and now he has the line “That [Josh] was my son. What did I ever do to yours but praise is glory and praise his name.” And that’s the other part I like about this episode is that it was the first time seeing someone yell and be pissed at God. Growing up I was told that doubting or yelling at God was evil and wrong, but here is a devout Catholic doing just that.
Most pilot episodes are on the whole pretty average. They’re introducing the cast and the theme of the show, and the audience is just keeping up with what’s happening. This show does such a wonderful job in introducing all the characters and seeing how they run the west wing of the White House. Plus, President Bartlet’s (Martin Sheen’s) entrance is just *mwah*. No notes!
Another episode that has so many funny moments! The plot for the episode is a good balance of funny and serious.
In the Shadow of Two Gunmen
Also an episode that’s talked about a lot. It’s so emotional but also heartwarming to see how all the characters came together to get President Bartlet elected. I love a good flashback in a show and Sorkin does an amazing job each time he has one.
The Portland Trip
Okay, a lot of this episode is pretty funny, but there are some great moments that are serious too. I love how they show the struggles of writing with Sam trying to write an education speech. Plus, back at the White House where Josh is debating the Defense of Marriage Act (anti-gay marriage bill) with a gay senator who approves of the bill. Josh says something that I still quote today: “I like you guys who want to reduce the size of government and make it just small enough so it can fit in our bedrooms!”
This episode is such a hopeful episode like the Stackhouse Filibuster one. Not for the politicians but for making mistakes and learning from them. The speech CJ tells the President at the end always gets me. “We have, at our disposal, a captive audience of schoolchildren. Some of them don’t go to the black board and raise their hand ’cause they think they’re gonna be wrong. I think you should say to these kids you think you get it wrong sometimes, you should come down here and see how the big boys do it. I think you should tell them you haven’t given up hope, and that it may turn up, but in the meantime, you want NASA to put its best people in the room, and you want them to start building Galileo VI. Some of them will laugh, and most of them won’t care, but for some, they might honestly see that it’s about going to the blackboard and raising your hand.”
20 Hours in America
Okay, we’re just going to acknowledge that Aaron Sorkin knows how to balance serious and funny and recognize that all the episodes have it, including this one. Seeing the campaign trail and how Josh and Toby discuss the election is great. Plus, everyone (including the president) acknowledging that without Donna, Josh and Toby would have to buy a house in Illinois.
Seeing President Bartlet debate Governor Ritchie was such a treat! I love the reactions of the senior staff. Plus the opening scene was so great and hilarious.