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Any Spoilers on West Wing Commentaries?


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Vince Maskeeper

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Posted January 02 2004 - 06:07 AM

Season 1 commentaries- anyone know if there are spoilers for season 2 or beyond? Specifically I noticed there is a commentary on the final episode, does it give away the cliffhanger for season 2.

-vince
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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Sean Cauley

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Posted January 02 2004 - 06:40 AM

NOTE: My post is spoiler-free with reference to Season 2, but it assumes you've already watched the Season 1 finale and discusses its cliffhanger in blunt terms. If you haven't watched that episode (without commentary) yet, skip my post; it's worth not knowing what to expect.

I don't remember specifically about the cliffhanger. I think they were coy about it and didn't reveal the results of the shooting (even making jokes about how the viewer technically "doesn't know" how it turns out), but I won't guarantee it. I do know that Sorkin discusses his inspiration for the episode, which was that he was looking for a situation into which he could place these characters that would give an opportunity to use the storytelling technique he employs in the Season 2 opener, so while I don't think he gives away the actual "who's been hit?" cliffhanger, he does tell you what part of the next-season premiere (which is an excellent two-part episode initially aired back-to-back in one night) is going to be about. So it's technically got a spoiler, but not a cliffhanger spoiler.

Man, it's really hard to discuss without specifics.

I would also be concerned about the "In Excelsis Deo" commentary; I don't recall for sure if anything from Season 2 got spoiled, but there's a place where they could easily have mentioned something that's a huge surprise to Season 2 viewers. I don't think they did, but I'd wait for someone to tell you it's okay first. The other commentaries are relatively harmless. Update: Colleagues at a show-specific board remind me that one of the major plot surprises of the second season is referred to in this episode in semi-specific terms. If you truly want to remain spoiler-free, avoid finding out about this item at all costs; it really comes out of nowhere late in Season 2.

Anyone who's listened to them more recently than I have? Someone who got the discs for Christmas, perhaps?

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Michael*K

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Posted January 03 2004 - 04:25 PM

Quote:
he was looking for a situation into which he could place these characters that would give an opportunity to use the storytelling technique he employs in the Season 2 opener
I thought the storytelling in that two-part Season 2 opener was brilliant. Truly one of the high water marks of the series.

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Kevin Porter

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Posted January 03 2004 - 04:52 PM

I don't recall the commentary specifically but one of them gives away the fact that
Mrs. Landingham dies

in Season 2. Sadly I haven't seen season 2 but that little fact was spoiled Posted Image . Actually, they mentioned it very quickly and I kind of knew it before so you really have to be listening.

Danny Federici, we'll meet you in the land of hope and dreams

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Sean Cauley

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Posted January 04 2004 - 04:22 AM

Yeah, Kevin, that's the one I was referring to with regard to "In Excelsis Deo." The event in Season 2 to which that refers is pretty much the big shock of the season (and Season 2 is really the best of the bunch for The West Wing, so that's saying something).

You'll love Season 2 from beginning to end.

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Kevin Porter

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Posted January 04 2004 - 08:40 AM

Quote:
You'll love Season 2 from beginning to end.

I hope I will regardless of knowing that. Any other surprises or twists I haven't spoiled yet? (Don't tell me what Posted Image )

Danny Federici, we'll meet you in the land of hope and dreams

#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Sean Cauley

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Posted January 04 2004 - 09:18 AM

Nothing quite like that one, but the story arc of the last part of the season is something you wouldn't necessarily expect based on Season 1 (though the roots of the storyline are found in a first-season episode). The entire season is simply something to behold, from the two-part season premiere (a masterwork of storytelling) to the second-year Christmas episode, to the two-show arc of "Bartlet's Third State of the Union" and "The War at Home," to the low-budget (no guest cast and no new sets built) "17 People," to "18th and Potomac," to the affecting finale, "Two Cathedrals."

New guest stars and recurring characters are great: Emily Procter, Anna Deavere Smith, John Larroquette, Oliver Platt...the whole second season is truly the high point of the series; the third lacked focus as the writers and the home audience adjusted to the post-9/11 view of America, its government, and its enemies, and the fourth season was based around a re-election campaign that had no tension (as it was either "our heroes win" or "the show goes off the air") and suffered from the internal politics of the Rob Lowe exit and those that drove Sorkin to leave the show at the end of Season 4. But from fall 2000 to spring 2001, the show was the high point of network television.

I will say this: don't expect to ever get an explanation why Mandy's not part of the show starting in Season 2. Just pretend she never existed; that's what the creators did, apparently.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   RobertW

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Posted January 04 2004 - 01:13 PM

well, she was basically a paid outside consultant, right? you can just assume they decided she wasn't needed anymore.

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted January 04 2004 - 02:42 PM

Quote:
well, she was basically a paid outside consultant, right? you can just assume they decided she wasn't needed anymore.


And essentially, that's why she was cut: they never really found anything for her character to do other than annoy other characters by repeating everything they said.

What's a little strange is that season one ends on a cliffhanger where all of the staff is at an event, and when the second season starts (starting off at the exact same moment the first season ended) she's just not there. But that's just one of those TV things that you just have to not think about.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Mike Ackerman

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Posted February 05 2004 - 09:36 AM

Quote:
I will say this: don't expect to ever get an explanation why Mandy's not part of the show starting in Season 2. Just pretend she never existed; that's what the creators did, apparently.
Here's hoping that Sorkin makes some mention of her absence in the Season 2 commentary. I'd settle for, "Wizards did it."


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