Posted in Television at 9:00 pm on 28 February 2010
In a double episode at the beginning of this series the writers use the shooting at the end of series 1 as an opportunity to lever in the various characters’ back-story (though to be fair one of the incidents is referred to again later on.) Quite why President Bartlet’s aides were nearly all portrayed as failures before joining his campaign is a touch strange. The device, however, also enables the prolongation of tension (one of our heroes is in critical condition) during these two episodes where not much actually happens.
One of the principal characters from season 1, the youngish woman with the middle aged woman’s hairdo – played by Martha Kelly? – has disappeared without mention. A new one, a rabid Republican, has been introduced to show how nice and inclusive we all are. The President’s chief lawyer seems to be replaced during this series but we’re only told this after it’s happened and the new one has been advising him for half an episode.
The story arc of season 2 is mostly concerned with the ramifications of Pres Bartlet’s multiple sclerosis being hidden from the public who elected him; a long build up to the cliff hanger at the end of episode 22 where we have to wait for next season to find out if he’s decided to run again. Not really any suspense when you’re watching the box set as there are obviously more series to come.
I suppose this storyline is by analogy with Bill Clinton’s troubles; both with Ms Lewinski and Whitewater - a Grand Jury apparently awaits Bartlet.
There is still a lot of info dumping going on – too often with characters telling others things they should already know – but I’m certainly entertained by the minor arcana of the US constitution. (At least theirs is written down.)
One final thought. There are Gilbert and Sullivan buffs in the US? Who’d have thought it?