TV - The West Wing Top 10: Part 2

The West Wing

Steve Taylor-Bryant is spending today looking back at his favourite shows. Here is his choice for the best episodes of The West Wing 5 - 1...

The Filibuster has finished, the Lame Duck congress has disbanded, and I have just enough time before my election reform committee starts to finish off the Top 10 with the final 5.

5 - Game On: Season 4, episode 6.

The West Wing

Toby falls prey to a practical joke by the rest of the staff, after which everyone but Leo takes off for the debate in San Diego. Sam makes a side trip to Newport Beach to explain to the congressional campaign manager of the late Horton Wilde why the campaign has to fold even though Wilde is still on the ballot; what Sam doesn't expect is a stalwart named Will Bailey who, determined to keep the ideas of the campaign alive, continues to hold campaign events and do door-to-door canvassing. In San Diego, a nervous West Wing staff readies itself to spin for the president, but when Bartlet and Richie go head to head in a unique debate format, Bartlet tears Richie apart on states' rights, education, taxes, etc., by being precisely the intellectual snob everyone had accused him of being and using it to his own advantage. Back in DC, Leo and Jordon Kendall meet with the Qu'mari ambassador to the U.N., and Leo warns Qu'mar to back off its campaign to charge Israel with the Sharif assassination. After the debate, Sam returns to Newport to meet once more with Will at a bar, during which Sam makes a surprising offer.

Top quote -

President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet: Well, first of all, let's clear up a couple of things. "Unfunded mandate" is two words, not one big word. There are times when we're fifty states and there are times when we're one country, and have national needs. And the way I know this is that Florida didn't fight Germany in World War II or establish civil rights. You think states should do the governing wall-to-wall. That's a perfectly valid opinion. But your state of Florida got $12.6 billion in federal money last year - from Nebraskans, and Virginians, and New Yorkers, and Alaskans, with their Eskimo poetry. 12.6 out of a state budget of $50 billion. I'm supposed to be using this time for a question, so here it is: Can we have it back, please?

4 - Two Cathedrals: Season 2, episode 22.

The West Wing

As the Haitian army continues their seizure of the American embassy there, Bartlet and the staff prepare for the announcement that Bartlet has M.S. and most decide whether or not Bartlet will seek re-election. As the funeral for Mrs. Landingham takes place and the announcement draws nearer, Bartlet thinks back to his past in search of the answer to the question everyone is asking: Will he seek re-election?

Top quote -

President Josiah Bartlet: You're a son of a bitch, You know that? She bought her first new car and You hit her with a drunk driver. What? Was that supposed to be funny? "You can't conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God," says Graham Greene. I don't know whose ass he was kissing there, 'cause I think You're just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman - a warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to Yours but praise His glory and praise His Name? There's a tropical storm that's gaining speed and power. They say we haven't had a storm this bad since You took out that tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. It doesn't even carry guns. It just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That's all it can do. Gratias tibi ago, Domine. Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I've committed many sins. Have I displeased You, You feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn't good?

[scoffs]

Bailed out Mexico. Increased foreign trade. Thirty million new acres of land for conservation. Put Mendoza on the bench. We're not fighting a war. I've raised three children. That's not enough to buy me out of the doghouse? Haec credam a Deo pio, a Deo iusto, a Deo scito? Cruciatus in crucem. Trus in terra servus, nuntius fui, officium perfeci. Cruciatus in crucem. Eas in crucem.
[deliberately lights a cigarette and grinds it out on the Cathedral floor] You get Hoynes.

3 - Shutdown: Season 5, episode 8.

The West Wing

President Bartlet refuses to let Speaker of the House Haffley hold him hostage on the budget and allows the government to be shut down.

Top quote -

Vice President Bob Russell: You know what they call a leader with no followers? Just a guy taking a walk.

2 - Noel: Season 2, episode 10.

The West Wing

Leo orders Josh to speak to a trauma psychiatrist, who asks him to review the events of the last three weeks: Toby insisted on having live music in the foyer for Christmas, an Air Force pilot separated from his flight team without explanation, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House, and Josh managed to cut his hand quite badly. Also, C.J. looks into a report of a woman freaking out during a tour of the White House.

Top quote -

Leo McGarry: This guy's walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep, he can't get out. A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, "Hey you, can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up "Father, I'm down in this hole, can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. "Hey Joe, it's me, can you help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are you stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before, and I know the way out."

1 - In the Shadow of Two Gunmen (two parts): Season 2, episodes 1 & 2.

The West Wing

The President is rushed to hospital following a shooting; staffers field questions on protection measures and executive authority. Flashbacks show how key staff members joined the Bartlet campaign. A suspect in the presidential shooting is caught; staffers anxious await news on Bartlet and Josh's injuries; flashbacks show how C.J. and Donna joined Bartlet's campaign.

Top Quote -

C.J. Cregg: There were 36 homicides last night. 480 sexual assaults. 3411 robberies. 3685 aggravated assaults, all at gun point. And if anyone thinks those crimes could have been prevented if the victims themselves had been carrying guns, I only remind you that the President of the United States was shot last night while surrounded by the best-trained armed guards in the history of the world.

I hope you've enjoyed my Top 10 and I am pretty close to what you would have picked yourselves? I learnt a lot by doing this. I can rewatch any episode of the show and still love it, there are so many characters I relate to, and it appears I love the Second Season the most but there is so many great episodes across the Seven Seasons. Here is a few that didn't make the cut.

In Excelsis Deo

Take this Sabbath day

The women of Qumar

The Dogs of War

2162 Votes

The Debate

Tomorrow

The Birnam Wood

He Shall From Time to Time

Quotes and synopsis - IMDB.

Image - West Wing Wiki.