19 December 2008
Last week Rachael presumed to list a couple crush-worthy TV characters who hadn’t made my list because I was yet to discover their shows. So this week, I’ve decided that I need to fix her list of favourite Christmas episodes. See there’s one REALLY big hole in Rachael’s viewing history, The West Wing.
One of, if not THE, best shows of all time, The West Wing celebrated the holidays with some of their best episodes ever. And those 2 episodes are:
“In Excelsis Deo”
Toby’s quest to give a proper burial to a homeless veteran gives this episode some serious emotional punch (not to mention one of the most beautifully edited sequences of the series, pairing Little Drummer Boy with the sounds of the military tribute); CJ’s vendetta in favour of hate crime legislation is an important turning point in her relationship with Danny; and Bartlett’s trip to the rare book shop is lovely. But the real Tivo moment of the episode is Josh’s Christmas present to Donna. The moment perfectly captures their dynamic; she’s been bugging him all episode, asking for various gifts and though he doesn’t get her what she wants he gives her something even better. This is one of the first truly crucial moments in their incomparable relationship.
One of the most powerful episodes of the series and definitely one of my favourites, Noel features the introduction of the dynamic Dr. Stanley Keyworth, lots of fun Scroog-y Toby, a lovely CJ storyline, a bit of Presidential fun, Yo-Yo Ma playing one of the most beautiful classical cello pieces ever written (Bach’s Suite #1 in G), Josh having a character-defining breakdown, and Leo offering a hand with one of my favourite speeches ever on The West Wing; “This guy’s walking down the 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.”