We start with about five seconds of Santos and Vinick backstage before the debate. They're both pretty nervous, don't ya know. Despite having agreed to "a real debate" last week, the two campaigns have worked out a complex set of time limits and rebuttals and re-rebuttals. And then, in their opening statements, the two candidates junk the rules. What follows is an hour (with only eight minutes of commercials) of two politicians debating. Santos is a Democrat, and thinks that the government can and should solve problems. Vinick is a Republican who thinks that the market can and should solve problems, and he never met a tax cut he didn't like. And that's about it. Get ready for the shortest recap ever.
I have to say right at the beginning, I thought this was a disastrously bad episode. I should have liked it -- it was well-acted (certainly by Alan Alda), and there were plenty of one-liners and policy proposals that my liberal heart could love. But the episode was just pointless. I enjoy watching real campaign debates because they matter -- one of the people on the stage is going to be elected, as President, as Senator, or as dogcatcher. The things they have to say will have an impact on that election. But The West Wing is a television show, and however much I enjoy the policy discussions the show presents, its primary purpose is to entertain. There needs to be story, and plot, and characterization. This episode had none of that. No storyline from any previous episode was mentioned, not one -- no questions about the shuttle leak, no questions about the U.S. peacekeepers on the West Bank, no questions about the U.S. relationship with China. Nothing happened that would obviously have an impact on the future development of the show. And I didn't feel as though I learned a single thing about the characters of either Santos or Vinick. What's worse, I expect that the debate won't even matter in the context of the show. I fully expect the next episode (which is not coming until December 4 at the earliest) barely to mention the debate or the impact it might have on the campaign. It was just boring, and I fear that the recap will be short and boring as well. To remedy that, I will be mixing this recap of The West Wing with a recap of the third episode of Mile High, the sexy British series about a group of sexy flight attendants who work for a sexy airline. It has none of the good qualities of The West Wing -- the acting and writing are atrocious, and the show is as meaningful as a bite of cotton candy. But at least its producers haven't forgotten that their main job is to entertain us. Plus, it's sexy.
The West Wing. Ellen DeGeneres welcomes us to this very special episode of the show. She's been hired by American Express (proud owner of the soul of John Wells) to do shtick during the limited commercial breaks. Well, that should be a pleasant diversion from the debate.
Mile High. Previously, on Mile High, sexy flight attendant Emma was flying off to Spain to get married when she discovered that her ex, sexy co-pilot John, had resumed his career with Fresh Airlines so that he could pursue her. Awkward. She ended up having crazy sex with him in the hotel pool after her bachelorette party (which the Brits insist on calling a "hen party"), but still married her fiancé Ian in the morning. Meanwhile, sexy new flight attendant Marco had an awful first day on the job, arriving late for his own flight to a different city in Spain, losing his luggage, getting shanghaied to Emma's hen party in a different town, and then getting drugged, robbed, robbed again, and left floating passed out and naked in the hotel pool, where he was discovered by super-bitchy (but still sexy) supervisor Janis after he missed his return flight to England. It looked like Marco would lose his job for sure, but sexy (and flaming) flight attendant Will gave new meaning to the words "labor relations" when he appeared as Marco's union rep at the disciplinary hearing and got Marco's termination reduced to a warning by giving a blowjob to the disciplinary officer. And can I just say, best union ever. Will did that because he fancies young Marco, and he convinced Marco to move into the apartment that he shares with sexy, black, and possibly bisexual flight attendant Lehann (who is by far the smartest and nicest of this bunch) and straight and unsexy flight attendant Jason. But while Will was planning to climb into bed with a sleepy Marco, Marco was having his own dominatrix fantasies about Janis. And that was just the first two episodes!