West Wing
The West Wing On The Charlie Rose Show

Episode Report Card
"The Next Truthful Moment"
Janney interjects, " You gave me that wonderful tooth thing because you thought it'd be fun to see me...." Sorkin makes a reference to various actors' particular "specialty skills" which causes Whitford and Sheen to crack up, Whitford joking that these appear on the "bottom line of the résumé." Sorkin says that Janney is "truly a world-class comedienne," among other things. No argument here. He says that they will go for the joke as often as Sorkin thinks they can (Whitford interjects with the example of the fishing waders) and cites the examples of C.J.'s root canal (or rather, "woot canow"), Josh having to wear the fishing waders, and Bartlet's having accidentally taken his medications incorrectly. They show the clip from "Five Votes Down" where the staff finds out he's taken too many muscle relaxants. Sorkin continues, saying everybody's had to trip over something on the show or fall down once or twice (I think Josh and C.J. win for best falls -- Josh when he wipes out on the way to talk to Stackhouse, and C.J. when she walks blindly into her pool). Sorkin jokes, "It's sort of a requirement." Rose moves along, asking if the way Bartlet handles his multiple sclerosis is the way Sheen would want for his character. Sheen responds, "When I first saw that in the script, I thought it was my initials. I didn't have a clue what was coming down." He says he thinks it's great. Spencer makes some remarks about addressing the real human frailties, physical and emotional, of a public leader, and the passion with which Sorkin wrote the story line. He points out that now they're dealing with the reverberations of the decisions Bartlet made about his illness. Sheen adds that they knew they were going to pay for keeping it secret and that everything would eventually unravel. Rose asks Sorkin whether he knew this would be the final episode, in the way that he knew A Few Good Men would end up in the courtroom. Sorkin says that in writing that play and then the movie, he had the opportunity to write the script many times, whereas he describes writing for serialized television as being like walking in total darkness, unable to see any further ahead than a flashlight's beam, not knowing exactly where you're going. "When I did the MS episode, no, I didn't...as Martin said, obviously we were going to pay for it. We were going to have to talk about this. I knew it, but I didn't know what I was going to do, and really I was doing it simply...this is going to sound ridiculous, but two things happened at once: I wanted to, I thought it would be...because I like to show things about the President we don't get to see, I wanted to show him sick in bed, having to watch afternoon television the way the rest of us do. A man who in his life has never seen a soap opera, or one of those panel shows. At the same time, I had been talking to Stockard Channing about coming on to the show and playing the First Lady, and in the middle of a lunch with Stockard, I don't know what she was saying but I had the idea, 'What if she's a medical doctor? Might be something interesting.' And all of sudden he had MS and she was the one who knew and really the story just sort of caught fire like that. Like I said, I knew eventually, we're going to have to address mostly the deception, but didn't know what I was going to do. Didn't know how...that tomorrow night..." Rose interrupts again; does he get paid more if he interrupts or something? Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, let them finish what they're saying! This guy needs to attend the Barbara Walters school of interviewing. There's someone who knows how to keep her cakehole shut and let subjects talk, often to the point of just about hanging themselves.

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West Wing




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