We watched The West Wing last night. While I found the episode fairly compelling and touching, I found a lot to be desired about it.
I didn’t like how it focused solely on one character and her personal struggles. I really hope this isn’t going to develop into a pattern.
Then there was how they had the character of C.J. Craig dealing with her father, an early stage Alzheimer’s Disease sufferer. Her character didn’t come across as compassionate and concerned, except in how it directly influenced her. At times, she showed flashes of compassion and concern, but overall I found her distant and self-absorbed. I know this is how coping begins, but it still struck a nerve with me. I know that it’s tough to deal with family matters when you are in a position of authority. However, she (the character) is an only child and her mother is dead. The father has remarried, but the wife was scared and left him, so it would leave C.J. to deal with this. I think the writers could have done a better job of having her deal realistically with it. She basically makes it a pitstop on her run back to Washington. In the middle of a speech, she recieves a call from The White House and ANSWERS IT (c’mon… who would answer a phone call in the middle of delivering a speech?) and is jetting back to Washington in like 5 minutes, without even finishing the speech.
The actor who played the father was superb. Alzeheimer’s isn’t an easy disease to portray on TV, and there are some who can do it and some who can’t. He was one of the former.
At one point in the show, they showed Toby doing a press conference and floundering like a fish out of water. I would think that the communications director of The White House could deliver a daily briefing, but hey, I didn’t write the show. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the White House have assistant press secretaries or briefers or something like that? You know, people who deal with minor press conferences and fill in for the press secretary when he/she has to do something else (like take a day off, go home for a week, etc.). Toby is the communications director, would he really be “filling in” for the press secretary when she has to do something else, espcially if he can’t deliver a press conference.
I was offended that they had an incessant need to wrap everything up in the one episode. I would have written it so C.J. dealt with it better and different. I would have had her take a week or two to make arrangements, set him up where he could be taken care of, etc. In other words, actually deal with the problem and set him up with a caretaker who could deal better with the situation. From a personal perspective, I wouldn’t necessarily have dealt with it that way, but C.J. is the press secretary for the President of the United States, so her character would probably not run to take care of him personally, this I understand. I don’t want them to write a show from my perspective, but I do want to see it done better.
This show has been my favorite since I saw the first episode and I have seen every episode since. If I can’t watch it, I tape it and watch it later in the week. This has to be the worst done episode I’ve seen of this show so far. I expect a little more from this show, especially when dealing with a subject as heavy-duty as Alzheimer’s.