Tag Archives: rob lowe

Joy of Sets: The West Wing

Ah, The West Wing… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

1) This is a show about a US presidential administration. Lesser shows would have opened with Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) winning the election. Creator and writer Aaron Sorkin drops us in on average day in the West Wing. Not just mid-term, but mid-today’s-issue (the president has ridden his bike into a tree and his deputy chief of staff (Josh Lyman, played by Bradley Whitford) has been provoked into an ill-advised quip about God on TV). In just the first few minutes the distinctive tone is set – the mix of manoeuvering, intelligence, gravitas, humour, dedication to duty, smart-assery and snark that West Wing aficionados love with a passion.

2) The dialogue. Really this should be at number one, but common sense dictates that I explain what the hell the show is about first. Sorkin’s dialogue is perfection. I could fill page upon page with writing so good I want to frame it and hang it on my walls (I won’t, but pop over to the West Wing page of Wikiquotes when you’re finished here to get the general idea). The West Wing is a wordy show, but each and every word has earned its place, and in just three short lines in that first episode you can get the entire atmosphere of the show. (Chief of staff Leo McGarry (John Spencer) walks into the West Wing and is greeted by a member of security: “Nice morning Mr McGarry.” Leo: “We’ll take care of that in a hurry, won’t we Mike?” Mike: “Yes sir.”)

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Brothers & Sisters: Crash!

I’d been getting a bit jaded with the Walkers of late. They are, each and every one of them, completely self-absorbed and selfish, and mainly self-pitying.

At the head of the table is Nora, the matriarch from hell. She’s all lovely fuzzy-focus smiles and rosy-apple cheeks – until you dare to suggest that, since you’re well over 30 and have been married for some time, you may want to spend a birthday/Thanksgiving/Sunday/meal in your own home rather than at hers. Then she lays on emotional blackmail in mom-sized dollops and starts ringing your siblings and making a fuss.

Since the siblings comprise the eternally miserable and self-loathing Sarah, the egomaniac Kitty, the wet-as-the-wettest-Wednesday Justin, waste of space Tommy and “if I wasn’t gay I’d be pathetic” Kevin, why do I enjoy watching this show?

Mainly, it’s the non-Walkers I like. Incredibly each of the Walker children (apart from, currently, Tommy) has managed to snare an adorable partner. Kitty is married to Robert, who I’m willing to bet any money is the most beautiful-smelling man on TV (have you seen his lovely white shirts? He looks like he smells of the cleanest clean cotton and a splash of something very expensive and subtle around his firm jawline). Kevin is married to Scotty, and if there’s a more adorable human being than Scotty in the whole of California I’d be very surprised. Justin has the radiant Rebecca, which means he is also lucky enough to have Holly and David as in-laws. Even Sarah has managed to bag herself a lovely Frenchman.

And there’s Saul. I do like Saul.

Anyways, over the past few weeks I got a bit behind with my B&S episodes, but I’m all caught up now and have just watched the season 4 finale. And what a lot has been going on. The Walkers have managed to lose Ojai foods. It’s taken them 4 seasons, but they’ve finally run William Walker’s business into the ground.

All isn’t lost, however… Continue reading


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Brothers and Sisters: Don’t marry her, have me

(Season 4, ep 16) Luc is back in Sarah’s life, and all should be fine, dandy and fuzzy-focus sunflower fields. But there’s a problem. Luc has almost outstayed his legal welcome, and faces deportation back to France in only four weeks.

Luckily his art dealer has offered to marry him. For reasons best known to Sarah, she thinks this is a better plan than marrying him herself. Until she changes her mind, which is the cue for Nora, Kitty and Sarah to rush off and stop the wedding before Luc can say “Je do.”

Of course this means that he’s still due to be deported in four weeks. Still, this gives Kitty ample time to be elected President of the United States and change all the immigration laws. Stranger things have happened on Brothers & Sisters.

It was actually a rather odd episode. What was going on with Kevin and Robert? Robert has a new job but won’t say what it is. Kevin won’t work for a man who won’t say what his new job is, so resigned. Robert threw him a leaving party at which he, Kevin and a handful of non-speaking extras got all tearful about how much Robert and Kevin love each other (in a brotherly sense).  Frankly I was confused.

There’s also a mystery involving Nasty Man Dennis. It looks like Nora knows more about Nasty Man Dennis than we previously thought, but she’s keeping quiet about it.

And Rebecca is dealing with her grief over her miscarriage by throwing herself into ballet. She told Justin that she felt this was a reasonable response. She didn’t grow up with hundreds of brothers and sisters, she explained, and therefore isn’t used to endlessly discussing every problem. This was an entirely new concept to Justin, but he’s embraced it enthusiastically and has taken to turning up at her ballet lessons and gazing supportively at her through the window. Whether Rebecca finds this therapeutic or not, we’ll have to wait and see.

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Brothers and Sisters: Say hello to Luc, wave goodbye to Roy

What to get your newish girlfriend for Valentine’s Day? How about a rubbish painting she’s been hankering after? Roy (the love child of Zach Braff and Gary Lineker) felt that this would be an adorable gift for Sarah, but at the same time he couldn’t help feeling that Sarah wasn’t quite as adorable as he’d thought. Meanwhile Sarah had been thinking much the same about Roy – at roughly the same time as she started receiving texts from her ex, hunky Frenchman Luc.

You remember Luc – the one who was good at everything? Swimming, cooking, art… Wait a minute! That painting… surely not? Yes! It turned out that the ugly painting had been done by the lovely Luc, and when Sarah went back to the gallery to return Roy’s gift, there was her ex, all ready to rush into her arms. Sarah’s man magnetism is clearly in full working order.

Kitty did a bit of magnetising a while back, when she almost had an affair with The Man in the Park. Now she’s running for public office and has employed a southern belle called Buffy to do her PR. Buffy may be fluffy, but she knows her stuff and wasted no time in rooting The Man in the Park out of the woodwork. His hair has grown a bit (so has Kitty’s) but he told Robert that he never had sex with that woman. Robert believed him, and they are now on a manly handshake footing with each other.

The sad news of the week is that Rebecca has lost the baby. This was more or less an excuse for a Nora/Holly bonding session, which led to Holly cancelling the deal whereby she would sell all her shares in Ojai to The Nasty Man (Dennis).

Kevin has been at the hair straighteners and was sporting a bit of a spiky ‘do, which rather suited him. Still not as good looking as Scotty, though.

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Brothers and Sisters: You can’t resist Sarah, you can’t vote “no” to Kitty

It’s about time someone set up some kind of counselling programme for the Walkers. All soap characters are, by plot necessity, unnaturally intermingled and co-dependent, but none of the Walkers can breathe without okaying it with the rest of the family first.

And when there’s a disagreement in the ranks, they sulk like crazy. This week, Kitty had decided to run for political office (filling the void briefly  left by Robert, who moments earlier had decided to retire from the cut and thrust of political life). The family, for reasons best known to themselves, held a secret ballot to see who was behind Kitty’s plan. There was one lone “no” vote, which Kitty took to be from Nora, and an almighty bout of sulking ensued.

It turned out to be Kevin. It wasn’t that he didn’t think Kitty was up to the task of being a senator, it was more that he didn’t want to be dumped with the task of being her press person, but couldn’t face the task of telling her directly.

Despite being the Walker with the successful career and the happiest personal life (who wouldn’t love being married to Scotty? The man is just perfect), Kevin is a bundle of insecurity, apparently. This all came out at a school reunion, as these things tend to do. Kevin couldn’t help but exaggerate  how marvellous his life was – he was being congratulated about imminently becoming a father even as he was getting news from Scotty that their surrogate hadn’t managed to get pregnant yet.

At the end of the episode the family had another vote about whether they backed Kitty’s campaign or not, and this time she got the unanimous vote she wanted. What a heart-warming moment.

Sarah’s heart was warmed when boyfriend Roy finally found her irresistible (it had to happen – this is Sarah we’re talking about)  and they checked into a motel room. Then, wouldn’t you know, she got a text from recent flame Luc, who wishes to fan that flame into a raging fire once again. I don’t mean he wants to burn down the motel, but once he finds out about Roy, who knows? These Frenchmen can be very passionate.

Holly, meanwhile, was continuing with her plan to do the Walkers down. I’m enjoying this aspect of the plot, because it’s like Dynasty only with fruit instead of oil. Poor Holly wasn’t enjoying it though, because getting The Nasty Man (whose name I never catch) to co-operate involved bestowing her feminine favours on him. And, like I said, he is a Nasty Man, so we can assume it wasn’t at all enjoyable for Holly. Then she went back home to find that David, who had been leaving, was now staying. David is probably the cuddliest-looking man in the world, so at least she had a shoulder to cry on, but of course couldn’t say why.

And Robert once again wore some fabulous shirts. He really does have the nicest shirts on television. So beautifully ironed as well. And he looks like he smells gorgeous.

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Brothers & Sisters: Thank heavens William Walker had so many affairs

“But you mustn’t let Justin/Kitty/Mom/Kevin/Sarah/Tommy know,” is the classic Brothers & Sisters line. Someone says it, in some form, almost every week. And, a matter of minutes later, someone has let Justin/Kitty/Tommy etc know, and they’ve let everyone else know, and they all find out they all know usually in the middle of a family dinner.

Hardly an episode goes by without this happening. It’s the engine that runs the plot of the average B&S episode. Not this week. This week contained a mild form of “Don’t tell Kevin,” when Kitty revealed to Sarah that she’d once had an affair with someone so mega-famous his name couldn’t even be mentioned, but it wasn’t Bill Clinton. Sarah wasted no time in telling Kevin and Justin, obviously – you can’t keep juicy gossip like that to yourself, though unfortunately she whispered it so we never found out. Boo. I couldn’t help speculating. Someone mega-famous… Surely not George W Bush? Or… Michael Jackson?

The real centrepiece of the story is that we’re apparently all bored with the Kitty cancer plot now (or is that just me?), so she’s been cured by a bone marrow transplant. All the siblings were tested and found not to be a match. Nora, despite looking ever-youthful thanks to fuzzy focus was too old to donate. But thank the lord for William Walker scattering his seed far and wide. Ryan Lafferty was found to be a perfect match, and it worked out very well for him as Holly had just confronted him about sabotaging her award-winning wine. He’d been caught on CCTV at the time the wine vats were drained.

Kitty and Robert renewed their marriage vows and everyone cried a bit, including Rebecca who was probably wondering whether she’ll finally get to finish her wedding now.

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Brothers & Sisters: Kitty collapses at the wedding

I was tempted to say “typical Kitty,” for managing to make herself the centre of attention at Justin and Rebecca’s beach wedding. She crumpled to the sand while reading a poem by e.e. cummings, and as the episode ended Justin was frantically giving her mouth-to-mouth.

But that wouldn’t be fair to Kitty. Following tests, she’d been told that the cancer wasn’t responding to treatment and in fact was growing, but she chose not to tell anyone – she didn’t want to disrupt Robert’s political plans, and she didn’t want to spoil the wedding.

Mother Nature had had a go at spoiling the wedding, when a hurricane rendered the original wedding venue of Hawaii a no-go. Then Tommy had a go at ruining the wedding, by bringing his daughter Elizabeth to L.A. from Seattle without her mother’s permission. Kevin rang Julie to let her know, and she turned up at the Walker residence to whisk her curly-haired offspring away.

Then Justin had a go at spoiling the wedding by throwing a hissy fit about not being ready for husbandhood and fatherhood. As Jeremy Kyle would say, “You should have thought of that before you had unprotected sex!”

However, Justin had a change of heart when he chanced upon an accident and proved to be top banana at first aid. He realised he wasn’t such a rubbish medical student after all, and told Rebecca he would henceforth have confidence in himself. Just as well, as it turned out, what with his sister needing his help during his beachfront nuptials and all.

I’m no expert in Californian law, obviously, but I’m not certain how legal this marriage would have been, given that Saul was officiating. He was standing in for Robert, who’d scooted off to Washington. Would it even have been legal with Robert in charge?

Meanwhile, Nora is head over heels in love with the motorbiking oncologist, so much so that she goes into even fuzzier focus than usual so she looks radiant. But is she being scammed? He’s got her investing in some kind of philanthropic money-making scheme, and then mysteriously decided he couldn’t come to the wedding because he’s needed elsewhere. Brazil, perhaps.

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