This episode was everything that some of us diehards have been experiencing for the past month or so, tucked into the dialogue of three pinheads whose name Matt didn\'t even care to get right.
\"When you say you write the show, what does that mean?\" \"If you do well enough, will they let you perform?\" And when they were distracted by the ballplayer, and then got so much more excited by seeing Simon ... how [i]frustrating[/i] were these people?
There was another theme Sorkin wove into this discussion -- something that he doesn\'t forget. That America is engaged in putting people in harm\'s way. While Tom is entertaining millions of people every week, his brother is fighting a war, and on some level defending his ability to do so.
So Middle America\'s reaction to jokes at the administration\'s expense at such a time is understandably nuanced, to say the least. There are good-hearted folks who honestly can\'t separate the fate of America\'s troops from the perception of America\'s leadership, and get understandably angry with sophomoric lampoonery.
Although the other discussion Sorkin brought in was in my opinion just as valid. Even after participating in a decisive, tide-turning victory in World War II, Weinraub returned just in time to get blacklisted in the Red Scare. These freedoms we\'re defending, the battlefield is not the only place these wars are fought.
And debate [i]is[/i] shut down -- less often, as people realize what\'s going on. Support of the troops is not the same as supporting the president. And insightful social satire is an important force for change unique to democracies and part of a tradition tracing through Shakespeare, Voltaire and Samuel Clemens.
And as important as this satire, these jokes, this lampoonery, is to our national conversation and emotional wellbeing, the defense of it is as well.
So Tom\'s failure to connect with his father was an important illustration. And so was his effort to reach out with the Abbott and Costello routine, which [i]is[/i] a piece of comic genius.
As for the not-funny comic, Simon had a point in bringing Matt to the club, and his reaction was good as well. It was a nice juxtaposition of easy writing and hard writing. But what the guy they ultimately hired will bring to the room is the fresh perspective Simon wants. And what the room will do is make it funny.
The fact that Darren Wells gave Jordan McDeere his phone number is a nice crack to send through the little Harriet-Darren pairing -- especially since he was mostly interested in reading about her at the sex clubs. She handled herself magnificently, I thought, and Harriet as well. I liked that Jordan was trying to reach out and make friends, and how genuinely bad she was at it.
And I loved Jack\'s assault on Danny over the UN show \"Nations.\" That was almost certainly part of what Sorkin faced in pitching a show set in the White House, and all of Jack\'s immediate reactions were perfectly understandable. And [i]fun[/i]. It was cool that he got that nice well-written, well-reasoned rant.
The concern that the show is terribly leftwing is valid. The show is. But part of Sorkin\'s genius is that he really does completely understand the perspective of the opposing view and can write truly intelligent debate from both sides. The fact that the leftwingy side tends to prevail is simply gratifying for those leftwingers among us who don\'t see our point of view prevail too often in real life, but good debate elevates us in a way that the shrill screaming matches between extremist ideologues does not.
I thoroughly, [i]thoroughly[/i] enjoyed this episode, and I hope to G-d we can have a hundred more. :)