The West Wing

Season 6 Episode 13

King Corn

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Jan 26, 2005 on NBC
7.9
out of 10
User Rating
82 votes
1

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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The presidential candidates journey to Iowa, where democrats Russell and Santos, and republican Vinick, are all told by their handlers that when they appear before before the corn growers association they must support subsidies for the use of corn-derived ethanol as fuel, regardless of their true feelings.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Heartbreak Hotel

    7.0
    Ah, the heartbreak of awkward hotel run-ins with your ex-coworker whom you are in love with but don’t really know it, and don’t really know what to do about it. It happens to us all at some point, doesn’t it? No? Just me, Josh and Donna then. Seriously though, I really wanted to cry at the end of this episode. And not just because I realized that there is no new episode next week. The last scene with Donna looking out her door at the conflicted, inner-struggling Josh, and then the pull back through the hotel hallway with the aptly chosen song “Desire” playing in the background was just so beautifully sad. I really loved the storyline of my favorite non-couple this episode. I think I actually felt physical pain watching them go through that agonizing elevator small talk. Then Josh’s reaction, and when he goes back outside, and stands outside her door… television at its finest. I also loved the parallel scenes of both their mornings. I love when we get to see these people outside of the workplace and in the comfort of their homes…or hotel rooms.



    As for the other plots in this episode, I enjoyed the ethical issues it confronted. I can’t tell you how glad I am that there is a show on television discussing what I have long been concerned with about campaigns and pandering. I hate that politicians always tell us what we want to hear. I would like to hear the truth, personally. I’m also glad that they were realistic about the fact that the truth is very often unpopular and political suicide. I found it odd but interesting that Santos and Vinick had a nice diner chat. I’m not sure they would be so amiable, especially with Santos admitting that had pandered and essentially gone against his own beliefs to win votes. I have a suspicion that this might come back to haunt him in the general election when…er, IF those two candidates get there.



    I have a concern about the general state of the show that I would like to address. At this show’s beginning, I always felt like I was being educated while I watched. I felt that The West Wing was my little window into the inner workings of the White House. I believed that whatever happened on the show was more or less an accurate portrayal. I don’t feel that way anymore. I don’t have “so that’s how that works” moments. It could be because the show has been around for long enough that the novelty is just not there, but I think its something else. It seems to me that the show is preaching about issues a lot now, which I love don’t get me wrong, but its getting a little too “Aesop’s Fables”-like lately. I need to continue to be able to use the phrase “like on The West Wing” in government class.



    OTHER THOUGHTS:



    - I don’t know how I suddenly became such an ill-informed citizen, but I was shocked and dismayed when I didn’t hear “stay tuned for scenes from next week’s all new West Wing” at the end of the episode. I discovered that this is because of the State of the Union. I know, I know, information about our real government is more important, but personally I’d rather see Bartlet on my television than Bush any day of the year.



    - Teri Polo’s character is being perfectly set up as a potential First Lady. I like that she has definite political opinions from the beginning, that she loves her kids, and that she stands up for both her husband and for saying what you believe. Another example of star power in a minor (for now) role.



    - I was so happy to see Jill Taylor back on TV! For those of you who didn’t recognize her, Patricia Richardson, Jill on Home Improvement, was Arnie Vinick’s campaign manager in this episode. Now all they have to do is bring Matthew Perry back and I will be as happy as a clam.



    - Even though I like seeing all these up and coming stars of the new cast after Bartlet leaves office, I wish they could have made it a little more suspenseful. Most attentive viewers can tell who will be in the general election from a mile away. If they divided their time more equally between Santos, Hoynes, and Russell, and maybe another Republican candidate or two, they would increase the shock factor a lot for upcoming primary election episodes.



    - Overall, Good stuff with Josh and Donna, but a lot of weaknesses in this episode.



    Written- 1/27/2005

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Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

Jimmy Smits

Jimmy Smits

Matthew Santos (Episodes 114-)

Bradley Whitford

Bradley Whitford

Josh Lyman

Janel Moloney

Janel Moloney

Donna Moss (Episodes 23-, recurring previously)

Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Senator Arnold Vinick (Episodes 123-)

Joshua Malina

Joshua Malina

Will Bailey (Episodes 78-, recurring previously)

Jay Paulson

Jay Paulson

Roger

Guest Star

Miriam Shor

Miriam Shor

Christine

Guest Star

Chris Coppola

Chris Coppola

Howard

Guest Star

Teri Polo

Teri Polo

Helen Santos

Recurring Role

Gary Cole

Gary Cole

Bob Russell

Recurring Role

Patricia Richardson

Patricia Richardson

Sheila Brooks

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Before Santos' speech, Josh says, "Matt, take the pledge." The closed captioning says, "Matt, take the oath."

    • There is a train wreck news story on TV in the background of this episode (appears in all 3 candidates experiences). Strangely, the day the episode first aired, a suicidal man caused the worst train wreck in a decade.

    • In this episode, there is a scene where Josh and Donna are checking into their hotel rooms. In the scene, Josh is having trouble opening his door using his key card so Donna comes over and helps him with it. This scene is reminiscent of a previous episode "20 Hours in L.A." where the same thing happens except at that time they were still working together and they had adjoining rooms.

    • Neither the crime of adultery nor the death penalty exists in Turkey. It is ironic that the U.S. is one of the few countries whose federal government (as well as most of the states) still allows the death penalty.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Russell (on making ethanol from corn): It takes more oil to transport it and fertilize it than we save using it.
      Will: Sir, you're not considering changing the speech?
      Russell: Don't worry, I'm not suicidal. I'm going to take the pledge.

  • NOTES (6)

    • In "20 Hours in L.A.", Bartlet tells Hoynes that he admired the way Hoynes had hung in on the issue of ethanol tax credit in Iowa 2 years earlier and that Bartlet agreed with him on the issue but Hoynes was the only one to say it. This closely echoes the premise of "King Corn".

    • Music at the beginning of the episode is "Walkin' After Midnight" by Patsy Cline, available on her "Greatest Hits" CD, and "Green, Green Grass of Home" by Johnny Cash from his "At Folsom Prison" CD.

    • 7.1/11 rating

    • Alan Alda appears to be credited as part of the main cast, appearing in the opening montage of this episode, even though he is absent from the opening credits of subsequent episodes.

    • Music: The song played at the end of the episode is "Desire" by Ryan Adams, from his "Demolition" CD.

    • Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Dule Hill, Stockard Channing, and Mary McCormack do not appear in this episode. Richard Schiff appears only briefly, seen on TV issuing a statement from the White House.

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Senator Arnold Vinick: "I could take these people to a DMZ, it wouldn't take their minds off ethanol and abortion."
      The reference to the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone) in Korea is possibly a reference to Alan Alda's role as Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H, which was set during the Korean War.

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