The West Wing

Season 7 Episode 7

The Debate (East Coast)

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Nov 06, 2005 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (11)

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out of 10
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  • Live from Los Angeles, it\'s The West Wing with Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits.

    I have to admit that I was more than a little skeptical when this idea was announced a few months back. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I got into this fake Presidential debate. Frankly, it was more intriguing and entertaining than all three of Bush and Kerry’s debates combined. I wish they had done their debate this way, as it might have made more people care about voting.

    With that being said, the only drawback I had for this entire episode were the fake reactions from the audience. You can tell that it was scripted and I didn’t really need it. Forrest Sawyer was a great choice as the moderator for this debate. He has the kind of forcefulness that was needed to control these two debaters as they fought it out against one another. Did anyone else notice on the live East feed that Alan Alda was laughing during the introductions at Jimmy Smits. It didn’t look like it was supposed to have happened as Jimmy had this really weird look on his face when the camera cut from Alda doing that to him.

    Lawrence O’Donnell’s writing and Alex Graves directing was some of the best of the series since Sorkin left. O’Donnell’s script was wonderfully done and didn’t even seem like it was a script at all, which is what a good script is supposed to be. Graves directed this show perfectly with all the camera moves and the shots to the audience as they were watching the debate. They should both be remembered come Emmy time as it is greatly deserved.

    I personally enjoyed Alda’s performance more than Smits’ because he seemed more Presidential and it seemed like he was actually debating a real debate; it was almost as if he wasn’t acting at all. I do have to admit that Smits was probably the most Presidential he has ever been during the entire time he has been running for President.

    It was clear to anyone that watched this show that before it even came on, the advantage would go to Santos as that’s the way John Wells wants it to be. I actually think Santos won barely, but it this was real I wouldn’t vote for him. They basically portrayed Vinick to the point that you know not many people would vote for him because of his actions.

    One of the best episodes of TWW in a really long time.

    Possible Emmy Nominations: Alan Alda (Actor), Jimmy Smits (Actor in a Drama Series), Lawrence O’Donnell (Writing in a Drama Series), Alex Graves (Directing in a Drama Series). Also this episode should be on of the ones sent out for Drama Series