sunclouds33 (sunclouds33) wrote in west_wing_fans,

The West Wing: Season 3 Unpopular Opinions

Originally posted by sunclouds33 at The West Wing: Season 3 Unpopular Opinions
Here are my unpopular opinions for The West Wing S3. I'm gearing up for Mad Men Season 4 UOs- because I know that's going to be a monster-post. This one is pretty short and my standards.

1. I love Amy Gardner- and I loved her from the start. In my experience, a bunch of fans did grow to like Amy starting in S4 or S6- once she didn't have a romance with Josh or only had a short-lived, most carnal one in S5. Not me. Josh/Amy was my second favorite ship on the show after Jed/Abbey- because I admire the honesty of a relationship about a break-up. Josh/Amy weren't going to last- and S3 wasn't really about that. It was about how a relationship stands up to the pressures and conflicts of interest of a job, even when both are technically on the "same side" as in Democratic party/liberal interest group.

Within that, I never faulted Amy for pushing NOW's agenda in her relationship with Josh. From the start, Josh admitted that he was a power dater. Amy made it clear that she considers her job at NOW unbelievably important and she will not budge on it to get diddled around by guys like Josh. They knew this going in, right when *Josh* decided to use Amy's concern about paid family leave to con Amy into a date. So everyone can stuff their moral approbation about Amy working for women's interests 24/7, and not taking time off during political functions to stick her head in the sand because she happens to be on Josh's arm.

I've seen a number of posts bashing on Amy for lobbying Abbey try to get more women as senior political operatives for the campaign because Amy supposedly had no right to bring up anything contrary to Josh's interest since Amy was only at Abbey's birthday as Josh's date. Let's be clear, Josh needed a date for Abbey's part and naturally, took Amy. Josh was enjoying his relationship with Amy, but also using her as a beautiful, accomplished date who the First Lady really approved of. However even though Amy was on Josh's arm, Amy's ears and mouth still work. She can't unhear that the candidates for senior positions on the campaign are all men and she shouldn't not bring it up to Abbey, when Amy's heard of an injustice and she's directly in a position to bring it up with Abbey.

2. I know I've written about this when I was recapping TWW on I'm on Abbey's side in her desperation to hold onto her medical license through S3, and I think Oliver Babbish and Donna were really rude and dismissive about it.

There was an unspoken code that everyone was going to absolutely stand up for Jed when he was prosecuted because he's the President, and their jobs and positions and futures rely on Jed facing as little legal and more importantly, political and legacy blow-back from the MS cover-up as possible. But even though Abbey was keeping the same exact secret as Jed and actually, felt more motivated to keep the secret and treat Jed herself and order medication to campaign stops to preserve his health out of great love for him than a desire for power, people were much less sympathetic to Abbey. I deeply resent:

ABBEY I'm a doctor.
DONNA Oh, Mrs. Bartlet, for crying out loud, you were also a doctor when your husband said, "Give me the drugs, and don't tell anybody," and you said, "Okay."

Donna would *never* make that comment to Jed, even if he was bitching about being down in the polls for the last week, and compare that to Abbey vulnerably trying to express herself with the closest thing she can have to "friends" as the First Lady at a hoity toity intensely political birthday party that she didn't even want about how she's terrified that her efforts to treat her husband in secret means that her prestigious, hard-won thirty-something year career as a cardiac surgeon and professor will go up in smoke. Donna would never make that comment to Leo, if she knew that Leo fell off the wagon and didn't tell anyone and was humiliated about that information coming out. And I have all of the sympathy in the world for Jed and Leo here too, however, I don't believe that the sympathy should be finite and shouldn't extend to Abbey just because she's the convenient sacrificial lamb for Jed's and by extension, the staff's political future.

You know what else, it made me sad that Abbey accepted a suspension of her medical license for the rest of Jed's time in office. I wish she fought it.

3. I liked Isaac and Ishmael. I do have a high tolerance for preachiness- but I think the preachiness came with *good material*. It was necessarily a little glib because a lot of issues were covered in like, twenty five minutes worth of scenes with the students. However, there was a rock-solid sensible even-handedness to the discussion which was a pretty rare thing in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I think the KKK is to Muslim terrorists is an insightful analogy (although imperfect, as all substantive analogies tend to be.)

I also like the subversiveness. You know, I actually DO think CJ would romanticize spies as the way to protect the country with as little bloodshed as possible, and do her stock in trade to present manipulation of information and secrecy as wittily and sexily as possible. I don't think Leo is above racism and xenophobia which could come out under stress, and in the unusual situation where he comes face-to-face with a Raqim Ali, White House cryptographer with the barest of circumstantial inferences that he was a conspirator in a bombing, Leo would just get ugly in his prejudice. Without the analytical distance that comes with being the White House COS, tempered by having to justify his strategic thinking to an entire room full of generals, intelligence operatives, and the President.
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