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Monday, May 15, 2006

The West Wing series finale

by Jennifer Squires Biller

Truth be told, I said goodbye to The West Wing a long time ago.

Nevertheless, Sunday’s series finale still got to me. The actors and writers showed us, with aplomb, that painfully lonely feeling we all get when we leave a job and have to say goodbye to friends and the daily routine. Especially poignant, was C.J. standing in the press briefing room, Will and the rubber ball, Charlie and the constitution, and the "Bartlet for America" napkin that Leo gave to Jed posthumously (sniff,sniff.)

While all of that reminded me of what was great about The West Wing, it’s what was missing in the finale that made me almost eager to say goodbye. Gone were the scenes of trademark camaraderie between our favorite West Wingers. Despite Rob Lowe checking back in for the end, we barely got a glimpse of him. Why bring him back if the old Josh/Sam/C.J./Donna magic wasn’t going to take place on screen? And where was Toby? We did get a mention of him when the president pardoned him, but after all these years, his character deserved some closure with his friends, and so did we.

I was hoping that Bartlet, or C.J., or someone would have at least thrown a dinner party or a poker game (ah, the good 'ol days) that would have reunited all our favorites and given them the opportunity to reminisce. But, no. Perhaps, the show wanted to keep it real and show everyone going his or her separate ways.

So, as sad as I am to say goodbye, I’m also relieved. A show that redefined television drama and set the benchmark so high that few others have ever reached it, shouldn’t limp into TV history. Goodbye West Wing. Thanks for the memories.

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