Comments on West Wing 6.17

I meant to rewatch last week's West Wing before I blogged about it, but I haven't done that, and I should get my thoughts up before this week's episode airs.

Upon reflection, I don't think the Canada border dispute plotline worked that well. Because the situation was so absurd, the best way to play it would have been the characters to take it really seriously, rather than have the characters constantly talking about how the situation was so absurd and that they can't really take it seriously. Maybe if the military dispute with Canada plotline hadn't been used in both South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and in Canadian Bacon it would have worked the way it was used in this episode. But the way it was played ended up being unsatisfying. However, Kate's resolution of it was both clever and in character.

The main plotline with the Congressional scheming was really fun. It did a good job of developing Santos and Cliff, and the new guy Congressman they introduced who lives in his office was pretty good for a one shot character. Also, the Democratic House members having a slumber party in that office was a much better variety of absurd then the Canada material. It also sets up Cliff as a future White House staffer under the Santos administration.

Jed's quarrel with his co-Nobel prize winner was done pretty well, but they should have brought out more of Jed's extremely nerdy side from the early episodes. A little of it came out, but this would have been a great oppurtunity for some of Jed's patented pointless trivia.

As for the final plotline, I will be adding something about voting rights for people under 18 to the hypothetical political platform I have in my head, which is mostly made up of redistricting reform and some changes in criminal law and civil procedure. It seems like one good solution is to keep the categorical inclusion of anyone over eighteen while dropping the categorical exclusion of all of those who are under. Then create some kind of test so that under eighteen year olds who are interested can gain the right to vote, though I'm not sure at what age we would want people to become eligible for testing. While some might find this problematic, I would be happy if most voters gained access to their voting rights earlier and had to engage in some civic republicanism. The main difficulty I foresee is getting consensus that the content of the test is non-partisan.