An Unfortunate Episode – The West Wing S5:E18: Access

The West Wing (Screen: NBC)

Oh crud, I’m three minutes into this episode and already I give up…

The Drums of Democracy take us to a card and voiceover informing us that tonight’s episode of an 80s-aesthetic-slash-public television show entitled Access1 is brought to you by viewers like you. Wait a second – did this voiceover guy also play the reporter in the black white supremacist bit on Chappelle’s Show? Ohmigod I need to look this up.

He did not. Damnit! Back to this unfortunate episode.

Film school shot of our heroine C.J. Cregg through the viewfinder of a different documentary camera. There’s a metaphor here, and I’m not drunk enough2 to look for it. Some verbal ping pong between C.J. and the show’s producer/director/Chad exposits that we’re watching a day-in-the-life type piece, and Chad is always surprised when people agree to be featured. Confidence, m’dear Chad! Find some!

CJ reiterates that filming her won’t be a back door to spending a lot of time with senior staff or POTUS since that’s not what she does all day, which tells us the Divine Miss Cregg will face something rather important before this day in her life is over. I watch TV! I know how this works! Some cinema verite verite3 and we get a standard West Wing title card of ‘Access’.

  1. Hey! So’s the episode! What a coincidence.  
  2. I am, in fact, dead sober, sitting in a coffee shop at 6:42pm on a weeknight. Because if we’re going to watch this failed attempt at network television, I’m going to do it in style.  
  3. As in, making it seem like there’s really a film crew filming this totally real situation.  

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