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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Please...make...her...stop....

I've been watching episodes from my DVD set of The West Wing's first season, and while I'm realizing how I'd forgotten how good Aaron Sorkin's writing back in the show's first couple of years was, I'd also forgotten about what may be the greatest error Sorkin's ever made. I'm talking about Moira Kelly's character, the political consultant/public relations person named Mandy. My God, she is unbelievably annoying, and somehow she manages to drain the energy out of every scene she enters. It's not Kelly's fault, per se -- it's just the character. She's a complete drag, often serving no purpose other than to iterate something so that everyone else on the show can reject it.

Notably, Mandy was written out of the show for the second season -- but in what would later prove to be the first bit of significant evidence that long-term continuity isn't one of Sorkin's writerly gifts, rather than later, he never provided any explanation for her departure. She just totally vanished, despite the facts that she was in the first season's finale and that the second season opener picks up exactly where the previous finale left off.

If only Sorkin had reduced Mandy's screentime, and increased the screentime he allotted to recurring character Lord John Marbury by an equal amount....

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