I had a terrific birthday, at least for the first two-thirds of the day. Woke up to coffee and Shipley's donuts, courtesy of Mr. Sus and the munchkin. Opened some presents. Went shopping in Rice Village, bought a cute skirt at Banana Republic, discovered that I'm apparently a size smaller than I thought, and had tapas for lunch. Then we went home, where Mr. Sus gamely watched three episodes of Veronica Mars with me. Unfortunately, the tapas apparently did not agree with me, because I spent the rest of the evening feeling horribly nauseous which sort ruined the going-out-to-dinner-and-eating-birthday-c
And then last night I watched West Wing. Ya'll, it nearly killed me. Seriously, I cried pretty much through the entire hour. It's hard to try to form an objective opinion about something I have such a sentimental stake in, but I thought it was very well done. I applaud all the actors for doing an amazing job with something that must have been tremendously difficult. Brad, Allison, and Kristin Chenoweth, I thought, were particularly excellent. It was lovely how spare the dialogue was, how much the episode relied on the actor's expressions to tell the story, how internal and very real their grief was. I was sad they couldn't get Allison Smith to come back for the episode, but happy to see the repeated references to Mallory. Part of me was afraid they'd just pretend she didn't exist and expect us to forget about her, and part of me suspects if Aaron was still writing the show that's what he would have done. But maybe that's not fair.
It was particularly hard to watch the scenes in the hospital. Methodist is the hospital where I was born, the hospital where my mother had both her mastectomies, the hospital where she died. It was like a stab to the chest when they said that's where they'd taken Leo. It's not a place I'm eager to revist, but fortunately whatever hospital in L.A. they used looks nothing like the real Methodist Hospital so it didn't bring on too many flashbacks. Other moments that were particularly wrenching were Josh and Donna's silent ride in the elevator, Annabeth breaking the news to Josh, C.J. telling the president, and Margaret watching the news reports. I was afraid they'd forget about our Margaret, but they didn't, thank goodness. The one that really had me balling, though, was the pan across the West Wing offices, with everyone silently watching the monitors. And then Josh in Leo's hotel room, and the lingering shot of Leo's glasses. *sob* And of course, "Thanks, boss."
On a more shallow note, I thought they hit just the right note with the Josh/Donna stuff. That was the old Josh and Donna dynamic that used to make my knees quiver--the Noel J/D, the ITSOTG J/D. The Donna who knows exactly how to be there for Josh, quietly, implicitly, but without pushing or trying to intrude too much. I liked that they didn't go all ultra-clingy with each other. Conversely, I'm glad they didn't try to turn it into some stupid excuse for them pull away from each other, either. I thought it was just right. Especially that hug at the end, the way that Josh was holding on to Donna. That hug was even better than the kiss. Way better.