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I love this episode. It's not a classic like the next four episodes… - ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
I love this episode. It's not a classic like the next four episodes (where I intend to party with hyper-meta and flailing because Evidence of Things Not Seen through 25 calls out for that. Still, this is a fun episode with layers of important meaning. Hence, I wrote a *ton* of meta on this puppy. It came pouring out.



The camera takes us around Air Force One. CJ having a conversation with Mark, Kate and other reporters. Apparently, they left Manila a few hours ago and they're trying to figure out what time it is. This conversation is *so* Sorkinesque.

REPORTER STEVE
I've agreed that it's 9:25 from the beginning. I'm just saying it should be 9:25 in the morning.

C.J.
But it's not, Steve; you can just look out the window and check that one off the list.

The pilot announces that they've begun their initial descent but there are problems on the ground that could block their landing. The camera pans over to Jed who is kibutzing with Ed and Larry with Leo on the phone. The deadline to re-certify Colombia as a partner in the war on drugs is at midnight, DC time. Silly Jed, at this point, is expecting to land before midnight and plans to sign the papers in the car.



BARTLET
Just to check, they're going to tell me that the narco-trafficantes are running the Parliament, but that we should recertify them as an ally in the drug war.

Charlie comes in with the pilot who has news on the plane.

WEISKOPF
There's no problem on the ground. When we deployed Hydraulic System One, our nose wheel indicator light didn't illuminate. Now, chances are, it's a problem with the indicator light itself, but at the moment, we have no way of knowing if our front wheel's locked. An f-16's been scrambled from Durbin Air Force Base; they'll be here in 22 minutes.

The pilot leaves and Jed has the perfect line to say to Leo to take us into CREDITS.

BARTLET
Listen, we've got a problem up here.

When we get back, Leo is being hilariously in character and regaling Jed with all of the horror airplane stories that he knows. It's in character in the sense that Leo likes to play with Jed and stuff like airplane safety issues fascinate Leo.

LEO
Seriously, man, if they dug a grave for me every time I lost an indicator light.

There's a sentence you don't hear every day.

BARTLET
I've got a plane full of reporters up here.

LEO
C.J. will know what to do.

It's interesting paralleling Leo's "CJ will know what to do" with the refrain of "Leo will know what to do" in 25. It's definitely a stretch to say that this parallelism foreshadows CJ being made COS but I wouldn't be surprised if the statements were connected in order to make the point that this administration has transcended the insecurities and issues of Season 1 to totally trust each other before even speaking to the other at the end of Season 4.



CJ, Will and Charlie come in and Jed tells them the sitch. CJ's blouse is very lovely.

BARTLET
The press can't know this is going on. There are two issues. One is that the Nikkei's about to open, the other is national security. We can't broadcast that Air Force One is up in the air over West Virginia and can't land.

C.J.
The co-pilot told us it was a problem on the ground; we'll stay with that.

WILL
What are we going to tell them when they see an Air Force Strike fighter outside their window?

C.J.
That's gonna take some thought.

Will gives CJ some tarmac jargon so she sounds credible as she lies to the press that bad stuff is happening on the ground. It's like they're a team already! You can see that Will and CJ are much closer than before the shared jokes of Privateers.



CJ is clearly uncomfortable lying to the press but she covers that up with bravado and making fun of reporters. So in character!

C.J.
Has anyone else noticed that Chris's been on the phone for the last 20 minutes but hasn't spoken?

REPORTER CHRIS
Hang on.

C.J.
Hey, who remembers Dial-a-Joke?

Anyway in an interesting and almost definitely deliberate move, right after CJ provides the press false information about the plane, Chris pulls CJ aside to give her the truth and tell her that there were friendly fire deaths in Kundu a few hours ago. Chris may very well be looking for brownie points but she doesn't ask for a comment or ask any other questions. The scene is definitely there to show that information actually goes both ways between CJ and the press corp (and as a clever way of introducing Toby's subplot for the episode). CJ puts a call in to Leo. With that, we flash back to Washington.



Josh is working with a very cute moderate Republican congressman. I would post a cap of his face but WW Screencaps only has the back of his head for this scene. It's funny that Josh has the most notable chemistry with Republican congressmen- Matt Skinner, this guy Landis, Haffley, etc. but I can't think of a memorable interaction between Josh and a Democratic congressman. What's up with that? Anyway, Landis may be a Republican and kind of a shclemiel but I really took a liking to him. This show has one-off characters that I get strangely attached to.

CONGRESSMAN TOM LANDIS
Does it still feel like there's too much regulation?

JOSH
No.

LANDIS
No, I'm not saying, "Is there?" I'm saying, "Does it feel like there is?"

JOSH
Stop thinking like a Republican.

LANDIS
I am a Republican.

JOSH
And that's fine, I have nothing with that; I really don't. I'm just saying stop
thinking like that.

LANDIS
It's thinking like one that's going to get this bill passed, and I'm tell you, if it feels like, in the toxic provision, that there's too much regulation...

JOSH
It's cleaning up Chesapeake Bay; it's not regulation, and regulation is what Congressmen do.

LANDIS
Oh, not Republican Congressmen; we look out for local businessman.

JOSH
Well, when the Chesapeake starts turning fluorescent colors, local business is gonna have a bigger problem.

LANDIS
Well, that's why I'm supporting this bill.

Josh snarks on Landis's fears.

JOSH
No, it doesn't... feel too regulated; it doesn't have the texture of how do you say, the je ne sais quios...

LANDIS
Shut up.

JOSH
...of big government.

LANDIS
Shut up. Let's get back to work.



Donna appears with a note on Air Force One's trials and travails. This must be the Episode of the Interesting Shirts because Donna, like CJ, is wearing a patterned blouse. I like loose, flowy tops and the cut looks good on her but the pattern is a little too busy.

Landis starts asking Josh if he's ever been to Chesapeake Bay, adding in a subtexty and kind of breathy way, "It's incredibly beautiful". Josh says no rather dismissively because he's reading Donna's note. Then, Landis makes a point of asking Donna if she's ever been to Chesapeake. Maybe I'm a perve who has to read slash into everything but to me it looked like Landis was trying to flirt with Josh, Josh was dismissive, so Landis made a point of asking Josh's assistant (who according to some comments interpreted a certain way, the DC scuttlebutt is that she and Josh are a sort of item) if she's been to Chesapeake. Anyway, there's more at play here than Mid-Atlantic wildlife preservation.

Josh leaves because of the note with Donna and they call back to Donna's distinctive penmanship of Six Meetings Before Lunch.

JOSH
They're having a problem with their landing gear?

DONNA
I know, I wrote the note.

JOSH
No, you wrote they're having a problem with their landing geek.

Donna says that it's probably nothing and Josh asks Donna to fax up Medicare notes to the plane. They run into two Democratic congressmen who Josh greets in a friendly way but with none of the sexual tension of him and Landis. Naturally, the congressmen are a little jealous.



JOSH
Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

SIMMEL
We talked about this.

JOSH
It's nothing. It's Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

SIMMEL
He's a vulnerable Republican. You can't hand him victories, you're giving him his seat back.

JOSH
It's a bipartisan bill. It's a victory for us. It's an environmental bill; the Republicans hate it. It's incredibly regulatory.

SIMMEL
I don't care, it's got his name on it. He's delivering Chesapeake Bay to Maryland. They are going to reelect him.

JOSH
Well, I appreciate your thoughts.

SEGAL
Josh, you know what some Hill Democrats call the Bartlet reelect? They call it the lonely landslide. There's a sentiment that the President wanted a Republican Congress...

JOSH
And that's absurd.

SIMMEL
Then why are you helping one of the most vulnerable Republicans rack up...

SEGAL
You're making an argument for divided government.

JOSH
Divided government's what we got. We should go on a hunger strike?

SIMMEL
No, but do you want to take back the House or what? Because if Hill Democrats don't think your hearts are really in it...

JOSH
Then what?

SIMMEL
There's a reason they're calling it a lonely landslide. I mean, we've talked about this.

Brilliant continuity. Back to Process Stories, Amy and Josh were talking about the danger of Bartlet's landslide reelection victory making congressional Democrats resentful because the landslide didn't come with taking back the House. Again, Sorkin may fudge on details like making Zoey younger in S2 for the MS storyline or the confusion about Leo being from Chicago or Boston. However on the bigger stuff, this show has among the best continuity that I've ever seen. It really makes this show like reading a novel.

This scene is going to track Josh indefinitely because he meets up with Toby in the hallway on the way to Leo's office. Toby heard the news about the plane.

TOBY
I sent Will to the Philippines in my place.

JOSH
It's not like they're not going to fix it. You don't have to feel guilty about it.

TOBY
No, I mean, thank God, I sent Will in my place.

Ha! I love Toby so much.



JOSH
How long before they know?

LEO
They're about five minutes away.

TOBY
Well, that's about all the time C.J.'s got to work with up there 'cause Leo, there's a wire service guy standing at Andrews right now whose job it is to record the wheels downtime and pretty soon he's gonna say, "Show me the fuel spill."

John Spencer gives Toby his patented, "Are you fucking kidding me with this?!" look. Hee!

LEO
A wire guy on the ground? Toby, 20 White House reporters are about to see a supersonic fighter jet 200 feet outside their window. It's gonna be a story, but he's gonna be down by then.

Anyway, Leo tells Toby about the five soldiers that died in friendly fire in Kundu. However in a terrific fit of irony, the Bartlet administration will face the political equivalent of friendly fire because of the actual friendly fire in Kundu. Public opposition from a Democratic congressmen at the liberal Brookings Institution.

Although come to think of it, friendly fire is kind of theme in this episode. There are these linked storyline as well as questioning the friendliness versus damaging relationship of CJ and the press corps and Josh having to deal with fire from congressmen in his own party. Then, there's Jed questioning whether Colombia really is a friend and ally of the United States considering the drug trade and theft that the government engages in at the expense of American interests.

LEO
I need you to talk to Mark Richardson right away tonight. He's speaking at Brookings tomorrow, and he's coming out against U.S. involvement in Kundu.

TOBY
Well, we knew he felt that way.

LEO
We didn't know he was saying so and doing it at the Brookings Institution, so let's see what we can do.

Toby and Josh head out of Leo's office.

TOBY
I meant 'cause of the nuisance of having to circle around up there. When I said, "Thank God, I sent Will instead of me," not 'cause of the other thing.

JOSH
I know what you meant.

I love that Toby felt the need to explain this. Both the relief of not having to deal with the inconvenience and then need to prove after the face that he's not as mean as all that are so freakin' human.



CJ is trying to work with Ed and Larry for a diversion for the press corps.

WILL
It's going to be along the rightside of the plane, and we're going to be in the area
of Harper's Ferry.

C.J.
Blue Ridge Mountains, what can we look at?

LARRY
At night?

C.J.
Anything with lights or fireworks?

ED
It's Wildfire Week at Shenandoah National Park. Lilacs, ochre, crimson.

C.J.
Do they light up?

WILL
We're nowhere near Shenandoah National park; it's a whole different state.

ED
I was looking at Blue Ridge Mountains.

C.J.
Any kind of Festival of Lights or astronomy? Is there a comet?

This is all very adorable but Will and CJ are summoned to meet with Jed.



BARTLET
Will, I was supposed to get a Columbia recertification briefing in the car. Are you in a position to do it up here?

WILL
You wouldn't rather have someone from State?

BARTLET
That statue says it's got to be in person.

WILL
Yeah, I can do it. What are you certifying?

BARTLET
That Columbia is an ally in the drug war. So what's the plan?

C.J.
Ed and Larry are looking for something in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

BARTLET
At night?

C.J.
Something with lights.

BARTLET
Is that gonna work?

WILL
I don't see how it possibly can fail.

Josh Malina's delivery there is so cute. And then Allison Janney looks at him like he's a total freak. Hee!

BARTLET
All right, let's get this over with and land.

In the next scene, CJ and Will wish each other good luck. There's going to be a confrontation.



WILL
Did you say, "good luck," to me?

C.J.
Yeah.

WILL
You're doing it.

C.J.
No, you have to. I screw with them all them time. They're not going to buy it from me.

WILL
They're not going to but it from anybody. That plane's going to be really close.

C.J.
It's not worth a try? Look at me. Look at my face. It's not worth a try?

WILL
"Look at me, look at my face..."?

C.J.
Listen.

WILL
I'm going.

As always, I adore CJ's bluntness. "I screw with them all them time. They're not going to buy it from me." She really doesn't romanticize things. Anyway, Will comes in and he gets very stagey and performy as he tries to distract the press corps. CJ watches him from the back apprehensively.

WILL
Hey, uh, listen everybody, the Colonel just told us that we're about to go by something incredible. And you hardly ever get to see this. It's going to be out the left side of the plane.

REPORTER JOHN
What is it?

WILL
Got to come over to the left side. Everybody, over here. It's coming up.

All the reporters, except for Chris, get up and go over to the left side of the plane
to look out the windows.

REPORTER STEVE
What are we over?

WILL
Well, we're, uh, over the Blue Ridge Mountains, but there's a Festival of Lights and Bonfires in this region that accompany something called the Wildflower-- you know, Renaissance, with lilac and ochre.

REPORTER MARK
That you can see from 33,000 feet?

WILL
Yes, it's arranged in a pattern that befuddles astronomers to this very day. We should be coming up on it any...

This is all so ineffably Aaron Sorkin. "Befuddles astronomers to this very day". No one else writes like this.



I usually like the actress who plays Chris but she has her moment in the sun when she exclaims in her deep, New York accent, "Oh my god!". Her voice makes the scene even funnier. All of the reporters rush over to Chris's side where there's *actually* something to see.

WILL
Of course, on the right side of the plane is an F-16 Falcon.



The reporters immediately start barking questions at CJ and trying to call their editors with the news and CJ sees no other way than hardball. She calls the group that operates the phones and tells them basically to SHUT IT DOWN (Liz Lemon voice). With their phones turned off, the reporters turn to CJ like they've been betrayed and CJ looks uncomfortable and guilty which changes into "I'm going to stand my ground away".

C.J.
There's a problem with the plane's landing gear.

Now, it's a little fucked up that CJ had the power to turn the phones off the press cabin but didn't until reporters found them out and started picking up the phones. To me, it's a perfect illustration of how complicated and even problematic CJ is in her inherent goodness. I think she never became comfortable with how much dishonesty and fakeness her job requires and her tendency to see reporters as friends can be a liability. I believe that CJ is able to live with herself because she creates this illusion that she's not really lying if her subterfuge is clever and borne of wit because if her lies are a mystery that could be solved by enterprising reporters, it's not so impenetrable a system. It's just a game that CJ happens to win most of the times. IMO, this is why she does strange things for a press secretary like declare that she finds leaks comforting (Bad Moon Rising), feel guilty for incorrectly making fun of a reporter (Lord John Marbury) or even why Danny's tendency to find them out turned her on.

CJ can not feel badly about playing the classic game of "Made you look" with the reporters to mislead them complete with the qurkiness of distracting them with a fake light show of lilac and ochre. However, turning their phones off and blocking their communication in an authoritarian way is way too dark for how CJ normally operates. She was really hoping that she would just win the game and it wouldn't come to turning off the phones. That said if you buy CJ's arguments that news on the plane's problems is dangerous for national security reasons and could create panic that could impact the stock markets (and I do), it's disingenuous and problematic of her to not do what she can to keep this story under wraps particularly if she's morally prepared to turn the phones off.

It's an interested and well-characterized conundrum that CJ faces here.



Cue Jed and Colonel Weiskopf. Weiskopf gives Jed a status update. I'd transcribe or meta it but I'm really not interested in "landing geek geekery" to play with Donna's distinctive penmanship. Long story short, they'll be flying around for awhile. Meanwhile, CJ is defiantly taking questions from pissy reporters.



C.J.
No one up here's in a position to file right now.

REPORTER MARK
Not in a position to...? Air Force One isn't landing, and it has a military escort.

C.J.
That's the story you'd file? You wouldn't mention the landing gear?

REPORTER STEVE
We'd mention the landing gear, right along with the maintenance truck and whatever you tell us next.

C.J.
Come on. The maintenance truck was an honest effort to avoid panic. Of course, you were going to know the truth at the end of the incident.

Oh, that's comforting, CJ! I thought these people thought they were done with the fakery and screwing passengers over when they graduated from commercial flights to Air Force One. Although that said, it does give me less sympathy for the reporters. Ordinary commercial passengers are lied to about the goings-on on their planes on a regular basis.

REPORTER JOHN
C.J.?

C.J.
I'm not going to broadcast that the President's plane is in distress. It creates very real security concerns, and it also happens to be a world market event.

STEVE
It is a market event.

C.J.
The story's embargoed. If a cellphone appears in violation of FAA regulations, the cell phone will be confiscated by a steward.

I knew the, "Cell phones screw up the planes" was a bullshit rule. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! According to Wikepedia, the evidence that cell phones interfere with cockpit safety and communications is "anecdotal" and has "not been rigorously proven". Anyway, CJ finds out that they need to refuel. Allison Janney cracks me up as she confidently tells the press corps in a tone that brooks no questions, "We need to refuel" and then nervously asks Will, "*How* do they do that?" Hee! Will explains that a KC-10 will need to get on top of Air Force One to spurt its fuel deep inside. (Will explains it in a much less sexual way. I'm just a dirty recapper.)



Margaret, looking quite attractive in this ep, is nosily asking Leo questions about the landing procedures. Margaret is a knowledge-seeker and I love her for it.

MARGARET
How much longer can they stay up there?

LEO
Theoretically, they can keep getting refueled for months.

MARGARET
I don't really see that happening.

LEO
Me, neither. The Falcon's going to give them a thumb's up, or thumb's down.

MARGARET
And if it's thumb's down, they lay down foam?

LEO
You guys shouldn't be talking about it out there, all right?

Josh comes in and Leo tells him that those two Democratic congressmen came complaining to Leo about Landis working with Josh. Here's Josh's reaction in pictorial form:



Again with the gay subtext. It's like Josh's other suitors are complaining about Josh paying attention to the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, "the leader of the pack, vroom vroom".

JOSH
He didn't storm the gate.

LEO
Well, they would have preferred he had, to your opening it for him.

JOSH
I get the House is angry we didn't take back the House, and setting aside the fact it was their damn fault and not ours-- stopping all bipartisan legislation is like saying, "Let's blow up the place. Maybe voters will hire us to rebuild it."

LEO
I'm with you, but I need you guys to make a small change to Chesapeake.

JOSH
We're finishing it now. What do you need?

LEO
The caucus chair and the D-triple-C want to add revenue enhancement-- a dedicated levy from local businesses-- and they want binding targets on all the nonpoint source stuff.

JOSH
Okay. That's about three different ways of saying a brand-new tax on local business.

LEO
Yes.

JOSH
I'm fine with that. Fact, I'm all for it, but Tom's got to take this back to Republicans.

LEO
And we have to take it to Democrats, and it's reasonable. We put the same provisions in Superfund.

JOSH
Super.

I like that Josh said "super" to putting the same provisions as "Superfund". I'm easily amused. Leo asks for Margaret to dial the Sit Room.

LEO
Major, are we comfortable any longer with the plane up there by itself? I agree. And there's going to be a wire service reporter on the ground at Andrews who's going to start seeing something. You better have them spill some fuel out there. Please, on a runway we're not going to need.

Toby goes to visit Mark Richardson. Remember this guy?



Getting this out in the open, I really don't like Richardson. Like I said, I love characters that aren't friendly or act against the Bartlet administration from Amy to Bruno to Vinick to Babbish. Richardson is different, though, because his opposition just seems so silly to me. He doesn't think that the administration-supported gun control bill in Five Votes Down does enough so he refuses to vote for the bill that would end the grenade-launcher. He supports members of the Black Caucus voting to repeal the estate tax in Ways and Means because there are a handful of black millionaires compared to the vastly more white millionaires. Now, he starts calling out for a draft? It really seems like Mark Richardson is an attention-whore rather than someone who takes courageous stands. His opposition is always based on, "Can you believe an actual Democrat is pulling *this*?! And from the left?!"

That said, he's a little more palatable in this episode than Five Votes Down and Ways and Means because, despite my issues with the character, the actor is good and he gets to do some good acting as he grieves the death of the soldier from his district in this ep.

TOBY
Congressman, I'm afraid I have some bad news. One of your constituents died today. Gunnery Sergeant Harold Dokes from Bedford Stuyvesant. It was a friendly fire accident. Five guys reported fire, and a computer popped their coordinates. And their bodies are being flown here now.

MARK RICHARDSON
What do you want to talk to me about?

TOBY
Your speech at the Brookings Institution tomorrow. Congressman, are you opposing intervention in Kundu because so far, it's the black kids who are doing the dying?

RICHARDSON
Toby, I'm opposing the intervention in Kundu because I'm still waiting for an intervention in Brooklyn.

TOBY
Yeah, but the fact that this is immediate. I mean to say, the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of Africans-- mostly young men-- which calls for...

RICHARDSON
I understand what it... You ever been to a maximum-security prison?

TOBY
Maximum? No.

Cute continuity in the middle of a heavy scene.

RICHARDSON
It's the black kids who are doing the dying there, too.

TOBY
The lives we're saving in Kundu-- and I agree...

RICHARDSON
I wasn't elected by the lives we're saving in Kundu. I was elected by the lives that are doing the saving.

TOBY
But you agree there are moral imperatives?

RICHARDSON
Well, if there are moral imperatives, then you've got to tell me we are going to get everybody. Beginning with the Saudis.

See, Richardson says this like it's clear cut when it's not. No question the Saudi regime has committed atrocities and there's an argument to be made that US support of the regime is amoral. However, "beginning with the Saudis"? I think it's more logical to intervene in the Rwanda-like genocide where hundreds of people are dying by the day with machetes in an effort towards ethnic cleansing. To stop the killing before the Induye are wiped out. Richardson claims to advocate for nuance but opposition is some of the least nuanced arguments in the show.

TOBY
Mark, obviously, we need votes from the Black Caucus next week. Are you telling me it isn't in the vested interest of Black America?

RICHARDSON
It is in the vested interest of working-class America-- black, latino and yes, even white-- to be able to choose between more than a McDonald's uniform and a Marine uniform.

See, now *that's* a good argument.

TOBY
And how is opposing the peacekeeping bill at Brookings going to achieve...?

RICHARDSON
I'm not opposing the peacekeeping bill. In fact, the whole Black Caucus is going to stand behind it, but with a proposed amendment.

TOBY
Doing what?

RICHARDSON
Reinstating the draft. I think the kids in my district are going to live longer if their fortunes are tied a little more closely to the fortunes of the kids in Josh Lyman's district.

Oooh, snark! Gotta give points for Richardson making this personal from my standpoint of admiring well-executed and clever manipulations. I wonder if he's wise to the fact that while Toby and Josh are great friends, one of their biggest divisions is Toby's issues with Josh being much more privileged than him and he's using that to draw a wedge between them.

TOBY
You want to draft a million middle-class kids out of spite?

RICHARDSON
Well, I don't want to draft anybody out of anything. I'm just trying to promote some patriotic unity.

See, I was appreciating Richardson with his mournful look on hearing that one of his constituents died, his "marine uniform vs. McDonald's uniform and his Josh-snark. Then he irritates me again with the spiteful, false way he claims that his proposal is about promoting patriotic unity. His argument would carry more water if he just earnestly continued to argue that the military continues economic inequalities that becomes lethal during wartime.

Anyway, Richardson asks an aid to find out when Jed is calling the parents so Richardson can call next. He offers Toby a drink.

Donna paces outside of Josh's office and finally comes in an exclaims:

DONNA
You know what gripes my ass?

Josh was drinking water but he chokes on it and makes this expression:



LOL! Tremendous aplomb from Brad Whitford although not so much from Josh. As you all know, I'm not a Josh/Donna shippper by any means but this show is so awesome that they did things right in that ship. One of the biggest good things is marrying the smooth, witty sexual tension of a mid-century workplace romantic comedy (Think How to Succeed in Business...) with very real moments of the characters acting awkwardly when the wrong (or should I say, *right*) button is pressed. Brad Whitford is particularly adept at expressing that.



DONNA
How you doing?

JOSH
Good.

DONNA
If anything ever happened to me, chances are going to be when I'm sitting next to you, and I'm going to be an also-dead. "Senior Bartlet adviser Joshua Lyman killed by a pack of wild dogs. Also dead, Diane Moss."

This is a clear illustration of my argument of the Season 4 dynamics of Josh and Donna. They start of the season similar to their old patterns but with some subtle instances of Donna really wanting more respect than she got in the past (see her snark in The Red Mass and her snark and then blow-up in 20 Hours in America which as I argued in the recaps was not about the Po, Po Hoosiers but instead her irritation with Josh.) Donna develops a thing for Jack Reese and her attraction to Jack is married with her resentment of Josh never making a move on her, his past relationship with Amy and his lack of respect for her. Hence the games of "Josh, go ask Jack Reese if he'll go out with me." Meanwhile, Josh realizes that he does love Donna because she's focused on Jack in one sense, all the while rubbing Josh's face in her relationship with Jack in the other sense.

Then, Jack leaves and Donna publicly makes a fool of herself by taking the blame for his quote. Josh responds by retreating from his feelings from her, becoming more distant and sometimes passive-aggressively rude in the wake of Donna's demi-betrayal at worst and stupidity at best. However, Donna's fuck-up with Jack Reese kind of led her to believe that Josh is actually the best thing in her life, the relationship that can give her power. I don't know whether it's true that Josh is the best thing in Donna's life and typing it sounds sexist but I feel that Donna felt that way through most of the first four seasons and the show tries to make that point at times. It's not really false either. This is her first real job and it's wrapped up entirely in Josh. Thus, Donna spends the rest of Season 4 trying to draw closer to Josh and defensively assert the primacy of their relationship, all the while, trying to gain some independent agency from Josh because Donna has realized that it is her relationship with Josh that can provide her some sort of foothold in life.

It's through S5, coming to a head in No Exit in Donna's mind and Impact Winter in Donna's actions, that Josh is not the answer to Donna's professional needs and desires and she's better off cutting him out of her life. Then, her arc is unbelievably muddled in the need to get her and Josh together before the curtain fell on the show.

However going back to the Season 4 dynamics of the pairing, this scene is a perfect crystallization of late Season 4 Josh/Donna. Donna is trying to draw closer to Josh. I don't think the "gripes my ass" was intended sexually but subconsciously, I do think there's meaning behind Donna imagining them dying together and she imagines that aloud as her segue-way to asking Josh for more responsibility to lead to more power.

DONNA
I'm not feeling useful right now. I think I should know how to do more things here.

JOSH
No one's feeling useful right now.

DONNA
No, you're doing things. You're doing something right now. What are you doing right now?

JOSH
What are you doing right now?

DONNA
Nothing, this is my point.

To continue on this scene as a crystallization of their Season 4 dynamic, Josh responds to Donna's efforts to draw closer and gain agency from her relationship with him with sarcasm and passive-aggressive resentment.

JOSH
How come you go out with so many Republicans?

DONNA
I don't.

JOSH
You do. Cliff, Commander Wonderful, Dr. Freeride.

DONNA
I don't know. I get a pretty good response to the personal ad I put in Roll call-- "Seeking 30-something male into motions to recommit." I'm not kidding. I can do more. I want to learn how.

Josh is still raw and not touched by Donna's snark of her past boyfriends and earnest, "I can do more. I want to learn how", both calculated at getting a nicer response from him. Notice:

JOSH (sarcastic)
Do you know how to lock the landing gear?

DONNA (petulant)
No.





Margaret is awesomely being super-efficient with Leo's papers while also asking questions about the landing gear.

MARGARET
Can I ask? What does the foam do exactly?

LEO
On the runway?

MARGARET
Yeah.

LEO
It's flame retardant. They're worried about fire.

MARGARET
But it's not impact retardant though, is it? I mean, the plane would still-- coming out of the sky at some velocity-- have to land on concrete.

I love Margaret so much! People talk a lot about how wacky and funny she is and maybe a little about how efficient and dedicated she is. However, her fascination with facts and her need to think through problems is underrated. Whether it's landing procedures or bunker procedures or handwriting analysis, she does not take things at face value. She questions authority. I think she's a great assistant because she's so efficient and she was able to put both Leo and CJ first with steadfast loyalty and terrific attention to detail. However, her intelligence and analytical skills are *so* underrated and I can really see her performing brilliantly in a different job. To be honest, Margaret strikes me as having more native intelligence than any other assistant on the show including more featured Donna, Debbie and Delores (Three D's!) because Margaret seems to think out of the box more.

Leo, unlike me, doesn't appreciate Margaret's questions.

LEO (irritated)
You can take this back to the office.

Leo encounters Toby in the hallways.



TOBY
The Black Caucus is going to back the peacekeeping bill, if we back their amendment to reinstate the draft.

LEO
He's really going through with that stunt?

TOBY
Yeah.

LEO
Well, the left's come full circle, hasn't it? By the way, not for nothing but draftees are nearly as well-trained. It's why there was so many casualties in Vietnam.

TOBY
Right, also the Vietcong.

LEO
Plus that.

TOBY
What if we said we'd allow debate?

LEO
It's a stunt and Kundu is for real.



Jed plays solitaire while Will briefs him on Colombia. It's amusing in its bitter truth.

BARTLET
Is cocaine production in Columbia up or down?

WILL
It's up 200 percent.

BARTLET
And how many of our extradition requests have been honored?

WILL
Uh... none.

BARTLET
None.

WILL
No, there was... uh, yes, none.

BARTLET
Any good news? Anything we can hang our hat on?

WILL
Their attorney general reported that their narcotics people embezzled two million dollars of their anti-drug money.

BARTLET
That's good news?

WILL
Usually, they don't report it.

BARTLET
What they spend it on? If you tell me cocaine...

WILL
No, sir, vacations.

BARTLET
So, I re-certify them in recognition of the fact that they took our anti-drug money
and went to Sea World.

WILL
And reported it.

Jed dismisses Will and finds Charlie having a beer. I suppose "no drinking on duty" loses its punch when you've been randomly flying around on a plane (even if it's Air Force One) after flying all the way from Manila to the DC area. Also, as I've said before, these characters drink a lot at work. The Bartlet White House is probably the second most alcoholic TV workplace after Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.



CHARLIE
I know you're afraid of flying.

WILL
I'm not.

CHARLIE
I can tell.

CJ comes in and they repeat the conversation.



C.J.
Why'd you sign up for the Air Force Reserve?

WILL
I did it for a lot of reasons, and one of them was the romance of flight, but I got over that. I never thought that would happen. But these guys practice hard landings all the time. This isn't a big deal.

CJ, Will's dad was the head of NATO. Somehow, I think that military service ain't nothin' but a family thing. (Leo voice)

Will pops his neck. Charlie and C.J. look at him like he's crazy and walk away.



Cute!Landis and other staffers are working productively when Josh comes in and poops the party with the Democrats' suggested added tax for local businesses. Landis takes it very sadly.

LANDIS
You guy want to pass this or not?

JOSH
Of course we want to... Whatever Republican votes we may lose, we're going to make up on the other side.

LANDIS
It's not going to get out of Committee.

Donna comes and calls Josh out.

JOSH
Yes, it will. Now you got to stay here. You got to find more offsets and more ways to bury them.

Aw, Josh really is rooting for Landis to fight back and win. Or for Chesapeake to get cleaned up. However, you want to interpret this.



LEO
The Black Caucus just walked off the Kundu Peacekeeping Bill.

DONNA
And he'd like you to work with airlift Ops on Angel Maintenance procedures. We're going to need it when they land.

Episode title!

JOSH
What are Angel Maintenance procedures?

DONNA
I'm sorry, "Angel" is the Airlift Operations code word for Air Force One.

JOSH
I didn't know that.

DONNA
Anyway, C.J.'s going to be answering questions about maintenance procedures, and she's going to need to be briefed.

JOSH
Why didn't I know that Airlift Ops calls the plane "Angel"?

DONNA
I'm usually the one who deals with them.

JOSH
All right, well, deal with them now.

DONNA
No, not on this.

JOSH
Yeah.

DONNA
I talk to them about people's luggage.

JOSH
Well, we don't have a problem with people's luggage tonight. You call your guys at Airlift ops. Tell them they got to get you ready to educate the Press Secretary on maintenance procedures as soon as Angel's on the ground.

Donna is pleased at that new bit of revealing responsibility or bone that Josh threw at her. Let your trust in the characters or cynicism dictate which you think it is!



Jed is ranting on the phone at Leo.

BARTLET
How many times-- seriously, Leo-- how many times has the Black Caucus on retreats, at dinners... how many times have they...? There was a dinner two years where the Vice Chairs literally pulled out a map of Africa. They wanted me to make Africa a priority. And now they're making me look like a idiot.

LEO
Well, Mark's got a tough district.

BARTLET
Well, now they want me to make Brooklyn a priority. And when did these guys become Smoot and Hawley? Hang on a second.

Brooklyn has poorer areas but it's a pretty nice borough on the whole. Although to be fair, it's renaissance in the popular media came more recently like when Miranda Hobbes moved there. I think it would be better if Richardson was from some of the poorest areas of the Bronx or East Harlem if he had to be from New York.

No "Brooklyn is actually rather nice" conversation can be complete without a little Brian Williams on Morning Joe. Watch it- funniest thing ever.



Bartlet spots Weiskopf coming down the stairs. He opens his door.

BARTLET
Jessie Weiskopf's coming down, and he ain't smiling.

WEISKOPF
No, sir, they're unable to get a visual read. We're going to go ahead with the fly-by at Andrews.

BARTLET
Okay, and how long do you think this'll take?

WEISKOPF
Probably about an hour and 15 minutes.

BARTLET
An hour and 15? Where are we?

WEISKOPF
We're over Central Tennessee. They took us off the jet routes.

BARTLET
All right, pretty soon though, we got to stop just flying around.

I like the "Dad laying down the law" mixed with "irritated passenger" way that Martin Sheen delivered that line.

BARTLET
This is starting to qualify as space travel now.

Anyway, Jed wants to call the families of the soldiers who died and we got back to Leo's office where Margaret is waiting.



MARGARET
My question about the foam is that the steel is still landing on concrete.

LEO (barking)
They have their back wheels. Can you get me C.J.?

Aw, poor Margaret. Never appreciated.



Jed tells Will that he's going to call the soldiers of the family. He gives Will a note to give to CJ that he asks Will to read also. He also asks Will to find out what happens if they *don't* recertify Colombia as a partner on the war on drugs because as a Nobel-prize winning economist, Jed wasn't so hot-to-trot on the argument that Colombian politicians embezzling money and heading to Sea World reduces cocaine consumption. Or at least, I added that last part in.

CJ is pacing through the quiet-in-an-angry way press cabin like a nursery school teacher who just put down her charges for quiet time but the kids are mad at her and resentful about being quiet and CJ is just tired and pissed. Hee! I love non-political vibes on this high-powered political show. Then, Katie breaks the silence.

REPORTER KATIE
C.J.?

C.J.
Yeah.

KATIE
If there is an issue of national security...

C.J.
There is.

KATIE
Isn't it also a national issue for everyone down there?

REPORTER JOHN
In other words, turn on the damn phones.

C.J.
Somebody ask Steve what time it is. It's going to crack you up.



JOHN
C.J.

C.J.
How is it a threat to anyone on the ground?

STEVE
Air Force One doesn't generally break all by itself.

C.J.
Steve...

STEVE
Claudia, in a room someplace they're talking about the possibility the plane was sabotaged.

It seems significant that Steve called her "Claudia" here.

C.J.
By screwing with the front wheel?

MARK
If the malfunction's because of a leak in the hydraulics and they try to recycle the wheel, the front end of the plane's going to blow up.

C.J. (sarcastically)
No, you're right. I should definitely let you use the phone.

Anyway, Will comes with his note.

C.J.
We're going to do a fly-by at Andrews. This thing's almost over.



In a nice, subtle character moment, Leo is smoking on the portico. When Toby comes out, Leo nervously puts out his cigarette and opens the conversation defensively when Toby asks what he's doing. I think it dates back to when Leo was taking drugs and drinking- a defensiveness and worry about getting caught. Smoking is also a sign of weakness and Leo hates appearing weak.

Toby asks to study March Richardson's amendment and Leo dismisses that as ridiculous.

TOBY
We say we're going to study the draft and...

LEO
There's never going to be a draft.

TOBY
Mark knows that. He wants the debate. We want our peacekeeping appropriation. Everybody's happy.

LEO
Hardly anybody's happy. The President's going to study reinstating... We're for peacekeeping in Kuhndu.

TOBY
And Mark's point is who keeps the...

LEO
I know what Mark's point is.

TOBY
People who got nowhere else to go...

LEO
For advancement, they go for advancement.

TOBY
The five guys on their way home right now... didn't advance very far, I think is Mark's point.

On that point, Leo softens and asks Toby to look into what studying reinstating the draft will look like to satisfy the Black Caucus.



Will works with Jed on questioning Colombia's re-certification, forming a better bond with Jed. It's a very nice scene.

WILL
Decertifying Columbia triggers automatic economic or trade sanctions.

BARTLET
We lose some money.

WILL
Yes. Now, the State Department feels that the President's credibility with his own legislature is based on his close ties with the U.S., and that would obviously be significantly damaged.

BARTLET
Right, but at the moment, I'm more concerned with our credibility. He told me at the Summit of the Americas that he'd work toward crop diversification. Did he mean opium *and* coke?

WILL
And they also ask that I remind you that his opponent in the last election, Garcia Larco, took campaign cash from the cartels, and if we weaken the President, we could get a reactionary in the next election.

BARTLET
Yes, but he's not helping us, so why should I give him political cover? Listen, I'm serious. What would happen if I don't recertify Columbia?

WILL
Well... actually, you can't.

BARTLET
I can't what?

WILL
Can't not recertify them. They're going to be automatically recertified.

BARTLET
Why? [thinks] Because the deadline was midnight...

I love Martin Sheen's pissed off delivery here. LOL. Jed angrily reacting against the bureaucracies and arbitrary rules is one of my favorite tropes on this show. Even the President of the United States gets pissed at having to deal with deadlines for papers or being on hold.

BARTLET AND WILL
And it has to be delivered...

WILL
Yes.

BARTLET
The actual signed paper?

WILL
That's what the Counsel's Office...

BARTLET
This is really how the world works.

Ha! CAN WE HAVE A CIVILIZATION?!

WILL
Well, it's how recertification works, I'm afraid, sir, so...

BARTLET
I want this plane to land!



Will looks out the window then back at Bartlet.

WILL
Did it work?

Aw, that joke would be funny on it's own. It's even funnier considering that Will is sassing the powerful President on his own Air Force One. It's goddamn epically hilarious that this "Did it work?" is coming from the guy who shouted for rain in dry Southern California and then it appeared in droves. Jed also think it's funny and dismisses Will.



Back in DC, Leo and Josh are in the Mess.

LEO
The Chesapeake cleanup isn't going to happen.

JOSH
At all.

LEO
It's not going to come out of Committee.

Josh blames the revenue enhancements and Leo tries to soft-pedal that it was everything.

LEO
Deaver didn't like that Landis was working so closely with you.

JOSH
Did those two idiots let the Republicans on the Committee know? They were already pissed at him.

LEO
He's vulnerable, and they want his seat. We take back the House, there's any number, um... Mileage standards, reauthorize CWA-- any number of things we can do to help the environment more.

JOSH
Is the President supposed to open a pizzeria while the Republicans control Congress?

LEO
We got the peacekeeping appropriation next week. I don't want to get in to it over $18 million for Chesapeake Bay.

JOSH
We're going to lose an ally in Landis.

LEO
Well, one way or another, I think we're going to lose Landis.

JOSH
And they say the two parties can't get together on anything.

Josh starts to walk out of the mess.

LEO
The pizzeria thing was funny.

JOSH
Thank you.

Ooh, Brad Whitford had the perfect amount of pissy bitterness in his "Thank you" and John Spencer was not afraid of his pizzeria comment sounding insensitive. Heavy acting.



Josh meets up with Donna who tells him what the Angel Maintenance people said. To make Donna's long exposition short, they don't think it was sabatoge and they think that it was just the indicator light not working. Josh goes in to break the bad news to Landis.



JOSH
It's not going to get out of Committee. The White House is going to have to pull its support, but there's room in the EPA budget, room in the interior budget.

LANDIS
Room for everything but my name?

JOSH
Yeah.

LANDIS
You guys are really going to go after the seat next time, huh?

JOSH
So are the Republicans, Tom. You're probably going to have a primary challenge.

LANDIS
You know, if you keep squeezing out the liberal Republican and the conservative Democrats...

JOSH
That's who's beatable.

LANDIS
If I'm running scared, I run to the right. That's where the money is.

Landis ends his storyline on a bitter note but he's pretty entitled considering how screwed with his pants on he was in this ep.

LANDIS
You know, a friend of mine's a comedian, and he was doing a stand-up here in town. A bunch of people from the German consulate came down to see him, and they came backstage afterward, and they said to him, "How come we don't have anyone as funny as you back home?" And my friend said, "Because you killed them all."

JOSH
Well, that's a bit of an overstatement... isn't it?

LANDIS
Maybe.

On that note, Josh looks a little guilty and leaves.



Toby comes in with a statement that CJ will read, throwing a bone to Richardson and the Black Caucus in exchange for their votes for peacekeeping in Kundu.

TOBY
"The President does not think we should reinstate the draft nor does he intend to do so, but he respects Chairman Richardson as a leader in the Congress, and he's eager to hear what he has to say and to engage in thorough debate."

RICHARDSON
It's not going to screw you too much?

TOBY
No, it'll screw us the regular amount.

Richardson analogizes the current situation to when wealthy Union citizens paid their way out of the Civil War.

RICHARDSON
If you have money, you have a greater life expectancy across the board. You're going to have better health care, better shelter, better lawyers, and if you've got whatever equivalent of today's $300 is, you get to be united behind the war effort without actually fighting the war. And you're one of my constituents, too, Toby, so I shouldn't have to tell you that.

TOBY
You don't, Congressman. I was just on the job tonight.

Hmm. Although I don't think that Toby is in favor of reinstating the draft. He's sympathetic to Richardson's point and I think most true-blue liberals are. However, it's quite a leap from "Economic inequalities persist in the army" to "We should draft everyone". Or "Social problems here need solving" to "We should abandon any idea of ending genocide abroad". Toby isn't nearly as extreme as Richardson.

RICHARDSON
Hmm. What was your lottery number?

TOBY
125. It was the last six months of the draft. It went up to 90 that year... but I didn't have the 300 bucks.

RICHARDSON
Hmm. I'm going to call Sergeant Dokes' family now.

TOBY
I'd like to stay if you don't mind.

RICHARDSON
No, but stay standing.



I love how CJ is leaning and swaying tiredly against the wall with her eyes closed. These characters seem to be "on" 24/7 so it's always nice when the actors are able to act as tired and frustrated as their characters would be. Ed and Larry come in with terrific news.

LARRY
Gear's down.

C.J.
What?

LARRY
They got the indicator light.

ED
They recycled the gear, and the light went on this time. We're landing.

CJ grabs Ed and kisses him full on the lips and runs off. Larry jealously grouses that he was the one who said it first. I really see all of that happening for real. Then in a very jaunty, cheery way, CJ opens the curtain to the press cabin and loudly asks to turn the phones back on.



C.J.
We're landing. We got an indicator light. You should feel free to file. Thank you all very much.

There's an awkward moment where the reporters say nothing and actually look a little irritable but then Steve starts the customary, "Thank you, CJ" and they all echo and CJ looks relieved that they are back to old patterns and this deception hasn't created a permanent rift in her relationship with the press. It's interesting that it's Steve who reassures CJ. I think it's a pretty steady track record that Steve was very fond of CJ. He has a lot of interesting little character moments like defensively saying that he wasn't complaining about his seat on Air Force One when CJ is about to leak the MS story to him in Two Cathedrals or that he was the one who made a point of saying that the reporters missed her when she goes back to the press room in Tomorrow.

Now for CJ needing the reassurance from the press before she left. I think it's pretty in-character than when CJ has to do something harsh that she resents doing, she does it but she then becomes awkward and sort of seeks reassurance that she didn't do the wrong thing. Like when she needs Josh to tell her that it's all-right that she took him off the China trip or how she came back to Danny in What Kind of Day Has It Been with the peace-pipe tip for some absolution for lying to him or how she uncomfortably waits for some indication that Corey Sykes forgives her for insulting in The Drop In or her slow walk out of the barn in Manchester after losing her temper with Jed. CJ's jobs put her in some crappy positions but she really craves being liked but she doesn't have either the cold-heartedness or the iron self-assurance to take people not liking her in stride which is both good and bad for a politician.

But then she has pride issues (that are reinforced by the arrogant and at times chauvinistic circles that she travels in) that prevent her from apologizing or coming out and asking for the forgiveness and reassurance that she needs. I always get the opinion that this creates a vicious cycle in CJ's head. Anyway despite the fact that this is partly caused by CJ's flaws, I also feel that a lot of it is caused by her virtues- empathy, internal honesty, humility, a consistent and thoughtful awareness of the consequences of her actions. So I'm ultimately pleased that the press corps did the work of making her feel more at ease, even though, it would have been perhaps more impressive from a character-growth perspective if CJ apologized but argued her case. (Although, that could have dramatically anti-climatic because we already know CJ's case.)



CJ and Will sit down in preparation for landing. It's all very companionable, hammering home how much closer they've gotten over the last few eps.

C.J.
I was meaning to ask you. Why did you ask about the front wheel before? You asked the Colonel if it was the front wheel.

WILL
Well, if you have the rear wheels, you can try a hard landing where you come down hard on the back wheels in an effort whack the front into place.

C.J.
To whack it into place?

WILL
Yes.

C.J.
I'm so happy I didn't have that information.

LOL. Like I said before CJ can be a little too perfect and grown-up to relate to, but there are plenty of times where she says the exact same thing that I could see myself saying. This is a perfect example.

C.J.
I'm not sure I'm good at living in a world where that kind of thing is possible.

WILL
But you are.

C.J.
I imagine myself destitute, I imagine myself unlucky in love. But I never imagine my life would be in danger with really uncommon frequency. It feels a little bit good, doesn't it?

CJ *imagines* herself "unlucky in love". I thought at first that maybe this was Sorkin not realizing how unlucky he has written her in love but his character-work is too good for me to believe that. I'm just going to take this two ways that I'll alternate on different days of the week.

a) CJ is so inherently optimistic and determined to be happy that even though her love life could be considered bad according to some perspectives, CJ knows it could be worse and clings to the optimistic viewpoint.
b) As I generally suspect, the characters on this show actually have plenty of flings and sex. It's just that the show is so work-focused that the audience only gets to see the relationships that can have a political impact but never dates or flings removed from politics.

WILL
No.

C.J.
Yes, it does.

WILL
I'll make jokes when this whole bullfight with gravity is over.

Line of the episode! I now call bumpy flights, "bullfights with gravity". Oh West Wing, you impact my language.

Then there are nice sweeping shots of Air Force One, particularly in the press cabin, as Colonel Wesikopf makes his triumphant announcement. It's very cute how the pilot has become a newsreader over the PA. Really, give a pilot a PA system and he'll start talking about all kinds of crap that doesn't relate to his job.

COLONEL WEISKOPF
Well, ladies and gentlemen, from the flight deck, this is Colonel Weiskopf. From the hooting and hollering we can hear through our cockpit door, you've no doubt heard that we have a clear indicator light on our landing gear, and we are cleared for landing at Andrews Air Force Base. For those keeping score, our total flight time will have been 22 hours and 13 minutes using three separate flight crews along the way. We will have traveled 10,700 air miles on our return trip, a significant portion of it the over West Virginia and Tennessee. White House staff on the ground informs us that while airborne on this flight, three separate pieces of legislation
have been negotiated and initialed by the President. We've had an engagement, a birthday, and the nation of Colombia was recertified as an ally in our war against drugs. I hope you won't consider this time we've spent together a waste. And now I'm being handed... Hang on just one moment... Yeah, ladies and gentlemen, They're going to move us to runway three-niner. There's a strong wind shift under 10,000 feet, so Andrews approach has asked us to abandon our descent, make a 30-degree right turn and maintain our current altitude. I'm sure we'll be down in no time now.

I'll just refer you to Jed's face for all the commentary you need on that.



A Martin Sheen facial expression speaks a thousand words. He slams the door to his office.
6 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
caz963 From: caz963 Date: April 14th, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Could you put this behind a cut, please?
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 14th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know- I just did. Sorry about that!
pocochina From: pocochina Date: April 15th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how CJ looks so crisp and pretty even after all those hours in the air. I know it's that the actress has stylists to make her camera-ready, but I choose to believe CJ is JUST THAT FABULOUS.

She really does put off fighting with the press for as long as she can. She's secretly this indulgent teacher.

Will explains that a KC-10 will need to get on top of Air Force One to spurt its fuel deep inside. (Will explains it in a much less sexual way. I'm just a dirty recapper.)

HAHAHA.

Again with the gay subtext. It's like Josh's other suitors are complaining about Josh paying attention to the guy from the wrong side of the tracks, "the leader of the pack, vroom vroom".

lol! I love how they tried to rein him in for, like, a split second. Then, whatever, Whitford, go nuts.

His opposition is always based on, "Can you believe an actual Democrat is pulling *this*?! And from the left?!"

heh. this one in particular doesn't bother me, because IIRC Rep. Rangel did exactly that a few years back, but I take your point.

BARTLET
All right, pretty soon though, we got to stop just flying around.


HAHAHAHA. GOOD IDEA, MR PRESIDENT, WE WERE THINKING ABOUT NOT DOING THAT.

Landis loses me in that last scene, I gotta say. I totally deduct sympathy from anyone whining about how nobody appreciates them for being all bipartisan and above-it-all. To the point of making a Holocaust joke to Josh Lyman? Yeah. You're persecuted.

OMG WILL BAILEY SO ADORABLE.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 15th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I love how CJ looks so crisp and pretty even after all those hours in the air. I know it's that the actress has stylists to make her camera-ready, but I choose to believe CJ is JUST THAT FABULOUS.

LOL. That's always been my personal canon. CJ has the awesome power of still looking like a movie star after long flights, root canal surgery, eighteen hours days, what have you. It's not Hollywood- it's accurate characterization, people!

heh. this one in particular doesn't bother me, because IIRC Rep. Rangel did exactly that a few years back, but I take your point.

I remember the Rangel thing and Richardson is more palatable in this episode than the other two but I'm still not a fan.

HAHAHAHA. GOOD IDEA, MR PRESIDENT, WE WERE THINKING ABOUT NOT DOING THAT.

LOL!!!! I'm pretty sure that Jed pompously and didactically stated the obvious as a civilian but being president and getting to do that with only a reverent "Yes, sir" really brings that out in him. I adore the guy but it's a good think he's married to Abbey who can bring him down to earth.

Landis loses me in that last scene, I gotta say. I totally deduct sympathy from anyone whining about how nobody appreciates them for being all bipartisan and above-it-all. To the point of making a Holocaust joke to Josh Lyman? Yeah. You're persecuted.

You know, I agree with you entirely. I normally remember tons of stuff from this show but as I was adapting the transcript into meta, I was surprised at this moment when i got to the end of the episode. I guess I formed a positive opinion of Landis because he's cute and bipartisan for the environment but that Holocaust moment was foul enough to cancel that out. Ick.

Will is so adorable in this episode!
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 15th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC) (Link)
One of my first problems with this episodes is why CJ didn't shut the phones off to the press as soon as she heard something was wrong with the plane. But it's good you pointed out that she had moral ambguity with that.
You actually got me to go and look for Charlie/Jean-paul FF and it doesn't exist. In the famous words of Toby Zeigler"If no one on the internet has got a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?" I checked Big Block of Cheese-which curiously had NO Charlie fic at all. Then I also searched National Library.
Richardson very much represents the old-school style "Black Politician" pre President Obama. Unfortunately because their numbers are so small in Congress, this show shows the African American politicians resorting to stunts to get attention. A politician like Richardson would have to pander to wealthy african americans(read: his donors) as well as law enforcement(again read: his donors). In this one, he's trying to stand up for his constituents.

I am african american so I have worked with guys like Richardson.


Edited at 2011-04-15 01:54 am (UTC)
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 15th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)
You actually got me to go and look for Charlie/Jean-paul FF and it doesn't exist. In the famous words of Toby Zeigler"If no one on the internet has got a piece of this, just how far from the pack have you strayed?" I checked Big Block of Cheese-which curiously had NO Charlie fic at all. Then I also searched National Library.

Ha! And nicely referenced! You know, I've always wanted to be crazy enough to get to uncommon slash pairings before the rest of the Internet.

Richardson very much represents the old-school style "Black Politician" pre President Obama. Unfortunately because their numbers are so small in Congress, this show shows the African American politicians resorting to stunts to get attention. A politician like Richardson would have to pander to wealthy african americans(read: his donors) as well as law enforcement(again read: his donors). In this one, he's trying to stand up for his constituents.

Interesting point. Perhaps if Richardson was given more screentime to explain his positions, I'd be fonder of him. Although, he is better here than in Five Votes Down and Ways and Means.
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