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Life on Mars - ww_renaissance
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Life on Mars
I lurked at TWOP when I was watching Season 4 as it aired. One of the memorable things that I read on those forums was this day-after-reaction to this episode from a poster. I paraphrase: The episode started as a screwball comedy and evolved to a "Whodunit" mystery and finished as a Shakespearean drama. Yup, that's .



This woman named Claire comes out a taxi cab driving in the rain and is escorted by Charlie through the White House. Along the way, we see CJ, Josh, Toby and Donna eying her suspiciously and soberly. She gets to the Oval Office where she sees Jed. Claire is close to tears the whole time.



BARTLET
Uh, it turns out it has to go to the Secretary of State. There's a law: It's 3-USC-20.
It goes to the Secretary of State. But we'll take care of it.

Claire hands him the letter. After some mood setting conversation about Claire's choice in a cab as opposed to her own car, we get to see the text of the letter that Claire handed before smash cut to CREDITS. WW Screencaps has a great shot of it.



Well, this looks like a perfect opportunity for Sorkin to do his thing of showing the cataclysmic events of the teaser and go back in the time to show the rest of the episode leading up to those events. So 24 hours earlier, CJ comes into her office and is greeted by hungry reporters. This SO happens in real life with press secretaries.



C.J.
Hang on-- before we do anything, happy birthday, Mark. And don't ever say I don't pay attention to these things.

REPORTER MARK
My birthday's in December.

C.J.
All right, go ahead and say it, then. What do I care?

Like I've said before, for someone crazy-charming as CJ, she doesn't exactly have what most people consider people skills. LOL. CJ puts on a hilarious gangster voice to answer Chris's question here. You've gotta watch it to get the full funny.

REPORTER CHRIS
HR235: Increasing Fuel Efficiency Standards. Is he going to twist arms?

C.J.
He's going to do what he's got to do.

REPORTER PHIL
Does that involve having the OMB--

C.J.
He's going to do what he's got to do.

Anyway, CJ remembers that she cut off Katie to wish Mark a happy birthday and calls Katie back into her office. Katie has a tag-along in the form of Ralph Gish, Katie's paper's science editor. Here he is:



GISH
Uh... Are you familiar with the NASA Commission on Space Science and Research?

C.J.
Only to the extent that I'm aware that it exists. But I can take your question to the President's science adviser.

GISH
No, this is not a science question. Is the White House concealing a report from the Commission containing two different pieces of evidence of water molecules on Mars? Is there a report that's not being released, a report from the NASA Commission on Space Science and Research saying fossilized water molecules were found on a meteorite-- I won't tell you when this thing blew off the surface of Mars-- but, that this report...

The actor who plays Gish is very good and acts the question professionally but also like he's preemptively protesting the White House's duplicity. Meanwhile, C.J. looks at Katie like she can't believe what she's hearing and pulls her out angrily.



C.J.
I called you back for a single in front of everybody. That costs me. Your question is: "Is there life on Mars?" And "Is the White House hiding that there's life on Mars?" And what the hell does this have to do with the Vice President?!

REPORTER KATIE
The Vice President heads the NASA Commission.

C.J.
Katerina--

I'm very amused that CJ is telegraphing her frustration by calling Katie by her first-heard full name instead of her nickname. It's like *Claudia Jean* is used to that tactic of people expressing displeasure with her.

REPORTER KATIE
The source says that the Vice President told them personally.

C.J.
That's absurd.

REPORTER KATIE
I know, but Gish...

C.J.
You've got to ask Gish what kind of credible source goes to the science editor with a story, instead of--

KATIE
He doesn't know who the source is. The source went to another reporter at our paper
and that reporter went to Gish.

CJ comes back in a calm, professional face on.

GISH
Is there an existing report that says anything at all, and if so, what? And will it be made public, and, if not, why? And, if not, isn't that illegal?

C.J.
Um, I don't know. But I'll find out to the first bunch of questions and, as for "legal" and "not legal," that's a matter for the Counsel's Office. Oh, hey, yeah, that's a matter for the Counsel's Office. I know the right guy to speak to down there. He's going to fix you right up.

LOL. CJ ushers Gish and Katie out of her office and looks like there will be a silver lining to this annoying set of questions because at least she could annoy the new Republican, pretty-boy White House counsel. Just look at the sinister pleasure on her face. Atta girl!



We see Joe Quincy surveying the Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue much like Ainsley did when she found out it was her office. I'm so happy that they stuck Joe in the same office. I'm going to law school next year and even I know how much schadenfreude comes from seeing high powered lawyers in crappy offices. Sassy young staffer and George Washington Law 2L Blair comes in to adjust Joe to his new job. Blair is played by Kiersten Warren whose other memorable role was the "Other Woman" to Lynette Scavo played by Felicity Huffman (I think the only actor to appear in all three of Sorkin's TV series) in Desperate Housewives. Sorkin degrees of separation!



BLAIR
Anyway, they share assistants in the Counsel's Office, but they asked me to stick around for your first couple of days to break you in.

QUINCY
Break me in? You're 22 years old and where am I right now?

BLAIR
This is the office traditionally given to new lawyers who are hired.

QUINCY
Uh-huh. And what is it when it's not occupied?

BLAIR
The steam pipe trunk distribution venue.

QUINCY
This White House doesn't like lawyers very much, do they?

BLAIR
Really, they hold them just one rung above being a Republican.

QUINCY
Well, then we've won the jackpot, haven't we?

BLAIR
Oh, don't tell me you're one of those people who group up with the parents...

QUINCY
You know what, Law School, let's just settle down. Do I have briefing memos I have to read?

BLAIR
What do you think that these were?

She points to a bookshelf loaded with paper boxes.

QUINCY
I thought that was Xerox paper.

BLAIR
You're Associate White House Counsel, Mr. Quincy. We're not going to store Xerox paper
in your office.

QUINCY
Sure. We'd never want to compromise the aesthetic integrity of the steam pipe trunk distribution venue. Triage those: What I should read first, second, third.

Ainsley's reaction to the Steam Pipe Distribution Venue was much more heartwarming and adorable. Leo should have broken Joe in instead of Blair and I intended that to appear dirty.



CJ makes a grand entrance from the top of the stairs, greeting Joe and complimenting Blair's outfit, in a very intimidating movie-star grand dame way. LOL.

BLAIR
[to C.J.] He's a Republican, too.

QUINCY
Thank you.

Blair exits and C.J. walks over and shakes Joe Quincy's hand.

C.J.
Yes, he's a Republican, too, Mr. Quincy is.

QUINCY
Joe.

C.J.
This is a cool office, Joe.

QUINCY
Ha.

C.J.
Got a little window up there near the ceiling that looks out onto the, uh... the... What do you call it? The...

QUINCY
Alley?

C.J.
Yeah. And, you know, if you hang 'em on that pipe in the corner, late afternoon, you get your suits pressed right in front of you.

LOL. I'm envisioning Joe working his undershirt and boxers as he watches the pipes pressing his suits.

QUINCY
You're the welcoming committee, aren't you?

C.J.
Hey, no, but that's a good idea. Let me show you around.

QUINCY
As a matter of fact, I should probably stay here and get started on...

C.J.
Joe, I outrank you by, like, 17 rungs, so follow me, would you?

QUINCY
Sure.

C.J.
Come on. It's going to be fun. But if it's not, you should pretend that it is anyway. You know why?

QUINCY
'Cause you outrank me by, like, 17 rungs.

C.J.
Hey, no, but then again, I like how you're thinking.

Most women in power assert themselves quietly and never would make a "I'm drunk with the power" joke. To her never ending credit, CJ is the exception to that rule. In other news, I normally hate darkly and busily striped business shirts on men and women but CJ has a talent of making me like stuff that she does or wears that I would ordinarily hate on anyone else by virtue of her awesomeness.



C.J.
So, do you know what I'm going to get asked about probably at my first briefing today? The Department of Agriculture report that'll come out this morning saying that commodity prices are down six percent this year, and do I suppose the White House is going to respond to the farmers who are going broke? And I thought, since the Republicans tore up the farm safety net, you might have a good idea for what I should say.

QUINCY
How about "food is cheaper, and that's good"?

C.J.
You're saying it's good that farmers can't sell what they grow for a living wage?

QUINCY
No, as a matter of fact, I wasn't. I was saying that it's good that you can buy food for less than an entire wage.

C.J.
It's good, except, whoa! Those pesky farmers again. Don't worry about it though, 'cause it's not like there are that many of them. No, wait, I misspoke. Agriculture is this country's biggest industry.

It's a big industry based on production and exports but that's due to arable land and huge machinery. There really aren't many farmers but I will say that when it comes to subsidies and grants, they're pretty "pesky"!

QUINCY
Aren't you suppose to be showing me around?

C.J.
That was the staircase, okay? What do you want? It was the Dolly Madison staircase.

QUINCY
There's the Roosevelt Room. I've been in there.

C.J.
Nobody cares.

Excellent snark! Joe is kind of a dweeb trying to impress CJ or even just start a conversation based on the fact that he was in the Roosevelt Room considering how many times CJ was in the Roosevelt room. Anyway, CJ arrives at the real business of her call.

C.J.
Well, this may sound silly, but the science editor from the Washington Post has a source-- a blind source-- who says that the Vice President personally told him-- the blind source-- that the Vice President interfered to classify a report that a NASA commision, which he heads, has saying that there's life on Mars.

QUINCY
God, why would you think that would make you sound silly?

C.J.
Would you find out who broke the law, please?

QUINCY
Sure.

C.J.
The farmers are victims of this Republican Congress.

QUINCY
I don't get a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, but I do go to the grocery store. I know that food is cheaper, and I know that when life expectancy goes up, that's not victimizing undertakers.

C.J.
Well argued, though I do hate you and everything you stand for.

QUINCY
Claudia Jean, you've only known me for four minutes. It usually takes people the better part of an hour to hate me and everything I stand for.

C.J.
I'm the press secretary, Boo-boo. I don't have that kind of time.

In my top ten favorite CJ-lines! Anyway, Joe asks how to go about talking to Hoynes and CJ says in a "why do I have to explain the obvious to you, Boo-Boo" sort of way that Joe can talk to Hoynes any time because Joe is Hoynes's lawyer.



Toby and Will are watching a corny Republican ad. Prepare for hilarity.

REPORTER
[on TV] The kids, the camping gear and, yeah, even Rex are all loaded up for that vacation you've worked hard for all year.

TOBY
Rex is the dog?

WILL
Yeah.

REPORTER
[on TV] Is that what you want to have happen on the way to your favorite campsite?Tell your Congressman that America's about freedom. Tell your Congressman to vote "no" on 235.

Will turns off the TV.

WILL
That family isn't going to be able to drive up that hill if we increase fuel efficiency standards.

TOBY
Well, that family isn't gonna get up the hill 'cause dad's trying to pull the kids, the camping gear, Rex the dog and what would appear to be his den up K-2 in a Ford Falcon.

I love Toby so much! Pointing out the illogical laws of physics deifying nature of corny political ads. I wonder if the ad's corniness and seeming hilarity works as a contrast to the Hoynes storyline. A farce (Hoynes's sexcapades, a nonsensical ad) covering something deeper (leaking classified information, a political threat on energy policy). Those storylines and this episode, as a matter of a fact, are tragedy dressed up in comedy.

WILL
No, actually, its the power of the ad.

TOBY
Say that again.

WILL
Actually, it's the power of the...

Toby throws his ball at Will but misses.

TOBY
You thought that ad was powerful?

WILL
Yeah. You think it sucks?

TOBY
Yeah! If I'm watching that ad...

WILL
That ad wasn't for you. It wasn't about Dad, it was about Mom looking worried in the front seat.

TOBY
That was for soccer moms?

Then, Toby defends soccer moms.

TOBY
Soccer moms recognize a Big 3 hosing when it walks up and introduces itself good as anyone, and they know it often begins with "Tell your Congressman America's about freedom." And that mom was worried 'cause dad's hauling a yardsale up Kilimanjaro. And she's thinking, "Wow, I married an idiot."

WILL
She's worried 'cause the kids are in back. That's what the ad's about.

TOBY
You think it's gonna be effective?

WILL
I think it says the President and a bunch of Hollywood types want to put your kids in a small car so that they can save the sky.

TOBY
How did the Hollywood types get into this equation?

WILL
I don't know, how do they ever?

A little bit of Sorkin getting sour over the fact that he and his other Hollywood types get blamed and not taken seriously. The Bartlet White House, IMO, discusses how unfairly Hollywood is treated in political discourse way more than any real-life administration. Anyway, Toby asks if Will wants to do a counter-add. Again, prepare for hilarity in the transcript.

TOBY
You think we should run a counter ad.

WILL
We have to.

TOBY
Saying what?

WILL
Oh, I don't know.

TOBY
What do you mean?

WILL
What do you mean?

TOBY
We've been sitting here for 20 minutes.

WILL
I came in to show you the spots and to tell you I think we should run a counter ad. I don't have an idea for one.

TOBY
Well, get one. Have an idea. Don't come in here with half a thing and not be able to-- you know, after you've walked me to the brink and say, "We've got to do this, it's important, though I have no earthly idea how." Like one of those guys who buys a big new thing but doesn't really know how to get the most out of it!

LOLOLOLOL!!!! I know that Toby's salad rant coming up is a more frequently quoted comedic high point for him but I actually rather like that quote even more. It's *so* Toby. I want to get that quote on a T-shirt.

WILL
Toby, either get Andy to marry you or kill yourself.

A little harsh there, Will. It's interesting that Toby uses the phrase, "Like one of those guys who buys a big new thing but doesn't really know how to get the most out of it!" considering that in the next episode, he becomes a guy who buys the biggest thing (a big house) but can't get what he wants out of it. Anyway, Will mocks Toby's darkness ("You want me to turns these lights down or something, draw the blinds?" as he walks out the door). I don't believe that Sorkin would have had Will defect to the Vice President's office in the next season but I do believe that the later writers took Will's snark and resentment of Toby's mood and extrapolated that into Will's later arc.



Donna hard at work. She hears a bird nosily tapping and yells at it to stop it many times. I was all of thirteen years old when I was watching this as it aired for the first time and I remember frustratedly saying, "Would they stop it with the stupid Donna-stories?! Voting for Ritchie to a storyline about protecting the bird's beak! Jeez!" But I was very wrong because this is actually a recurring metaphor. Putting a literal "little bird" into an episode that exemplifies the "A little bird told me" aspect of Washington with its sex scandals, unlikely betrayals, leaks, gossip columnists, tell-all books and the like. The "Seemingly Insipid Donna-Storyines Become a Clever Metaphor" aspect of this show hasn't gotten such a good workout since she was Chicken Little-ing about satellites falling down to earth right before the news on Jed's MS broke.



DONNA
Stop it. You are gonna hurt your beak. Stop it!

Josh enters his office and sees Donna talking to the window.



JOSH
What the hell are you doing?

DONNA
I'm sorry, but this bird has been sitting here tapping on the window for... I'm not kidding, I don't know how long, but a long time. I've lost track 'cause I'm moving into certain phases of dementia with this thing.

JOSH
Well, let me get rid of it.

DONNA
No, no, no, no, no.

JOSH
What?

DONNA
What are you going to do?

JOSH
I'm gonna scare him away.

DONNA
No.

JOSH
Why?

DONNA
It's not nice.

JOSH
I'm not going to hurt him. I'm just...

DONNA
No, come on, he's a bird. He's not bothering anybody.

JOSH
In a second he's going to be bothering me, right?

DONNA
No.

Tapping.

DONNA
Stop it. [to Josh] No, because you're gonna want to go see Leo right now.

Aw, that was such a great exchange between the two of them. Very underrated too.

JOSH
Why?

DONNA
Carol got a call in the press office. "Did the White House press the Justice Department to call of their anti-trust investigation of Casseon."

Anyway according to Josh, the DOJ didn't call off the investigation but instead reached a settlement with Casseon. Josh tells Donna to work with CJ to run down the source. Donna spells out that this is a continuance to her storyline about jump-starting her career in Angel Maintenance by confirming with Josh that he thinks that she can do this involved assignment. It's just a short line before they're interrupted by Joe knocking on the door. Very subtly and nicely handled.

QUINCY
I was wondering if I had a few questions for Leo McGarry, do I go straight to his office or do you like me to run it by you first?

JOSH
At the beginning I'm going to ask you to give me a quick hit just so you can learn how to keep the crazy stuff out of his office.

The bird taps on the window.

DONNA and JOSH
Stop it!

I'll admit- that was very "married couple" like and not in the annoyingly obvious way that most "Will they, won't they" couples telegraph how in sync they are. It was just quietly funny.

QUINCY
A reporter looking into the White House suppressing a NASA Commission.

JOSH
This is two in one day. I just got "Did the White House interfere with Casseon anti-trust?" [to Donna] Yeah, you can go ahead and work with C.J.'s office...
[to Quincy] and sure.

DONNA
Thanks.

Quincy and Donna start to walk out but Josh becomes the first to really draw the sinister link proving that these huge leaks aren't just coincidences.

JOSH
Wait. What did they say we got in exchange for calling off the D.O.J.?

DONNA
A 100,000 computers in classrooms.

JOSH
They said that? You weren't just making a joke?

DONNA
No.

Josh is shocked and says seriously that they now have to see Leo. The three head out. Donna's sweater looks wonderful on her.



DONNA
So, you're our new sawbones.

QUINCY
A sawbones is a doctor.

DONNA
Is it?

QUINCY
Yeah. Lawyer's a shyster.

DONNA
[to Josh] I got him to say it.

Janel's delivery on that line was very cute and natural.

QUINCY
I don't... Josh is a lawyer.

DONNA
Well, yeah, I mean he went to law school, but...

Josh looks at her.

DONNA
You don't practice law is all I was saying.

JOSH
I don't practice law? I help write the laws, I write the laws, I make the laws, I am the law!

Just like Toby's rant on "Have an idea!" was very characteristic, this quote encapsulates the essence of Josh. It also works because Josh is so transparently jealous of Donna flirting with Joe and like a grade-school boy with a crush, wants to prove that he can do just what the new boy can but better. They get to Leo's office and Margaret.



MARGARET
Yes, Joe. The girls in the Political Affairs Office saw you before and asked me to tell you that they wouldn't have covered your parking spot with mayonnaise if they'd known you were a biscuit.

QUINCY
Okay. Well, tell them, you know, no problem.

LOL. The always superb NiCole Robinson delivers that line like she took a literal message from "the girls in the Political Affairs Office" and she's just repeating it like a line from a textbook because we all know that the rules-bound, hyper-professional to the point of eccentric Margaret doesn't express her thoughts in terms of the new White House counsel associate being a "biscuit". Excellent work. On the negative side, sexism rears its ugly head again. The red-headed "lead" secretary referring to what have to be adult women with a career as "the girls". Is this the Bartlet White House or Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce?



Josh amusingly bungles telling the story in a rush to get the facts out while simultaneously confirming that Leo has met Joe to John Spencer's increasingly frustrated expression so Joe takes over.

QUINCY
Yeah, Mr. McGarry, the Press Secretary came to me with a question from the Post's science editor, who has a source claiming that a NASA study was classified at the urging of the White House.

LEO
What do they think it said?

QUINCY
That... sir, I'm, you know... they claim it said that a meteorite from Mars... from Mars was discovered in Antarctica about 30 years ago and that we found fossilized carbonate molecules. That we know there's life on Mars, that's what they're saying we're suppressing.

Matt Perry did a great job of acting embarrassed that he has to repeat that to his first on-the-job meeting with the White House Chief of Staff. You had to know that CJ was envisioning that when she delegated this mission to Joe. Once again, CJ wins at everything.

LEO
The Defense Department classified the NASA Commission report.

QUINCY
I'm sorry?

LEO
That report was classified by the Department of Defense.

QUINCY
The report exists.

LEO
Well, I can't tell you that Joe, the report was classified. But I can tell you it was classified by the Defense Department.

Very funny subtle jab at the messy language of the Pentagon or NASA determining what is or isn't classified. Everyone can tell that the report exists when Leo says what agency classified the report. Leo calls on Josh for the next crazy news story.

JOSH
Did we get the Justice Department to call off it's anti-trust investigation with Casseon?

LEO
They didn't call it off, they settled.

JOSH
I know, but ask Donna what they bribed us with. Tell him what the Post said we got in exchange for calling off Justice.

DONNA
100,000 computers in classrooms.

They all look at Donna.

DONNA
What?

LEO
That was part of the settlement-- 100,000 computers.

JOSH
There's a leak. This, Mars, the people... don't even get me started on that 'cause the stuff I think you still won't tell me. Who knew about the terms with Casseon outside us... and now them?

LEO
The President, me and you, Counsel, Counsel at Treasury and Commerce. Two, three guys at NEC. Hackley, Little, May...

JOSH
The Vice President.

LEO
Yeah. The Assistant Attorney General for anti-trust. Did we say the...

QUINCY
Excuse me. Are you saying the Vice President knew the terms of the Casseon settlement?

JOSH
Sure.

LEO
Fix this, would you please? There's a story out there we're obstructing justice and another one we're like in a Ray Bradbury yarn. These things make me crazy.

I know that I'm probably sounding a little tired emphasizing how funny and brilliant these lines are as they characterize the speaker so fully. However, this is a perfect example for Leo. The authoritative, "Fix this", as he expresses his frustration as dryly and firmly as he can but he can't stop the sheer whimsy and observance of the non-stop ironies of his life by finishing with the Bradbury allusion.

Everyone leaves but it's clear that Joe Quincy is seriously pondering that Hoynes knew about all of this. Curiously, Joe trusts Hoynes less than the people that worked with Hoynes (like Josh and Leo to start) and were given more reasons to not trust Hoynes. I think this is because Hoynes is a lot like Professor Snape in the Harry Potter novels. The Bartleteers regularly suspected him of evil and treachery in the first three seasons based on his unpleasant personality and antipathy to them only to discover that he was actually in the right and they were in the moral wrong (20 Hours in LA), he will do the right thing when push comes to shove (Stirred, present-day scenes in In the Shadow of Two Gunmen) or some of his seeming treachery actually stems from worse treachery from Jed's end (Enemies, The Stackhouse Filibuster/17 People). Hoynes cheating and leaking classified information is a little like when Snape killed Dumbledore- the "OMG, we were totally right to hate his guts! He's not a wolf in sheep's clothing but instead a monster in wolf's clothing"). It's just that Snape was cleared by further explanation in Book 7 of Harry Potter while Hoynes's fall was left as his responsibility.



The awesomeness of this ep is diluted when the interns appear again to work on that counter-ad that Will proposed. That said, this scene is funnier than the earlier Will/interns scenes.

WILL
A soccer mom. No. Fade in on an SUV stuck in the mud. The soccer mom behind the wheel is switching from reverse to drive, her wheels spinning in place and behind her, we see she's pulling-- wait for it--

ROMANO
A Saudi oil rig.

WILL
A Saudi oil rig, that's exactly right. She's trying to pull a Saudi oil rig. We're in mind meld right now, Lauren number two and I.

ROMANO
I'm number three.

WILL
I moved you up, you see what happens?

CASSIE
How are people gonna know it's a Saudi oil rig?

WILL
How are people gonna know it's a Saudi oil rig?

ROMANO
Well, that's a good point.

WILL
Yeah, you know, you had the number two ranking among the Laurens, but you lost it. She's number one 'cause she got the food, then I expect the two of you to compete for the two spot.

Lauren Shelby's suggestion?

SHELBY
What if instead of hauling a Saudi oil rig, she's hauling actual Saudis?

WILL
Hauling Saudis? Like a U-Haul full of Saudis?

ROMANO
Maybe the oil rig could have Arabic writing on it.

WILL
Is this coming awfully close to a 15-second spot the Klan might produce?

CHIN
You know what we should do? We should use the same family.

ROMANO
Hey, yes, it's the same family. We get the same actors, driving an SUV this time, but they have to stop every three miles for gas.

WILL
I like it. Who else?

CASSIE
How's that joke gonna play in 15 seconds?

WILL
How's it gonna play in 15 seconds?

Romano doesn't answer because there's no right answer. Lauren Shelby tries to redeem herself.

SHELBY
You understand I'm not saying the soccer mom's dragging them up the hill. They'd be super comfortable.

WILL
Stop talking.

SHELBY
Okay.



A meeting of the lovelorn men. Charlie is in a very quirky mood and talks more in one sitting than he usually does over a season. It's very cute and I'd remiss if I didn't quote it all.

CHARLIE
Helen Baldwin is gonna write a book. She's retained an agent, who sent around a two-page outline, and there's a bidding war. Random House has brought it for low seven figures according to Stu Winkle. Could that possibly be his real name? [reading newspaper] "Baldwin, long a fixture in D.C. and Manhattan Society, whether for her work on charity boards or her position on the arm of some of Wall Street, Washington and Hollywood's most eligible men, as well as hosting some of beltways favorite..." What the hell kind of sentence is this?

This is 73-year-old lady who works in the Residence, cleaning and winding all the clocks. She won't retire. She inherited it from her mother who inherited it from her mother. She earns $22,000 a year. She's trusted to walk in and out of rooms where there's personal correspondence, where she can hear if the President and First Lady are having a fight, where she can see people come for secret meetings, and she's been doing this for five decades worth of Presidents. Her name is Mrs. Wheely, and I said, "Mrs. Wheely, you should really write a book," and she said, "No, no, no, we don't do that." 22,000 a year.

TOBY
You said I wouldn't even know you were here. Just so you know, I can tell that you are.

I love all of this! Charlie critiquing sentence structure, IMO in part, to ingratiate himself with Toby. Charlie being plugged into the Washington DC tell-all book scene and Charlie's long-standing habit of making friends with old women who work in the White House from Mrs. Landingham to Debbie Fiderer to Mrs. Wheely. The classic Sorkinesque word play of, ""Mrs. Wheely, you should really..." with Dule Hill taking special care to rhyme and pronounce "really" more like a child's "weally". And then it's all undercut by some classic Toby misanthropy. Classic. But then, it gets better.

CHARLIE
Are you eating a salad?

TOBY
Yeah.

CHARLIE
Why?

TOBY
'Cause I am.

CHARLIE
I don't think I've ever seen you eat a salad. What kind of salad is it?

TOBY
I don't know.

CHARLIE
Just mixed greens?

TOBY
I don't know what kind of salad it is. I'm eating a salad, okay? I'm doing it. Do I have to know the names? There's no difference between them. It's a bowl of weeds. Some of them have cheese. This isn't the kind with cheese. Does that answer your question? How many years have you guys been "Toby, you eat like a teenager. Toby, that's red meat. That's your second cigar." Here I am eating a salad, which by the way, you could cover this thing in barbecue sauce and it would still tastes like the ground, and I'm getting heckled from the gallery, who wanted to come in here to eat his roast beef sandwich with ketchup on a kaiser roll and watch the damn tennis on my TV! That's all I'm saying.

Bwahahahaha! I love salad but I totally get Toby's frustration with learning their names and his frustrated, "This isn't the kind with cheese. Does that answer your question?" Also, the way that Richard Schiff hungrily and jealously eyes Charlie's sandwich as he describes it is hilarious.

CHARLIE
Man, Toby, you're really doing everything you can do to get that woman to marry you?

To Andi's credit, she says in the next episode that her problem with Toby isn't what he eats or what he wears or where he lives. Still, Toby isn't a stupid man. If he thinks Andi has those problems with him, I wager that they had a lot of trivial but nasty fights about this stuff while they were married and Toby is so damaged and unable to become a sunny person that he fixates on the trivialities.

TOBY
Yes, I'm doing everything I can.

Joe enters and Toby, in his pique of anger, sharply asks what he wants.



QUINCY
Excuse me, I'm Joe Quincy. They told you I was coming by.

TOBY
Yeah. You're the new sawbones.

QUINCY
Donna Moss already got me to say it.

TOBY
Damn it. This is Charlie Young.

Poor Toby. Eating salads instead of meaty sandwiches, lovelorn, watching a corny ad while his deputy doesn't have an idea on how to combat it *and* beaten to the punch by Donna Moss! It's not his day.

QUINCY
Your office had requested comments on your draft statement about a decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

TOBY
Yeah. If Counsel's fine, you just have C.J. Cregg's office put it out.

QUINCY
Yeah, I saw it was headed there, the language is incendiary, and I wasn't sure if you know that you couldn't beat up on the Appeals Courts and then expect the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Maybe but the justices on this fictional Supreme Court are that petty but I would hope that they grant writ of cert to cases that they want to hear regardless of CJ says from the podium on one day.

TOBY
Did I beat up on them in the notes for the press comments?

QUINCY
Yes.

TOBY
What did I say?

QUINCY
You said in this case that the Fourth Circuit lack the judicial imagination God gave pistachio nuts.

TOBY
[laughs] They did!

QUINCY
Perhaps.

TOBY
Joe, did you think I was going to have the Press Secretary, on behalf of the President, compare a Federal judge to a pistachio nut? The language gets cleaned up on C.J.'s desk.

QUINCY
That makes sense.

I'm sure that Sorkin put that joke in so Joe Quincy didn't look like a *total* Marty Stu. It's bad enough that he's solving the whole mystery, is played by an actor from the network's then juggernaut sitcom and is told that he looks like a male version of a leggy Republican sex kitten even though he's really not that hot. Anyway, the Marty Studom is neatly averted plus we all get the hilarity of picturing giant pistachio nuts dressed in old fashioned judge's robes and powered wigs hearing appellate cases, bobbing somberly as they consider the points of the case.

CHARLIE
Toby is distracted by a woman. And salads.

TOBY
You know when you do ten minutes on Helen Baldwin getting a book deal, it's righteous, but I speak my mind after getting poked with a stick and it's 'cause of Andy!

Adorable!

QUINCY
Helen Baldwin has a book deal?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

QUINCY
Where did you find that out?

CHARLIE
I'm glad you asked, 'cause it gives me the opportunity to say 'Stu Winkle.' I got it from Stu Winkle, the Post's man in the stick of it.

QUINCY
He's their gossip guy?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

Anyway, Joe asks where the northwest entrance is because he's the new guy.

TOBY
Yeah. You just go that way and then, you know, ask somebody else.

LOL. I can't tell ya'll how many times I've done this when someone has asked me for directions. Anyway as Joe leaves, Toby can totally read that Joe has something big on his mind because Toby is the master of the Jedi Mind Tricks.

QUINCY
I'm sure it's nothing, and this is just my first day.

Toby looks at him with skepticism.

QUINCY
Two press inquires, they came to my attention that sounded... alike is all. Can I get
back to you?

TOBY
Make sure you do.



DONNA
Josh thinks you should advance the numbers on sales of first homes to the Journal. He said the Times got sales of existing homes.

C.J.
You know what happens with negotiated press leaks? Two-thirds of the press gives us lousy coverage 'cause they're tweaked that they didn't get the leak, and the other third...

CJ's half petulant, half wise and dead-on lesson is interrupted by the same bird tapping with his beak. Hilariously, CJ and Donna go to inspect the bird in what has to be a very Livejournal iconable moment.



C.J.
They think they see the reflection in the window, and they think it's another bird.

DONNA
What's the learning curve on a bird?

Tapping.

DONNA
Stop it.

Anyway, Joe appears and interrupts the wildlife moment.

C.J.
Sorry, we thought for a second you were a huge bird knocking on the door.

We'll find out that he is. He's the "little bird" to comes by to give CJ the clinching gossip turned serious news.

QUINCY
Is something going on with birds?

C.J.
Well, one of them is obsessed with Donna.

DONNA
It's true, I'm like Tippi Hedren around here.

Donna leaves and Joe kind of hems and haws before launching into the serious news.



QUINCY
You said the Science editor, when he came to you with a question about the NASA Commission...

C.J.
I wouldn't worry to much about Mars. I gave it to you to give you a hard time.

QUINCY
No kidding. By the way, there was a report, but it was classified by the Defense Department. And we'll leave how much I didn't want to know about that for another time.

C.J.
What's the problem?

QUINCY
You said the science editor had a blind source, that it came from someone else at the paper,
and I... I think I know who it was.

C.J.
Who?

QUINCY
A guy name Stu Winkle who has a new gossip column.

C.J.
How would a gossip columnist get a hold of a story about the Pentagon?

QUINCY
I'd rather not say yet.

C.J.
Why?

QUINCY
'Cause if I'm wrong, it'll be inappropriate that I suggested it, and I'll be held in
contempt.

C.J.
You are wrong.

QUINCY
No, I'm not.

C.J.
Stu Winkles don't get tips about the White House illegally suppressing reports.

QUINCY
The NASA reports over. I'm not concerned with that. Would you mind calling him right now and leading him to confirm that he's the other reporter?

C.J.
You want me to call Stu Winkle?

QUINCY
He has a new column. You're calling to wish him luck.

C.J.
I don't usually make personal calls to gossip columnist.

QUINCY
He's going to be very flattered.

C.J.
And you won't tell me why?

QUINCY
No.

C.J.
Even if I give you assurances that I already hold you in contempt?

QUINCY
Yes.

CJ is now intrigued and asks Carol to get her Stu Winkle. Carol is amusingly surprised that she's putting a call in to Stu Winkle. Hee! Carol leaves to find the number.

QUINCY
Okay, when you get him in the phone. here's what you say...

C.J.
I know what to say.

Ha! Joe totally delivered that like someone who thinks he's in charge of the mission of subterfuge and got so carried away that he's now telling the White House Press Secretary how to talk to a reporter and CJ totally undercuts him in like five words. Joe gets more brought down to size by CJ noting on her own that she'll have to clean up Toby's pistachio nut language. Both "cut Joe down to size" moments are clearly there so when the phone call brings the revelation that Joe was right all along, the audience will still like him and won't consider him insufferably perfect.

Anyway, CJ gets Stu Winkle on the phone. Some could complain about Stu being a stereotypical flaming homosexual on a show that until Ronna didn't have any out gay characters. It's not a problem for me, though, perhaps because as I've indicated in past recaps and comments, I consider most of the main characters' sexual orientations very flexible and I love slash on this show. It's also hilarious and since this episode pushes the "little bird" angle, it's great that the main purveyor of information is hilariously quirky but unseen. Stu Winkle comes out as a colorful and vibrant presence through his voice on the the speaker phone but like so many purveyors of gossip, he's the unseen unimportant one compared to the information that he purveys.

C.J.
Stu, this is C.J. Cregg at the White House.

Silence on the other end.

C.J.
Stu?

STU WINKLE [VO]
Oh, my God, it's really you, isn't it?

C.J.
It is, and I saw you have a new column and I think it's terrific and everyone here at the White House wishes you a lot of luck.

STU [VO]
You are the classiest thing for calling me.

C.J.
Well...



Caption: CJ's delighted and flattered expression.

STU [VO]
You are the classiest thing! You're my hero, C.J. Your brilliance and your sense of humor and your clothes...

Stu Winkle is like the voice of the audience or at least the voice of myself.

STU [VO]
The evening gowns, who makes them for you? Do not tell me you buy off the rack, I'll kill you.

C.J.
Well, I'm a girl on a budget.

STU [VO]
Oh, don't try that on me.

C.J.
No, really.

STU [VO]
Oh, yeah, like the party at the Japanese Embassy, you were wearing a dress from Saks.

C.J.
Stu, I wanted to get you a direct answer to that NASA Commission question that Ralph Gish and Katie brought me this morning. It was the Defense Department and not the White House who classified the report.

He doesn't respond.

C.J.
Stu?

STU [VO]
Uh, well, that makes perfect sense. I hope, I hope you don't mind, it sounded crazy enough, but what do I know? So, you got to run these things down. You know, I know you have all the free time in the world, but it would be great if we can get together for a quick coffee one day, and I'll tell you why. You may find this hard to believe, but before I got into this lighter stuff, I was a serious journalist. I don't mean boring/serious, but, you know...

As Stu continues to ramble on, Quincy shows C.J. the article written by Stu Winkle on
Helen Baldwin getting a book signing deal. He then places a yellow legal note pad down
on that desk that has "Question from Reporter: NASA Commission" and "Question from
reporter: Anti-trust" circled.



He then places a white packet on C.J.'s desk titled: "White House Telephone Record: Outgoing and Incoming". He opens up to the first page where we see that he has highlighted all the times that Vice President John Hoynes has called Helen Baldwin from his office phone. It's a lot of yellow on that sheet. The whole silent indication of the trail is so well-done. Stu is still rambling.

C.J.
Stu, thank you very much. I'm sorry, I have to go.

STU [VO]
Well, I cannot tell you how class...

C.J. hangs up the phone on him. Aw, poor Stu. I bet that when a week rolls around and CJ never called him for coffee that he felt totally used. C.J. calls for Carol and tells her that she needs to see Josh and Toby, and Joe needs to see the Vice President. Joe looks very sober. It's interesting that the later writers extrapolated that CJ had a one-night stand with a married Hoynes. It didn't necessarily come out of nowhere. I could see the later writers thinking it was significant that CJ was the senior staffer to draw the connecting link here and she had memorable confrontations with Hoynes (Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, Enemies). While CJ/Hoynes wasn't a big ship, of course, there was a certain amount of fanfic about them circulating when I got into the show and online fandom in S3 continuing into S4. Because CJ has so excellent a poker face and a way of repressing her opinions and emotions and is in fact, paid to do that, writers have a certain amount of liberty in later revealing that she was unseen emotional reaction to an event that occurred episodes ago.

All of that said, if Sorkin intended on her having that history with Hoynes, he would have written some tell into her response to Hoynes's philandering here. IMO, he did not. In fact I wager to say that if Sorkin later got the idea to write a one-night stand between CJ and Hoynes if he was still writing S5, he would have refrained from doing that. Not because I know Aaron Sorkin personally but instead because the continuity of emotions and serious events, if not tiny details, was so good in the first four seasons that I can't see Sorkin writing something that came out of left field like that. Also as strange as CJ's reaction is here for someone who had a sexual history with Hoynes, Hoynes's later behavior is even stranger for the perpetual adulterer that Full Disclosure and the later episodes paint him as. CJ's "affair" with Hoynes was plausible but it is a clear break from the Sorkin Years to the Post-Sorkin Years.



We flash to the Don Juan himself holding a staff meeting about an upcoming Cairo trip. The camera makes a point of showing that Claire-From-The-Beginning-of-the-Episode is part this meeting. Tim Matheson is a superb actor and on the surface, he is running the meeting in his usual confident, sardonic way but below the surface, you can see how scared and ashamed he is. He ends the meeting and significantly asks his staffers to stay behind.

Joe Quincy enters with CJ, Toby and Josh. I love Hoynes's reaction.



HOYNES
Good evening. You brought friendly faces.

JOSH
Sir?

HOYNES
You brought friendly faces. That was considerate.

Notice that Will didn't come along and friendly-to-Hoynes Sam Seaborne is conveniently out of the picture. Bringing CJ, Josh and Toby and their rocky professional relationships with Hoynes feels like a true conclusion to Hoynes's time as VP.

HOYNES
This is your first day?

QUINCY
Yes, sir.

HOYNES
Well, they're going to put you picture up someplace. You're going to get honored at a luncheon. We were just meeting in here. I have a bilateral commission with the Vice President of Egypt. It's in Cairo this year. We see how legal and financial systems can attract foreign investments, so look out for ShopEgypt.org, I suppose. And you're going to tell me I'm not going to Cairo.

Aw, Hoynes also does the thing were he tries to cover up his fear and personal shortfalls by smugly filibustering on policy issues. The Bartleteers and the Bartlet himself do that too! As always, Hoynes had more in common with the "Bartlet kitchen cabinet" then either party wanted to admit.

JOSH
Mr. Vice President, have you been having an affair with Helen Baldwin while here at
the White House?

TOBY
He's asking because...

HOYNES
I should hit you in the face.

I love the significance that it's Josh who throws out the first accusation because it's Josh who has the richest history with Hoynes.



The make-up artists really made Hoynes look less perfectly handsome than he normally does. His face looks older and more pockmarked as he's laid out with all of his sins and betrayals.

HOYNES
I know why he's asking. I know why he's asking. I understand why you're here. I've spoken with C.J. Yes. And I like to show off. I... said things. I said I'd seen proof of life on Mars. I said I'd intervened at the Justice Department to put 100,000 computers into classrooms, which I thought made me sound like a good guy. [to Quincy] What, did you hear a rumor once?

QUINCY
Yes, sir.

HOYNES
And you saw Helen had a book deal, you knew she must have teased them with something. It's a tell-all. Couple of items in the gossip columns. Maybe the gossip guy was the Science Editor's contact?

QUINCY
Yes, sir.

HOYNES
Well, you earned your money today. This could have been bad, but you found it early. What do I do now?

QUINCY
Sir, I'm an Associate Counsel, and this is my first day. I've spoken to Oliver Babbish, who's gotten on a plane...

HOYNES
What do I do now?

QUINCY
I think you've got to talk to your family now, sir.

Josh, CJ, Toby and Joe take that as their cue to leave.



JOSH
[to Quincy] I hope I didn't see you smile in there.

QUINCY
You didn't.

C.J.
Josh.

JOSH
Yeah?

C.J.
You didn't.

Another pitch-perfect interaction. Josh feels betrayed by and angry at Hoynes but a part of him, still feels supportive of this politician who he tried to make president for a time. Then it also feels right that CJ who was teasing and stirring up trouble for Joe back when this episode was a screwball comedy to defend him in this sober moment of truth.



Then, the mood disconcertingly switches back to comedy for another scene with Will and the interns. Still, it ends up working. It's kind of the Lite version of the silly, "Write the White House correspondence dinner" scenes married with Jed and Leo telling Toby about the MS secret in 17 People. Note that Jed's MS will compared with Hoynes's adultery later and I'll have words on that.

SHELBY
Something with gas mask.

WILL
[to Shelby] Sing to me, Lauren Romano.

ROMANO
I'm Lauren Romano.

WILL
Keep going with the gas mask.

SHELBY
Mothers barely able to even see their children through the haze of gas masks.

WILL
Wow, you rode it right off the rails there, didn't you?

SHELBY
I did.

CHIN
Anyone else thinks it's weird that Toby had a salad?

WILL
Anyone else thinks it's weird that it was nine hours ago, and Lauren Romano's still talking about it?

You know at first, I had no idea why the hell the show had Lauren Romano gossiping about Toby's salad considering that it feels so inconsequential and we never even had a scene with Toby and the interns until a five second at the end of this very scene. However I then realized that in this episode about gossip, it's a funny little insert of gossip about the most inconsequential things married to a broader storyline about the kind of gossip that can destroy high-flying political careers because that gossip is backed up by reports of betrayal- Hoynes's betrayal of classified information and his wife and family.

Toby comes in and Will excitedly narrates his idea.



WILL
Listen to this. Clear blue sky. The camera tilts down into a slowly thickening haze until it levels on a suburban street. An SUV filled with mom, dad and the kids-- the same actors from the other ad, and Rex-- they get out, and they're wearing gas masks. We've also got one where the family's towing Saudi's in a U-Haul.

TOBY
Doesn't really have the feel of high-minded debate, does it?

WILL
No, but actually, you don't want it to.

TOBY
Why not?

WILL
'Cause we're countering an attack ad, and when you're in the trenches on one of these things, and they're throwing...

TOBY
But we're not in the trenches. Two bodies of government are debating fuel efficiency at the highest level. We're not in the trenches. I don't know. I know it's a 15-second spot. We got to scare them. I just don't feel like doing that tonight. Will, you need to come with me. I need to tell you what's about to happen.

This episode has been dramatically satisfying on every level but here's the really excellent scene. Everyone always goes gaga over the Josh/Hoynes relationships as they should because it's well-written and well-acted and generally fabulous. However, the Jed/Hoynes relationship really is the mother of all dark relationships on this show.



Jed asks Hoynes if he spoke to his wife, Suzanne. Hoynes said he did and then Leo (in a non-dirty way) asks for details and Hoynes resists.

HOYNES
I don't think it matters.

LEO
I'll tell you what, Mr. Vice President. For this moment, tonight, I'm going to be in charge of deciding what matters. 47 phone calls? Did you not know that the White House keeps records of phone calls? Did you not know that? How many times? When did it start?

It's to Leo's credit on the surface that he's immediately delving into the footprints that Hoynes left behind rather than sermonizing on how Hoynes's treated his wife. Still, this quote does back my instinct that incompetence bothers Leo much more than mendacity. It does mesh with Leo's blase reaction to Sam's father keeping a mistress with an entirely new family secret for years with a dismissive, "My father had affairs too, Sam. It's just what happens." (paraphrase) I have to say that between Leo's alcoholism and drugs to the point that he'd black out in parking lots and Jenny's suspicious attitude at him coming home late at the start of Season 1, I really wouldn't rule out that Leo had some affairs of his own.

HOYNES
It is none of your business.

LEO
I'm about to read about it in a book.

HOYNES
Then read about it!

LEO
Didn't it ever occur to you that she might do this?

HOYNES
No. I didn't think she would.

BARTLET
You were wrong.

I adore the way Martin Sheen delivered that out of the darkness, after staying quiet for a bit.

LEO
Do you think there's anyone else behind this?

HOYNES
I don't know.

LEO
Do you think she may have been coached by Republican Leadership?

HOYNES
I don't know.

LEO
John, if we are going to weather this, then we're going to have to...

Leo has reverted to calling Hoynes by his first name as opposed to the formality that he started the scene off with. Things become personal.

HOYNES
We're not going to weather this.

LEO
We will.

HOYNES
We won't. I'm resigning.



BARTLET
If we're going to do this, we got to start tonight, now, and I need you thinking now
and not giving up...

HOYNES
Yes, sir, I'm resigning the Vice Presidency.

BARTLET
What about "It's none of your business?"

HOYNES
I leaked classified information. It is their business. It's also a felony.

LEO
Are you in a position to deny it?

HOYNES
No.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! Very interesting. Leo knows that Hoynes had an affair and committed a felon by leaking secure information and he now asks whether Hoynes could just deny it and lie to the public. Not Leo's most sterling moment of integrity by a long shot.

LEO
She's made a seven-figure book deal. She's not going to have a lot of credibility.

HOYNES
Well, since when does she need credibility?

I understand (and scorn) Hoynes's bitterness but women selling or even just telling (see Hill, Anita) stories about affairs with male politicians are always doubted and trashed. I get that the story is still out there to do some damage to the male politician's reputation but Hoynes's attitude to his former bed partners is believably mean and small.

BARTLET
Apologize and move on. Accept responsibility. You don't need to disclose details. She's going to take care of that for you. You're going to be the dinner special for two months, and then you've got two and half years to get the nomination.

HOYNES
I'm not getting the nomination.

BARTLET
In the middle of MS, it looked like we were never going to recover, and we did.

HOYNES
Which is why it is never going to happen again.

BARTLET
John...

HOYNES
That was it. that was the one you get.

BARTLET
Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Vice President, if my multiple sclerosis was a bummer for your sex life. How the hell did you do this to us?! You can't resign, John. It's a terrible signal to send.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Vice President, if my multiple sclerosis was a bummer for your sex life" is like the most underrated Jed Bartlet line ever. There may have been some era-specific call-backs from Jed's MS scandal to Clinton's adultery but this is a great line to differentiate between the two.

HOYNES
Sir, if I stay, it sabotages an entire agenda, and you know I'm right, and the party's going to need a candidate that can win. And I think the least I think I can do for Suzanne is not to drag her through it so much.

BARTLET
Is there more? Is there another shoe, 'cause if it's a series of...

HOYNES
I'd imagine she's going to describe...

LEO
You're still going to get dragged through it, sir. It's not going to change anything. Only now, you're going to be out there alone, with no mechanism or apparatus for a comeback.

HOYNES
Leo...

LEO
Which I'm telling you, you can do. You can make it. I can help you.



Interesting that Leo is advocating so hard for Hoynes to stay and make it through this scandal even though he was ready to fall on his sword for his alcoholism/drug addiction scandal in S1. Even more interesting, Leo has been rather hard and cold in accepting volleys for resignation from his senior staff whether it's his "You'll do what you want" attitude to CJ talking about resigning at the beginning of S3 or how he accepted Toby's resignation because of the Social Security screw-up in the middle of S5 and it was Jed who didn't want it and Josh who tried to look for a solution out it.

I do think that Leo's basic attitude is that because of his own personal shortfalls contrasted with his strict professionalism and utter political loyalty, that he accepts resignations for political screw-ups but has a problem with resignations for personal issues. However with his "I take a bullet for the President" attitude, he will resign over personal shortcomings. He just doesn't hold others to that standard. Now, this is rather noble in one sense but it's incredibly misguided here because Hoynes's leak of classified information is a political betrayal and screw-up that goes beyond CJ's relieved comment or Toby's Social Security mistake or even Josh losing Senator Carrick as a Democrat. However Leo is chiefly focusing on the "affair" part of the storyline, perhaps because he's thinking back to Hoynes giving him the opportunity to attend AA meetings, and ignoring a breach of security that should make Leo very angry.

I adore Leo. Third favorite character on the show and it's fantastic that he was in the Chief of Staff role. Still, I'm glad that Jed is the President and the buck stops with Jed. Jed has the much better moral compass and he sees the whole board.

HOYNES
I don't want to take my family through it.

LEO
You're a giant, John. You're a U.S. Senator, the Vice-President of the United States, and presumptive nominee of your party. You cannot be taken down by this... cheap person and her customers huddled around Macy's window waiting for someone to turn themselves inside out. It's cause for divorce, not resignation. You cannot be taken down by this cheap person.

It's a similar echo to Josh's support of Leo in The Short List before Lillienfield was going to bust out with Leo's drug and alcohol history. "I won't allow you to be taken down by this fraction of a man." Mind you, I also think that Leo's mistakes and secrecy with drugs and booze are morally superior to Hoynes's adultery and leaking of classified information. (Although, Leo being high while running the Labor Department takes him down a few notches.) However, there is a contrast here between Leo's, Hoynes's and Jed's issues.

HOYNES
The President knows I'm right. So do you. The truth is, I took an oath, too... so...

BARTLET
Didn't you have any sense that this was the kind of person who would do this?

HOYNES
Hasn't it been your experience that they look pretty much like the people who wouldn't?

Yes, Hoynes made his bed as a figurative expression and to get dirty with Helen Baldwin. However, that line always had a great deal of pathos and truth to me.

BARTLET
Well, I want you to sleep on it. I want all of us to sleep on it.

HOYNES
Thank you, Mr. President.

However to make a long story short, Hoynes slept on it and decided to resign. The end of the episode goes back to the teaser scene and shows Claire walking through the White House, this time watched by Joe- the new detective in this story. She gives Jed Hoynes's letter of resignation.



Jed goes to Leo's office.

BARTLET
Yeah, we're going to need a new Vice President.
8 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
melwil From: melwil Date: April 25th, 2011 11:34 am (UTC) (Link)
It really is a great moment for lj icons :)
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 25th, 2011 03:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love that!
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 25th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL!
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 25th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is an interesting episode because I am not sure how I feel about Hoynes as a womanizer. I don't feel that it is done well. I agree with you on the CJ plot being weird. If Hoynes were that much of a womanizer it would have surfaced before then. I do think you have a point about Leo, however, because I can totally see Leo as a womanizer during his drinking and drugging days.Also, men that powerful, have a different moral compass. I can't even see Leo SEEING the cheating as being that bad. He's pissed about the classified info and from the WH. And why wasn't Hoynes criminally persecuted for leaking classified information?

I do like Joe's character and I like the way he figures it out. And, as you point out- the two mistakes make him look less than perfect for figuring it out.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 25th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is an interesting episode because I am not sure how I feel about Hoynes as a womanizer. I don't feel that it is done well.

I like this ep and I can buy Hoynes as a guy who got drunk with the power of being VP and is bored in his marriage and decided to stray with socialite Helen Baldwin. However, the later efforts to label him a habitual cheater suck. I agree that it would have surfaced before. Plus, IMO, a habitual womanizer wouldn't be so silly as to leak classified information to show off. I suppose it's plausible but I think of that as more of a likely action for someone inexperienced in having affairs and sleeping with younger woman who got carried away.

Also word on the confusion over Hoynes didn't face criminal prosecution. I thought of giving the fanwank that Jed gave him clemency but IMO, we would have heard about it if Jed did so especially with the brou-ha-ha over Jed pardoning Toby and Hoynes's Season 6 bitterness towards the Bartlet administration.

Word on Leo and Joe. Curiously, I can see Leo cheating on his wife although I really can't see Jed or Toby doing the same. Even though there's a ton of fanfic about Toby cheating on Andi with mostly CJ or occaisionally Ann Stark, I actually think he's the least likely to cheat on his spouse.
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: April 25th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't see Jed or Toby cheating. I agree- Toby would be the last person to cheat. I don't see Josh cheating(once he marries Donna) and I don't see Sam cheating. Curiously, I think that Will would be capable of it.
I agree that presenting Hoynes as a one time opps is one thing- and that's why this episode works because it does show that Hoynes just got 'whipped' and acted accordingly. Also in season 6- didn't his wife kind of look like the trophy wife? Wonder if gal one left him and he had to update.
But yes-as a womanizer, it would have leaked WAY before that. I mean, my beloved Bill Clinton had stories going around LONG before he ever left the Governor's office.
But CJ sleeping with him-knowing he was married-is out of character for her and really for Hoynes as he was presented up to then. I can see Donna or Amy possibly sleeping with a married man, but not CJ so much. Especially because she's ducking that ben in season 5 and one of her constant complaints is that he is married(until she finds out he's divorced. )
I read a really good Toby/Andi fic once where they just grew bored.
chameleon_irony From: chameleon_irony Date: April 25th, 2011 06:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating comparison between Hoynes and Snape. The similarity never occurred to me, probably because their endings are so different. Snape's character is redeemed in the end; by the end of the books we know for sure that he was a good guy, but in Hoynes's case the opposite happens: he acts decent in Stirred, for example, but later, thanks to this episode and his interview with Greg Brock in Full Disclosure, most people come away with the perception of him as a nasty, backstabbing opportunist with few to no redeeming qualities. Unless you count his looking saddened by Leo's death in Requiem as a subtle redeeming moment...

if Sorkin intended on her having that history with Hoynes, he would have written some tell into her response to Hoynes's philandering here.

Well, there's CJ's expression in the scene in Hoynes's office in this ep - imo, she looks like she wants to cry, and sounds like it too. It doesn't prove anything except that maybe she feels sorry for him, which in itself is surprising given the antagonism between them every time they interacted in previous episodes except in Stirred.

However, the Jed/Hoynes relationship really is the mother of all dark relationships on this show.

So true. Their relationship is so poignant and angsty and complex that frankly, knowing fandom, I'm surprised no one has written slash about them.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 26th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating comparison between Hoynes and Snape. The similarity never occurred to me, probably because their endings are so different. Snape's character is redeemed in the end; by the end of the books we know for sure that he was a good guy, but in Hoynes's case the opposite happens: he acts decent in Stirred, for example, but later, thanks to this episode and his interview with Greg Brock in Full Disclosure, most people come away with the perception of him as a nasty, backstabbing opportunist with few to no redeeming qualities. Unless you count his looking saddened by Leo's death in Requiem as a subtle redeeming moment...

Thanks.

Well, there's CJ's expression in the scene in Hoynes's office in this ep - imo, she looks like she wants to cry, and sounds like it too. It doesn't prove anything except that maybe she feels sorry for him, which in itself is surprising given the antagonism between them every time they interacted in previous episodes except in Stirred.


I think it's a very sobering thing for CJ to watch a giant political career end in disgrace no matter how much it's Hoynes's fault. Mind you, CJ has been spinning directly and indirectly for Hoynes and advocating for the Bartlet/Hoynes ticket. It's a lot of energy and emotion invested in trying to believe the best of Hoynes to sell the best of Hoynes to see his political career implode in disgrace.

Although it certainly serves the later story to call CJ's sadness indicative of left over feelings from sleeping together or some sobering realization of what happens to philanderers who are found out in politics and how that could strike at CJ's worry and guilt.

So true. Their relationship is so poignant and angsty and complex that frankly, knowing fandom, I'm surprised no one has written slash about them.

I know! I troll West Wing fanfiction and I haven't seen Jed/Hoynes slash. What the hell, fandom?
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