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Inaguration: Over There - ww_renaissance
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ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
Inaguration: Over There
Now, we're on the second part of the Inauguration two-parter. Normally, I love the second part of West Wing two-parters the most. However while this episode is fun and decently written, I do think that it gets way too fluffy and saccharine and doesn't satisfactorily answer the tough moral, interpersonal, etc. questions that Inauguration Part I and other episodes through Season 4 set up.

That said, it's great fun so without further ado, .

Toby is still trying to summon Will with his balls. "Well, that's certainly calls for a 'dirty'!" (Lorelai Gilmore voice)

WILL
You're not ever worried about the window breaking?

TOBY
During moments of peak frustration. When the Speaker of the House threatens to repeal the 16th Amendment. A couple of Yankee games. And there was the time Congress censured my boss. But it's always held up, that window. That window's a game-day player.

Classic Toby. "That window's a game-day player" couldn't be a more adorable quote.



Toby demands to know what Will spoke about with Jed.

WILL
He said, "Why is a Kundunese life worth less to me than an American life?" And I said, "I don't know, sir, but it is."

TOBY
Didn't we talk about this?

WILL
Yes.

TOBY
But you gave it a shot anyway?

WILL
I wasn't giving it a shot, Toby, it was a casual conversation.

TOBY
With the President?

WILL
He came here. He was standing in my doorway.

TOBY
The Dow plummets because of casual conversations with this man, but that's not the point.

WILL
What's the point?

TOBY
You can't get in his head this close to something this important. You've got to keep the train on the tracks.

WILL
I apologize, but there's...

TOBY
No, no "but" at the end of that. Not on this one. This one haunts him. It haunts everyone.

Will clearly respects Toby's position but is still convinced of his rightness and makes that clear in the rest of the meeting.

WILL
Well, I finished the language.

TOBY
How is it?

WILL
Bloodless, compromising and half a loaf.

TOBY
That's foreign policy.

Will reads his language in an entirely snarky and critical way. It's pretty great. There have been so many great scenes on this show with the speechwriters really delving into how to write a good speech for the President that I'm loath to declare a favorite but I do think that Toby and Will working on the Inaugural address and how that ends up helping to create real revolutionary American foreign policy really is my favorite speech writing storyline.

WILL
"America stands today as the one truly indispensable nation-- the strongest force and the proudest voice for peace, pluralism and prosperity that the world has ever known."

TOBY
Okay, keep the ancient Romans out of the first ten rows, and we're fine.

WILL
"Today at the dawn of a new century, America needs a new commitment to protect our own security, to model freedom to the world."

TOBY
To model it?

WILL
I figure if we're not going to help create freedom from tyranny, then let's at least
sell some Barcaloungers.

TOBY
The U.S. doesn't help create freedom from tyranny?

WILL
I forget to add, "where our own interests aren't necessarily involved." [reading speech] "To do what we can to fulfill humanity's promise and to prove that self-determination is the watchword of all mankind."

TOBY
The watchword of all mankind? I don't know what the means.

WILL
Don't worry, neither will anyone else.

TOBY
The speech is good. It's better than good. There's one paragraph that's vague, and we're going to live with it.

Toby walks out and Will fires his parting shot.

WILL
Which is more than you can say for the Kundunese.

Brilliant. Will comes in and follows Toby.

WILL
I heard once-- I don't know if this is true-- I heard once that you convinced the President to let you rewrite a section of the State of the Union with less than 24 hours to go. It was the second year, and everybody was a Republican whether they were or not, and people at the DNC convinced him to include the line, "The era of big government is over," and you couldn't live with it. Because government should be a place where people come to gather, and no one gets left behind. An instrument of good. And that's exactly what we heard in the State of the Union the next night.

Excellent continuity. Jed, Toby and Josh were the only people in the room during that scene. I bet that Josh repeated it to Sam, fanboying Toby as Josh is wont to do on special occasions and then Sam repeated to Will in the context of wanting to stand up for what's true and good in his race in Orange County.

TOBY
There were maybe four people in the room when I had that conversation.

WILL
Well, if I'd had been one of them, I'd have repeated it to everyone I met. Anyway, I'm going to move onto some language in trade and commerce.

CREDITS



CJ is briefing about the Kundunese government meeting with representatives from Ghana, Nigeria and Zaire to no avail. FYI, CJ actually says Zaire even though it had been the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1997. Boo! Perhaps CJ does that because this briefing is supposed to eerily resemble Dee Dee Myer's briefings on non-intervention in Rwanda word-for-word. If you watch Hotel Rwanda, some of the characters are listening to the radio and they play Dee Dee Myer's press briefings with these lines almost word for word.

REPORTER STEVE
C.J., there's a 1948 U.N. Convention on Genocide, and the U.S. is a signatory. Simply put, it says that if it's determined that genocide is taking place, the United States is compelled to intervene.

C.J.
The problem is the Convention distinguishes between acts of genocide and genocide.

REPORTER KATIE
It distinguishes between acts of genocide and genocide?

C.J.
It does. Mark?

REPORTER MARK
How many acts of genocide constitute a genocide?

C.J.
I don't know.

Solemnity of this briefing aside, Danny wants to do his version of playing footsie with CJ.

C.J.
Danny?

DANNY
What's the weather report for Sunday?

C.J.
Two below with the wind chill. That's a full lid. Good night.

Danny, as always, follows CJ back to her office. Has there ever been a briefing that included Danny in the room where he *didn't* follow her other than Mandatory Minimums when not following her was a whole plot-point?

DANNY
So, what is the distinction?

C.J.
Danny, I have no idea. I have no idea what the distinction is. All I know is I got a memo
from State-- close your notebook-- a memo from State to make sure not to call it genocide.

DANNY
I want to talk to you about something.

C.J.
No, we're not going to do that anymore. We're not going to talk about Shareef.

DANNY
This isn't about Shareef.

C.J.
Okay, then what?

DANNY
It's a little about Shareef.



C.J.
Good day to you, sir.

Aw, CJ cornily quotes Charlie in the Chocolate Factory in a business-setting. Can I love her any more?

DANNY
C.J.

C.J.
I said, good day, sir.

DANNY
Get in there, would you?

C.J.
Nobody takes me seriously when I say "good day, sir."

DANNY
Get in there.

Danny finds the pilot from the Shareef case and CJ seizes on that to prove that there's not a conspiracy.

C.J.
You don't even want to say you were wrong and apologize for your superior attitude lately.

DANNY
I do. First I want to tell you this.

C.J.
Rifts at the Pentagon.

DANNY
Jets and the Sharks. I talked to an officer who works in U.S. foreign intelligence activities there, who believes that Miles Hutchinson is the Commander-in-Chief. And in the course of the discussion he told me, the President had rescinded Executive Orders 11905 and 12333.

C.J.
The President hasn't rescinded any Executive Orders.

DANNY
Well, not publicly. This was an incredibly clumsy attempt on the part of this officer to send a turf message to the President, and obviously he's not a rogue, so I thought I'd give you the heads-up.

C.J.
The President appreciates it, and it's not like it's anything new. I don't know who the Jets are and who the Sharks are, but it's Fitzwallace and Hutchinson.

DANNY
That's pretty much what I'm writing. Who here can a researcher talk to about Pentagon
employees who are detailed to the White House?

C.J.
Josh's office. You can get it from Donna.

Danny gets up to leave and CJ gets curious and asks what Executive Orders 11905 and 12333 are. Danny was clearly looking forward to this and calculating that CJ would ask. He says with quite a bit of relish:

DANNY
Making it illegal to assassinate a foreign leader. I told you it was a little about Shareef.

I may get irritated with Danny as a love interest and I frown on his lack of professionalism but even I have to admit that he's very funny and interesting. I may have disliked him a lot of time but I don't think he was in a boring scene in his entire duration on the series.



Great photo. As you can see, Josh, Toby and Will are going over the final draft of the speech.

JOSH
C.J. says there are three references to "mankind." Can we make it "humankind"?

TOBY
Yeah.

Even off-screen, Claudia Jean is so my home-girl.

JOSH
Foreign Relations would like "war" changed to "war and strife".

TOBY
Yeah.

JOSH
Where we say, "tens of billions wasted," the OMB would like us to say, "billions and
billions wasted."

TOBY
No.

That's it. Josh wants to round everyone for drinks at a club named Iota. Josh invites Will but Will demurs saying that he has work to do. Will goes back to his office and Toby explains Will's standoffishness.

TOBY
He's frustrated with the foreign policy section. He wanted to change it.

JOSH
The language?

TOBY
No. U.S. foreign policy. Hang on. Will?

Will comes back and Josh tries to reach out to him in a very sweet but professional way. Go Josh!

JOSH
Listen, the President takes seriously the question of whether or not to risk American blood.

WILL
I'm sure he does.

JOSH
He can't just send people someplace.

WILL
I understand. Is that it?

TOBY
No. "Do what we can to fulfill humanity's promise."

WILL
You're kidding me now.

TOBY
No. Leadership wants to cut it.

WILL
Okay. Where does the President's Catholicism distinguishes between American blood and other kinds of blood?

JOSH
It doesn't. The voters do. The voters that you champion and that I can't stand.

WILL
Yeah. I'm going to put these changes in.

It's clear that Will is pissed out of his mind.

JOSH
What's his level of frustration?

TOBY
It's high.

JOSH
He's here on a temp job. He's that invested in...?

CRASH! The window between Toby and Will's office shatters because Will, trying to be
like Toby, has thrown a ball at it. It's a sight gag based in the characters' psychologies rather reminiscent of Sports Night, not the least of which because Josh Malina is in the scene.



JOSH
This never happened before, has it?

TOBY
No. No, it hasn't.

Will shamefacedly but still in a passive-aggressive pissed way appears through the shattered glass.

WILL
Sorry.



Classic Jed Bartlet shot.

BARTLET
Charlie, I'm going to change my mind again on the Bible.

CHARLIE
Mr. President, you have to imagine my utter surprise.

LOL. Charlie knows Jed so well.

BARTLET
Aren't you afraid that one day I'm just going to kick your ass like it's never been kicked?

Jed asks for the Washington Bible but the Freemasons are still making trouble.

HARLIE
Well, as I said, that might be problematic to get by Sunday.

BARTLET
Just put it on a plane.

CHARLIE
The Freemasons won't let it travel by plane.

BARTLET
What do the Freemasons have to do with it?

CHARLIE
The New York Freemasons have the Bible Washington was sworn in on. It can't travel on a plane 'cause the altitude does... something.

BARTLET
Take a train.

CHARLIE
They have a rule that when the Bible travels three Freemasons have to go with it.

BARTLET
Buy three tickets.

CHARLIE
Well, it's four, 'cause you need one for the Bible, but the larger problem is...

BARTLET
Are you trying to tell me that Freemasons don't like me?

CHARLIE
Not a huge demo for you, no. But they're good people, and after all, a President is being inaugurated, so let's see what we can do.

I have a hunch that Freemasons are Republicans with their emphasis on pure American tradition but if only Jed could explain that he's an "old-skool" American dating from back signing the Declaration of Independence and no one is as into the strangeness of early American history as Jed Bartlet. I really think that Jed, despite his internationalism and liberalism, could find simpatico with the Freemasons.

Jed leaves his office where he finds Leo walking through the portico by night. The perfect place for conversations of dark intrigue.



BARTLET
I saw C.J. smiling before. Has something good happened?

LEO
Yeah.

BARTLET
What?

LEO
You didn't rescind two Executive Orders.

BARTLET
I didn't?

LEO
It was an NSC Presidential Decision Directive-- it's different.

BARTLET
It's not different.

LEO
It is, and that's how I was able to look C.J. in the eye and say you didn't rescind 11905, and that's how she was able to look Danny Concannon in the eye and do the same.

Oh, Leo. I love you so and then you reveal such a dubious relationship with the truth.

BARTLET
Well, then it was a dodged bullet.

LEO
No, sir, we didn't dodge nothing. They hit what they aimed at.

BARTLET
Leo, come on...

LEO
It was a shot across the bow, it was. This guy giving it to Danny.

BARTLET
You're being paranoid.

LEO
And you're being unbelievably naive, sir.

BARTLET
You think in your wildest dreams that Hutchinson's running an offense? He's that pissed that I asked for forced Depletion Report he's going to show me in Danny's byline I go to Kundu and here's what happened in Bermuda?

LEO
I do. In my wildest dreams, I do.

Leo is more cynical and streets-smart than Jed but I like to see that if Jed saw Hutchinson's true face in Inauguration Part I like Leo did, Jed would have also cottoned onto the Pentagon-intrigue.

Jed heads off to see his wife but then Leo tries to stop him with his quirky wiles. Leo, you had your time with Jed underneath the moonlight. Now, it's Abbey's turn to be with him.

BARTLET
Abbey's already gone to bed. I should get up there.

LEO
Hey, the Chief Justice wrote another opinion in verse. Want to hear it?

BARTLET
No. [starts to walk off]

LEO
[to Bartlet walking away.] "I say this denial is not fit for trial."

BARTLET
[yells back] Good night.



Abbey looks adorable asleep. Jed tries to wake her up with but that doesn't work so he tries another tack.

BARTLET
Abbey, the kids are eating sugar.

She wakes up.

ABBEY
Oh.

BARTLET
How you doing? You know I gave the kids candy all the time, right?

ABBEY
Behind my back?

BARTLET
Yes.

ABBEY
You bought their love.

BARTLET
Well, it was for sale, and I wanted it.

So beautifully in character. Jed, as the father desperate to please his daughters and get their affection. Abbey, as the doctor-mother that's anxious to keep her daughters healthy. Anyway, Abbey gets up tiredly.

ABBEY
Okay. Tony's grandkids are in there watching a movie. It may still be in there. I think he has a... Laurel and Hardy movie.

They chat for a bit about Jed coming to bed but Jed's iss-yes reveal themselves.

BARTLET
Frederick the Great told his generals... to defend everything is to defend nothing.

ABBEY
And?

BARTLET
I don't really know what that means, do you?

That Frederick the Great quote indicates a hesitancy to commit American troops to Kundu and certainly to pledge American troops to stop all genocides. I think this indicates that Jed, in his heart, wants to stop the genocide but to stop his emotions from making such a big decision, he's quoting militaristic Prussian kings. We know that isn't Jed's speed so it's kind of a give away that he'll disregard Frederick the Great's advice.

ABBEY
No. But I'm mostly asleep right now, and also I don't know what you're talking about.

BARTLET
Well, that makes two of us.

ABBEY
Who made you crazy? Not that someone has to make you that way.

BARTLET
I'll be in soon.

ABBEY
You gave the girls candy?

BARTLET
I was their dealer. Live with it.



Nice pic. I find it hilarious that CJ, Josh and Toby are seemingly regulars at what Community's Britta would definitely call a Douche Bar. It's surroundings are wealthy Washington-chic clearly designed for older politicos but they have a poseur-folk singer wailing episode-thematically appropriate lyrics and the name of the club is "Iota". I say this with snark tempered by love- of course this is CJ's, Toby's and Josh's bar.

A little sampling of the folk singer's lyrics?

JILL
"The statue in the park has lost his crown.
William Faulkner, drunk..."

JILL
"William Faulkner, drunk and depressed,
Tennessee Williams, drunk and depressed..."

Pretentious-tastik! LOL.

Anyway, CJ and Toby debate the Kundu issue as Josh is mainly chilling but interjects his points every now and then. CJ is taking the idealistic mantle for the evening.

C.J.
The guy across the street is beating up a pregnant woman. You don't go over and try and stop it?

TOBY
Guy across the street is beating up anybody, I like to think I go over and try to stop it, but we're not talking about the President going to Asia or the President going to Rwanda or the President going to Qumar. We're talking about the President sending other people's kids to do that.

Toby makes an excellent point there.

C.J.
That's always what we're talking about, and in addition to being somebody's kids, they're soldiers and sailors, and if we're about freedom from tyranny, then we're about freedom from tyranny, and if we're not, we should shut up.

JOSH
Yes.

TOBY
Back at the office, you were telling Will...

C.J.
He said that to Will 'cause that's what we say.

TOBY
You weren't even there.

C.J.
It's what we always say.

TOBY
On Sunday, he's taking an oath to ensure domestic tranquility.

C.J.
And to establish justice and promote the general welfare. Stand by while atrocities are taking place, and you're an accomplice.

TOBY
I'm not indifferent to that, but knuckle-headed self-destruction is never going to burn itself out, you really want to send your kids across the street into the fire?

C.J.
Want to? No. Should I? Yes.

TOBY
Why? And don't give me a lefty answer.

C.J.
A lefty answer is all I've got.

TOBY
Why are you sending your kids across the street?

C.J.
'Cause those are somebody's kids, too.

Because CJ has gone for scene-ending, manipulative-television oriented sentimentality, Toby can't really mount a response. Sorry, CJ's argument has pathos and it's a pretty good albeit standard argument but I don't see it as the righteously perfect ace-in-hole argument that shuts Toby down that the episode makes it out to be.



Jed plays with his many television sets. He turns on and mutes various television screens showing a tank, the weather channel, an infomercial and finally a Laurel and Hardy movie.

"You know what?"
"What?"
"The wooden soldiers."

Jed watches the wooden soldiers next to actual soldiers marching on the news. I'm a little disturbed that it was this that led to Jed thinking that he has the power to send troops into Kundu. It's like since Jed can now reduce American troops to "wooden soldiers", at the ready for his command, he can ignore the realities of the force depletion report that he received.

Between CJ's very average argument on sending troops ending the discussion and this somewhat disturbing scene with Jed motivating him to send troops, I really think that the resolution to the Kundu storyline didn't match its potential in the episode before.

Anyway, Jed calls and asks for Leo.



Josh and Toby are at Iota but CJ left the table.

JOSH
I'm not talking about fighting two wars at once, I'm not talking about fighting wars. Intervening when there's violence against people who are defenseless...

TOBY
Fine, but if we go here, then that means they can go there, and look, there's more injustice over there.

JOSH
We elect these people. And not for nothing, but if'd had been the world's policemen in the 30's, you and I...

TOBY
We would have had a lot more relatives.

JOSH
That's right.

Aw, on this question they *have* to bond on their shared Jewishness. Toby can make all the snarky remarks that he wants that Josh isn't' religious enough or isn't sensitive enough to anti-Semetism but there's no denying that their families went through the same thing in the Holocaust because the Nazis didn't care from reform vs. conservative, wealthy vs. poor when it came to Jews. It's a small moment but it's more emotionally resonant for me than many of the episode's Big Emotional Moments.

JOSH
Where the hell is Donna?

TOBY
Leave her alone-- she's having a last night with... What's his name?

JOSH
I called her at Jack's, and I paged her.

TOBY
Leave her alone.

A little moment of Josh being jealous and Toby getting that but wanting to stop this relationship from being *too* dysfunctional. CJ comes out in a tear saying that she has to back to the office.

C.J.
Danny screwed me, and somebody on one of our staffs screwed the rest of us.

Charlie then pages Josh and Toby telling them to come back to the office. Charlie asks if he should page Will or if Josh and Toby can get him. Josh and Toby want to fuck with Will and want him to experience the scary experience of being emergency-paged by the White House.



Will is quite the sight asleep in a Holiday Inn. He clearly passed out, more under briefing papers than his covers. His cellphone rings. He starts to pick up the phone, when someone starts banging on the door. He jumps up and runs to the door. The man yells through the door.

MAN
Mr. Bailey, it's the night manager. There's a phone call for you.

Will runs back and forth in his boxers in panic until he gets to talk to the White House Operator. Poor new guy! He then sees the POTUS message on his pager just like our noble cast of characters did way back in The Pilot. I wonder if this was Sorkin's intention. Give the new senior staff hire as of this episode his chance for the epic character- forming introductions that CJ/Josh/Toby/Leo/Sam got in The Pilot where they're trying to live their lives but get urgently paged by POTUS. If so, that's the cutest and most heartwarming call-back ever.



CJ and Danny have their loudest fight ever. Not their best fight- that's in Let Bartlet Be Bartlet. Not their tear-jerkiest fight- that's Institutional Memory. Not their highest-stakes fight- that's 7A WF 83429. Not their funniest fight- that's The Portland Trip. This fight wins on volume, alone.

C.J.
I don't believe this.

DANNY
Listen to me.

C.J.
This is, A] it was garbage. That was... that was totally out of left field on the piece on the unnamed White House source...

DANNY
It wasn't mine.

C.J.
What do you mean, it wasn't yours?

DANNY
It got dropped in.

C.J.
Who dropped it in?

DANNY
My editor and my researcher.

C.J.
They dropped it in?

DANNY
Yes.

C.J.
Without your knowledge?

DANNY
Yes.

C.J.
And you're okay with that?

DANNY
How do I sound?!

In fairness to Danny, it's pretty menchy that he clearly got to the White House late at night to try to explain himself but CJ's a little too (rightfully) pissed off to bother much with gestures on Danny's part. They get to CJ's office.

C.J.
What was the name of the researcher?

DANNY
Oh, you're not...

C.J.
No, the researchers looking out for his future. He's twenty-three and times a-wastin'. I want to give him a Lexis. What's his name?

DANNY
C.J..

C.J.
What's his name?!

DANNY
That's going to stay between me and my boss. The researchers talked to three different people on background-- just nuts and bolts.

The Danny that takes a step from his and CJ's petty rivalries/flirtations and tries to protect his paper's and his own professional integrity is invariably my favorite Danny.

C.J.
Asking how many nuts and bolts doesn't get this quote.

DANNY
As a matter of form, he's tell them what I'm writing about. C.J., I don't know who he talked to.

C.J.
I sent you to Donna when you asked...

CJ is very intensely angry and vengeful during this scene but I can't help but sympathize with her the whole time. You have to be intense and punish people when you're in her position and here, CJ makes it very clear that she wants to protect Donna. Allison Janney makes it clear in her voice that's blaming herself for Donna for being stupid because CJ didn't think that Donna would be on the record. I don't think Donna deserves the protectiveness and concern for her well-being that the senior staff and Danny show her in this episode but it's nice to see from the perspective of liking the senior staff and Danny.

DANNY
I'm saying it wasn't necessarily Donna. I mean, in a million years, do you think Donna...

C.J.
No, but that day, yesterday, her boyfriend Jack Reese, a Navy Lieutenant Commander, was reassigned from a White House position, and she was very angry about it.

DANNY
Sometimes people say something to a researcher 'cause they think they're not on the record.

C.J.
They're not on the record!

DANNY
No.

Carol tells CJ that Donna is on the phone and Danny does the funniest shrugging like, "Okay, it probably *was* Donna...". LOL!



I bet you never expected Toby and Josh to be the calm in the all of drama circulating around them but for now, they are.

JOSH
Well. This is gonna, I think, get interesting now.

TOBY
Yes.

JOSH
This is gonna get interesting.

TOBY
It will capture our interest...

JOSH
...and will be written about...

TOBY
...in English, I would think as well as...

JOSH
Arabic?

TOBY
You can say that two times. I suppose you can't blame Will completely.

Will enters.

WILL
Hi.

TOBY
This is entirely your fault.

WILL
He came in the office.

TOBY
You like Europe. He likes Europe. You could have talked about Europe.

WILL
That wasn't the subject.

TOBY
Than make it the subject. He says, "here's this El Salvador speech I gave a long time ago," and you say?

WILL
'I like Europe?'

TOBY
Yes.

One of the funniest Toby/Will moments. CJ comes in and she's about to tell on Donna but everyone is called into the Oval Office before she can spit it out.



Preparing to Speechify Pose.

BARTLET
We're for freedom of speech everywhere. We're for freedom to worship everywhere. We're for freedom to learn... for everybody. And because, in our time, you can build a bomb in your country and bring it to my country, what goes on in you country is very much my business. And so we are for freedom from tyranny everywhere, whether in the guise of political oppression, Toby, or economic slavery, Josh, or religious fanaticism, C.J. That most fundamental idea cannot be met with merely our support. It has to be met with our strength. Diplomatically, economically, materially. And if pharoah still don't free the slaves, then he gets the plagues, or my cavalry, whichever gets there first. The USTR will go crazy and say that we're not considering global trade. Committee members will go crazy and say I haven't consulted enough. And the Arab world will just go indiscriminately crazy. No country has ever had a doctrine of intervention when only humanitarian interests were at stake. That streaks going to end Sunday at noon. So, if you're on board with this, what I need you to do...



Taking it in.

Nice speech, despite my issues with how he arrived at the decision. I do like that he acknowledged each of Toby's, Josh's and CJ's issues but while CJ and Toby have a history of opposing religious fanaticism and political oppression respectively, I can't really think of Josh railing against economic slavery. I guess there's some subtleties like when Josh snarked on the Soviet Union ("That's welcome to free markets the hard way.") but it does seem like Sorkin just choose a foreign policy issue for Josh so he'd feel included.

Then in a phony moment, Josh, Toby and Will are already loudly strategizing and CJ got on her cell phone to give talking points to Carol. What the what? I know that the point is that the such a Big Idea and Jed's rhetoric was so Powerfully Stirring that the senior staffers all forgot about Oval Office etiquette but I don't buy it. I can't see CJ just getting on her cell phone in Oval Office or Josh/Toby/Will cutting Jed with a loud conversation, no matter what. The over quirky music in the background just makes the moment even worse.

BARTLET
[to Leo] Do I just keep standing here?

LEO
No. [to the gang] Excuse me!

They stop talking and turn around.

LEO
It is so ordered.

Will leaves enthusiastically and CJ, Toby and Josh talk in the outer office.

TOBY
What were you going to say before?

C.J.
Danny's got a piece out tomorrow on fault lines between the White House and the Pentagon.

TOBY
He writes that story twice a year.

C.J.
A researcher gathering background spoke to three people, one of whom was Donna, because your office is one of the places that keeps breakdowns of how Pentagon staff are detailed to the White House. The researcher was giving an unprompted quote, which he gave to Danny's editor, who put it in the piece.

JOSH
What was the quote?

CJ pauses like she really doesn't want to repeat this to Josh.

C.J.
Everyone's very loyal to everyone else around here, unless you wear a uniform.

JOSH
I know it sounds like it was Donna 'cause of the situation with Jack, but there's no way she gives that quote to a reporter.

C.J.
She didn't think she was on the record.

JOSH
There's no way Donna said that.

C.J.
She did. She just called me and told me she did, which I give her credit for.

JOSH
You do?

TOBY
Heat of the moment. And bad timing.

JOSH
I don't have time for this now. [to C.J.] Neither do you.

I get that the senior staffers are loyal and kindhearted people and I love them for it. I also get that they've sort of taken a special liking to Donna and made her almost a junior member of Senior Staff which I'm less fond of but I can accept within the logic of the show. However, I do find it totally unbelievable that CJ and Toby would fall all over themselves to protect Donna from Josh in the wake of such a seemingly stunning act of betrayal. As the Communications people, they should be much more concerned with protecting Jed's reputation as Commander in Chief than protecting Donna's job and especially (barf) her relationship with Josh. As far I'm concerned here, CJ and Toby are turning being merciful into a flaw.



Jed is making himself a drink and getting a glass for Leo.

BARTLET
"Set free the oppressed, break every yoke, clothe the naked and your light shall break forth like the dawn, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."

LEO
Ten minutes ago, you promised me you'd go easy on the Moses references.

BARTLET
That was Isaiah.

LEO
Still. They frighten people?

BARTLET
Who?

LEO
Me.

BARTLET
Well, then here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women.

LOL.

LEO
Ah, that tastes like... nothing at all. It has no taste or properties of any kind. You can expect to see pieces quoting Pentagon sources on how many lives we'd lose in Kundu. And a search and rescue group, diving for a lost helicopter prop, is going to find apiece of a Gulfstream.

By hook or crook, Leo will stop this from being a sentimental moment where Jed basks in his own perceptions of saintliness. Bringing up Shareef's assassination and subtly referring to his own alcoholism- Leo is a realist and I love him for it.

BARTLET
I think you're wrong. But if you're right, then okay. We should all have a little skin in this.

LEO
Well, then, that much we've accomplished.

BARTLET
So we're doing well so far.

LEO
Sunday noon?

BARTLET
Sunday noon.

Aw, my guys! Of course, they deserve their moment just before Inauguration Day. Now to the next pairing in the Jed/Abbey/Leo triangle.



Could Abbey look more fabulous? That's a perfect outfit for a First Lady watching her husband get sworn in. Love the boots, her muff, the double-breasted quote and her hair is always terrific pulled up.

ABBEY
Because of Laurel and Hardy?

BARTLET
Not because, no. Not because of Laurel and Hardy. That was simply the confluence of the final, you know, and... also, by the way, from the mouths of babe-- like yourself. Seriously, from the mouths of babes and clowns come-- Listen, there's no reason why anyone needs to know about Laurel and Hardy.

ABBEY
Sounds like that's going to depend a lot on my general mood.

This the "playful" side of Abbey's multi-dimensional personality. Abbey appears typically only in less than half of the episodes of the episodes during a given season and she can be bitchy, nurturing, playful, the perfect High Society wife, introspective, the brilliant medical professional, tragic, aggressive, low-key witty, etc and all quite believably. I love me some Abbey Bartlet.

BARTLET
Too cold for a parade. Bunch of tanned-ass Southerners.

ABBEY
That decision was made by your Inauguration Chairman, who's from Massachusetts.

BARTLET
Which is to the south of New Hampshire. Don't tell me geographic stereotypes.

ABBEY
You would've been happy walking up Pennsylvania Avenue in this cold?

BARTLET
I walked to school every morning in weather colder than this.

ABBEY
From the headmaster's house to your classroom.

LOL. Abbey has heard all of Jed's self-aggrandizing stories.

BARTLET
That's right, baby. Just a camel hair coat, leather gloves, a varsity scarf and these wits.



The limo pulls up and Jed and Charlie bicker through the garage. Well, the bickering is mainly on Jed's side. The bible has not arrived.

BARTLET
What is the problem? It was in New York. It could have gotten here on a fast horse.

CHARLIE
They took the Metroliner this morning.

BARTLET
And?

CHARLIE
The train's stuck in Philadelphia.

BARTLET
Because?

CHARLIE
Frozen tracks.

BARTLET
And it didn't come in last night...

CHARLIE
...because the Inaugural Committee wouldn't pay for four hotel rooms.

BARTLET
Three for the freemasons and one for the Bible.

CHARLIE
I guess the Bible doesn't get a room. Three hotel rooms.

BARTLET
Three hotel rooms and four train tickets.

CHARLIE
Yeah.

I've gotta say, Charlie really fucked up this task. Bad staff work. He should have had a back-up bible and the Freemasons really aren't showing the cunning that leads people to think that they secretly run the world behind the scenes.

BARTLET
Okay. You know what? Washington didn't bring his own Bible, he just assumed one would be provided, which, frankly, isn't unreasonable. Guy wants you to swear an oath on a Bible, he ought to be packing a Bible. Washington had someone get one from across the street.

CHARLIE
[to Ed and Larry] Excuse me, what are the chances there's a Bible in the House Library?

LARRY
They should have one.

ED
Yeah, they got one.

CHARLIE
Excuse me, sir. [runs off]

BARTLET
Just common courtesy I think. "Place your hand on this Bible." And, "Oh, can I use your
Bible?" That's not right.



Going full circle to the beginning of Part I, CJ meets up with Jed. The episode includes the tells that prove that this is full circle- the discussion on the order of the balls, CJ kissing Jed on the cheek, etc. However this time, we see this from the perspective of a nervous Toby. However even Toby isn't more nervous than Will.

TOBY
Did you throw up?

WILL
Yeah.

TOBY
About time.

WILL
It was my third time.

TOBY
Still.



CJ comes up and it's clear that she's also nervous but "nervous" is more charming on CJ than "suave" or "poised" is on most people.

C.J.
They're yeckling him about the order of the balls...That's the U.S. Marine Corps Band right there. The Commandant's Own. These guys practice four hours a day. So you think the Chief Justice has lost his mind.

TOBY
I didn't say he's "lost his mind," I said... I said he lost his mind and Leo said he's lost his mind.

C.J.
Leo's lost his mind.

TOBY
Speaking in verse...

C.J.
A literary curse.

On that, CJ gets Toby to break a smile. It's a small moment but it's a perfect encapsulation of their relationship. CJ can bring a lightness to Toby that no other person can.

JOSH
He doesn't have a Bible. Charlie's out looking for one.

C.J.
Should I be...?

JOSH
Charlie'll get it.

Charlie comes running by with a bible in his hands.

CHARLIE
I've got it.

C.J.
So there it is. Let's see what happens now.

CJ's funny nervous gibbering is the perfect way to end the scene. Now, to the sparkly party.



Toby has groupies! Now he's *really* smiling. I guess he assumes that he'll be married man soon enough so he might as well enjoy legally flirting. Poor Toby. This speech and later the birth of his twins are the last high points of his life on this show. Everything from there is downhill for the Ziegler.



LEO
Listen. Will did a great a job, and I like him personally too. But he had a meeting with that Public Affairs guy, and people at State are focusing a lot of displeasure on him.

TOBY
I told him to have a bad meeting with that Public Affairs guy.

LEO
I know, and I want to use him again, but I need friends at State right now, so I want him to work under the radar. He should work out of his house and deal with us by phone.

TOBY
That's exactly what I was going to say.

LEO
Yeah?

TOBY
Except the part about him working under the radar in his house on the phone. Leo, I want the President to appoint him Deputy.

LEO
Are you sure?

TOBY
I can talk to the people at State and--

LEO
I don't care about State. I'm asking... are you sure?

TOBY
Yeah.

LEO
You don't mean on an interim basis?

TOBY
No.

LEO
What about Sam?

TOBY
A promotion-- it's well past time. Make him a Senior Counselor, take the knucklehead stuff off his desk, the way he did for me for four years. Let him concentrate on the President and the country.

I'm sorry but that's bullshit. I assume that Sam was a Senior Counselor to the president if CJ/Josh/Toby are. Being Deputy Communications Director gave him control over Jed's language and Toby's recommendation does not specify a real job for Sam. This is the first volley of Sorkin fucking up Rob Lowe's at first great exit storyline on the final yard-line because Sorkin was mad at Rob Lowe.

LEO
I'll advise the President.



Danny seems like an unlikely candidate to drive the Josh/Donna saga but here he is. I mentioned before how CJ/Danny mirror Josh/Donna. In an interesting twist, the males of the respective duos ships the other relationship. Josh was pushing CJ/Danny and I take Danny's behavior as subtle confirmation that he thinks Josh and Donna should end up together. It's contrast to the fanon truth where CJ pushes Josh and Donna to get together or Donna does the same for CJ/Danny. In canon, Donna doesn't care about CJ's love life and CJ thinks that Josh and Donna's relationship at the White House was dysfunctional, at least by Season 5.

DANNY
Congratulations. This is something. Sorry about the story yesterday.

JOSH
It wasn't your fault.

DANNY
Where is she?

JOSH
Donna?

DANNY
Yeah.

JOSH
She's sitting in her apartment in a ball gown.

DANNY
Waiting for a ball to come over?

JOSH
She doesn't think it's appropriate for her to be here. I couldn't talk her down.

DANNY
How hard you try?

JOSH
I tried hard.

DANNY
She didn't think she was on the record. I'm not sure if my editor knew that one.

JOSH
It doesn't matter.

DANNY
Yeah. I thought the balance of the piece was--

JOSH
I haven't read it. Sorry. I haven't.

DANNY
I have a copy here if you want to...

He reaches in his pocket and pulls out the article.

JOSH
You're walking around with a copy of it?

LOL. Josh definitely likes Danny but he doesn't hold back from mocking Danny as dorky (here), delusional (Holy Night) and pathetically besotted and no intellectual match for him (Celestial Navigation) and it's hilarious every time that Josh does that.

DANNY
Well, I think parts of it are pretty good. Hey, when you won a Fulbright Scholarship you taped the letter to your face.

JOSH
Give me that. Yeah, here it is. "Said one White House aide, 'We've got a situation--'"

DANNY
The point was to actually read all the other parts.

JOSH
"...'where the White House won't give the D.O.D an extra ten billion so they have to go to the Hill and get it.' Said the same aide, "Everybody's very loyal around here unless you wear a uniform,'" said the same aide. I hadn't read the first part of the quote. Said the same aide? I'm going to kill her.

Bradley Whitford delivers that last line with distinct pleasure. The next scene shows Toby, Will, Josh, Danny and Charlie all driving to Donna's house.



Da Men.

Toby yells at the cab driver to stick around in a very New Yawk accent. It's very cute. Josh reviews instructions to the troops.

JOSH
It's good cop/bad cop. I'm the good cop; the four of you are the bad cop. Will, what
are you?

WILL
The bad cop.

JOSH
Danny what are you?

DANNY
The bad cop.

JOSH
Toby, what are you?

TOBY
Hurry up.

Oh, Toby! Of all of these maniacs here, you're my favorite.

JOSH
Charlie, who are you?

CHARLIE
I love Zoey, and I must have her back.

JOSH
The bad cop, that's right. Here we go.

Josh rings the buzzer.

WILL
That's great news about Zoey. I didn't meet her, but I bet she's nice.

CHARLIE
Not really, but my love for her knows no bounds.

I'm of two minds of Charlie saying that Zoey isn't nice. It's kind of supported by her behavior in S4 and it's amusing Sorkin knows that it and puts in Charlie's mouth. The Zoey/Charlie relationship gets weird during S4 and this line is quite meta on the subject.

However as annoying as Zoey got, I was under the impression that Charlie still thought that she was nice. If Charlie doesn't think that Zoey is a nice person, why is he so besotted? Her looks? Her father? Her title? Anyway as disappointing as Zoey's behavior in S4 and as childish as she could in S1, I was always under the impression that she really *was* a nice person. Just a nice person trying to grow up in a gilded cage/goldfish bowl/pick your metaphor for being very privileged but over scrutinized and limited.

DANNY
Charlie, aren't you cold without a coat?

CHARLIE
I took off my coat to show my love for Zoey.

DANNY
Wow.

CHARLIE
I'd take off my shirt too, but it's inappropriate with a tuxedo.

DANNY
Not if we're at Chipendales.

TOBY
[to Josh] I'm standing here!



Childishly irritable and uncomfortable Toby is one of my favorite Tobys.

JOSH
The buzzer's not working.

TOBY
Did you try it?

JOSH
No, I divined it.

Toby, ever the sensible one, asks Josh to call Donna. Unfortunately, Josh isn't so sensible.

JOSH
No, I know women. I know what they're like. [yelling] Donna!

DANNY
I think before tonight's over, we might have ourselves a whole new story.

LOL. Danny made Toby laugh there. See?



Josh throws a snowball at Donna's window and then pack mentality takes over and all of Da Men start throwing snowballs at Donna's window. It's very hilarious and I can totally why so many West Wing fans consider this one of funniest scenes of the show. I've certainly laughed on all of my rewatches of this scene.

However, some stuff does irritate me. It just seem to stretch credulity that Danny is along for the ride, even if Sorkin acknowledged the strangeness of his presence with a joke. The scene is also a little too OTT intentionally juvenile for my tastes. I like our characters acting juvenile but more when they're trying to be mature but their dysfunctions or immaturity just peek out. This just feels like these guys are *trying* to act like silly teenagers so an audience will laugh. Also like I've said before, I'm incredibly pissed at Donna. I don't think she deserves the Calvary to run over and bring her back to the ball. It feels like rewarding bad behavior.

Anyway, the snowballs hit the window and an angry Donna appears.



DONNA
What the hell are you doing?

JOSH
Get down here! Now!

DONNA
Keep your voice down.

JOSH
Don't even think about telling me to keep my voice! Get down here!

DONNA
I'm coming.

Donna puts down her window and disappears. A neighbor from across the street has opened
his window and yells down at them.

MAN 1
Hey, now I'm telling you-- keep your voice down.

MAN 2
Me too.

JOSH
Oh, no, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to wake you guys. Uh, this is a special situation. It's
okay, I'm the good cop.

TOBY
[into cellphone] Hi, National Inquirer?



Here's Donna. Love the color of her dress and I love asymmetrical neck lines in theory. However, Janel Moloney's collarbones are too bony to carry the dress well. Also, her hair is dreadful. She can carry wavy hair very well but this "stick straight hair on top, stiff ringlets on the bottom" looks good on no one. To Janel's credit, she still looks quite pretty despite the sartorial and tonsorial mistakes here.

Just in case this scene isn't enough of a valentine to Josh/Donna shippers, Josh notices that Donna stupidly came down to the icy streets without a coat and wraps his own around her.

DONNA
Go ahead, you're entitled-- give it to me all again.

JOSH
You don't know the White House rejected ten billion for the D.O.D. You have absolutely no way of knowing that. Jack said it. The researcher called Jack, and Jack said it.

DONNA
He was working a lot of nights, and it really wore him out.

JOSH
Yeah?

DONNA
And then this thing happened, and he didn't think he was on the record.

JOSH
Donna--

DONNA
He didn't, Josh. That was legitimate.

JOSH
He's letting you take credit for this?

DONNA
Listen, this guys got an important career ahead of him.

JOSH
Your career isn't important? What was the point of anyone claiming... You knew it was easy... to figure out it was him.

DONNA
Not as easy as you made it. I didn't think about the top of the quote--

So, trying to understand the convoluted workings of Donna's mind. She was hoping that when the dust settled, Josh would figure out that Donna was just trying to protect Jack Reese. Although considering that she didn't even think about the top of the quote, I have no idea how Josh was supposed to just magically figure that out. Either way, okay, Donna always wanted Josh to just know that she wouldn't betray him.

JOSH
The list of things you didn't think about, including your job, what the President thinks of you.

DONNA
Does he know about this?

However for this gambit to work, the rest of senior staff and the President couldn't know that it was Jack Reese that gave the quote and that just pisses me off. If we're to view Donna as a junior member of senior staff, someone with close relationships with senior staff and more than Josh's quirky appendage, Donna should prioritize what the other staffers think of her.

It's also the freakin' fourth season. It's long past time when Donna justifies sabotaging her own career with "This guy's got an important career ahead of him". She was supposed to learn that lesson after Dr. Freeride and she definitely should have learned the lesson after Cliff Calley. At this point, Sorkin designed an overall feminist arc about Donna learning to put herself and her own career first over her romantic interests and actually becoming a better, more caring and public-interest motivated person because of it. Great idea for an arc but in execution, it feels like Sorkin is having Donna repeat the same mistakes right through to the end of his tenure on this show because he can't find an original way to grow Donna past the flashbacks in In the Shadow of Two Gunmen or even because he secretly likes the idea of His Girl Friday who delays her career ambitions for her love interests so that's how he actually writes her story beyond the vague conception of a more feminist arc. It's a perfect illustration on how Donna is a great as a concept but in execution, more often than not, she sucks, sucks, SUCKS.

Not to mention that in any real White House, Josh would be looked at harshly for his own assistant backstabbing the administration as she appeared to with that quote. So yay on Donna for not giving the real quote. However, she's still mendacious, disloyal and unconcerned with most of her relationships, slavishly more concerned with a passing guy's career than her own and inconsiderate of Josh's reputation. In some ways, it would have reflected better on her if she actually gave the quote. At least then I could write it off as Donna lost her temper with an off-the-record researcher because she was pissed as Jack's shoddy treatment ("Donna didn't realize that the camera was hot so she said something she shouldn't have which we all do from time to time" blah blah) rather than she premeditated the sabotage of her career and her friendships and she's so precious for doing that.

Anyway, serious examination of Donna's actions over. Let the flirting begin!

JOSH
You look amazing.

Aw as much as I hate the writing, Bradley Whitford sold the hell out of that line and Janel Moloney very nicely glowed from it.

DONNA
Hi, guys.

WILL, CHARLIE and DANNY
Hi, Donna.

TOBY
Donna.

DONNA
Sorry about all this.

TOBY
Don't worry about it.

DANNY
It was stupid, but it was menschy.

JOSH
Hey, hey, hey. Good cop/bad cop.

DANNY
Sorry, it was just stupid.

DONNA
Hey, Will, you and Toby wrote maybe the greatest speech I've ever heard.

Not to pile on Donna because I think I've criticized her harshly enough but why address the compliment to Will with Toby standing there? Toby is presumably the one that Donna has a friendly relationship with and Toby is the one that gets very insecure when compliments on co-written speeches are directed to his deputy. Seems a mite insensitive.

JOSH
We're going to a ball.

DONNA
Balls are fun.

JOSH
We're actually going to eight of them.

DONNA
Eight times the fun.

JOSH
I was actually the one who hit the window, the rest of them went to school on my throw.

TOBY
Let's go!

Never change, Toby!

DONNA
How you doing, Charlie?

CHARLIE
Well, I'm going to win Zoey's heart from Jean-Paul.

DONNA
Excellent.

CHARLIE
'Cause he may be good-looking and rich and well schooled and French royalty, you know, and live basically in a castle, but... Oh, God.

TOBY
This is what I've been telling you. Get in the car.

LOL. I'm so pissed that I missed out on hearing Toby mock Charlie with how wealthy and royal and good-looking Jean Paul is. As long as Toby is lovelorn and insecure, everyone is going to be.



DONNA
Josh... I'm sorry. Seriously, I've never lied to you before, boss, and it won't happen again.

JOSH
You're going to have to sit on somebody's lap.

I will give Donna this. She didn't lie to him later on in the series. Even when they were on opposite sides of the primary fight and I had other issues up with the wazoo with her, she was honest with Josh almost to a fault. She kept that promise. Although, I take issue with her "I've never lied to you before" line. She lied to get her job and her dealings with Cliff were dishonest even though that was more "omission of the truth for longer than right" than an outright lie.



CJ's dress is alright but compared to her other gowns, it does seem a little unspectacular and not especially elegant for such an event as the inauguration. It's weird that CJ wears more elegant gowns to plays or concerns or rote dinners than to such a Shangri-La event as the inaugural balls. Like Donna, the real problem is her hair. As I wrote before, I don't like CJ's hair at the end of the fourth season and it looks particularly bad here. It's not long enough to flip up at the ends and look cute as she did when she had to S2-early S4 hairstyle. The style just looks weird here.

C.J.
You should expect increased voices of dissent after today - in breadth and depth.

LEO
A ship in the harbor is safe, but that's not what ships were build for.

Aw, Allison Janney's smile at that typically Leo line is so sweet. However her facial expression changes as she realizes that as fond she is of Leo, she has to hold his feet to the fire a bit in order to protect him.

C.J.
It's doubtful Danny's inquiries about Shareef would have gone further if he didn't have new sources at the Pentagon.

LEO
So what?

C.J.
Really?

LEO
You know what the decision directives say? That diplomats and leaders aren't immune from being targets when they're connected to terrorist activities that threaten the U.S. or its citizens. I don't think it's an unusual directive.

C.J.
That it was given hours before Shareef's plane disappeared... Just a reminder, the more I know, the more I can help you. And don't be concerned with my exposure. I'm not your daughter. I'm the White House Press Secretary.

Subtly assertive and awesome with the instinctive desire to protect and the meta-recognition of the familial dynamics diminishing the professional power of the Bartlet administration. How much do I love my girl?

Charlie summons and Leo and CJ and they all meet in a separate room with Jed, Abbey, Donna, Josh, Toby and Will.



Let's give it up for Abbey! First great dress/hairstyle combo of the evening. I'm not a fan of long sleeves on gowns but it was de rigueur for First Ladies before Michelle Obama and Abbey carries it off very well here. Love the color and the broach and she looks so elegant with her hair up but the up-do is somewhat 1960sesque so it seems more chic and sexy than a standard stuffy up-do, especially in our Mad Men fashion-influenced world.

Abbey kisses Jed and the picture shows her wiping her lipstick off his cheek. So cute!

BARTLET
They're saying I'm rewriting the Constitution on the back of a napkin. They're saying on FOX that a guy who couldn't run a local sheriff's department wants to send troops around the world. They're saying it's liberalism with a grenade launcher. But they're not saying it was badly written, so that's something. And they sure as hell know I was serious, so that's something else. Congratulations, folks. We've got ourselves a doctrine.

They applaud.

BARTLET
Will, I think some of these people don't know who your dad is. Will's the youngest son of Tom Bailey, who's the only guy in the world with a better title than mine. He was Supreme Commander, NATO Allied Forces Europe. We didn't know we were going to do this. I would have asked you to invite him.

WILL
Well, you got quite a response from him watching on TV, sir. I think he's going to reenlist.

BARTLET
Actually, I meant he could be here now when I tell you Toby's asked me to commission you as his deputy.

WILL
I'm sorry, sir?

BARTLET
Toby wants to make you deputy.

There's a nice bit where the camera shows Toby watching Will, waiting for happiness. Another great Toby/Will friendship moment that could be taken as a Toby/Will slash moment.

WILL
Pardon me?

BARTLET
I'm appointing you Deputy Communications Director. It covers a wide range of areas of policy and execution and counsel to me.

WILL
To you... the President?

BARTLET
Yes.

WILL
I'm sorry, sir. I'm not following-- are you...

LEO
Good God, boy.

JOSH
I remember when you named me Deputy, there was a dull buzzing in my ear, or a humming. It was very disorienting.

C.J.
The same thing happened to me.

JOSH
Hang in there Will, you're doing fine.

DONNA
[in Josh's ear] That was a nice story about the buzzing.

JOSH
What did I say about speaking to me without addressing me as Wild Thing.

Whatever, you two. I think I'm on record of loving the cutsiness of this show but this is a little much. Maybe I'm still a little bitter than Will is being adopted into the family while Sam is being tossed on the street, as fond as I am of S4 Will.



WILL
I don't know what to say.

BARTLET
[to the gang] That's what you want to hear from your new Communications--

WILL
I-I accept.

BARTLET
There's a promise that I ask everyone who works here to make. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world. You know why?

WILL
It's the only thing that ever has.

I do love that Margaret Mead quote and it exemplifies the spirit of the show. That said, it's not the promise that everyone who works at the White House has to make? Oh please.

Anyway after fancy hiring verbiage that intentionally feels more like knighting Will than hiring him to be a speechwriter in a 21st century White House, Will is officially on board. Everyone shakes Will's hand.



Grandfatherly Powerful Leader Shot. The Essence of Jed Bartlet.

BARTLET
You know, it's easy to watch the news and think of Kundunese as either hapless victims or crazed butchers, and it turns out that's not true. I got this intelligence summary this afternoon. "Mothers are standing in front of tanks." And we're going to go get their backs. An hour ago, I ordered Fitzwallace to have UCOMM deploy a brigade of the 82nd Airborne, the 101st Air Assualt, and a Marine Expeditionary Unit to Khundu to stop the violence. The 101st are the Screaming Eagles. The Marines are with the 22nd M.E.U., trained at Camp Lejuene, some of them very recently. I'm sorry, everyone, but this is a work night.



Stockard Channing doesn't have any dialogue in this scene but it doesn't matter. The pride, love of Jed, mixed with her mixed feelings on him having a second term are all over her face. I love or like every actor in this scene but I think Stockard is pwning them all in freakin' silence.

Anyway on Jed's "I'm sorry, everyone, but this is a work night", everyone skedaddles back to the West Wing.

LEO
That's you too.

WILL
I know.



The group leaves, hilariously, paired up in two straight lines like Madeline. The party respectfully parts for the Credits Cast for those fools dancing are all just mere extras.
15 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: March 31st, 2011 03:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking a couple of episodes back about Julie Zeigler. Either he was hidden during the war and lost family or he was in a camp. Either way, if you didn't have a sponsor, you could languish in a DP camp for YEARS and it would certainly explain why he didn't speak much English in 1954.

On the Josh/Donna, Cj?Danny trip, I rewatched The Cold today and the look on CJ's face when Donna flubs and let's slip that something is up with her and Josh is 'Please tell me you both got your heads out of your asses and boinked like bunnies'. It's written all over her face. This has been covered in various interpretations by the Fan writers, but I feel that CJ felt that Donna needed to do what she actually did-get away from the White House so she and Josh could actually see each other as people rather than their dysfunctional WH relationship where Josh keeps Donna late so he can be around her and she blows off dates so she can hang out (work) with Josh. That WAS dysfunctional.

In Charlie's defense regarding his comment about Zoey, she COULD be bitchy and demanding-at least in Season 1. And she is kind of rubbing JP in his face, so she isn't very nice here. I don't think Charlie minds. As he said, he loves her.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 31st, 2011 02:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the Josh/Donna, Cj?Danny trip, I rewatched The Cold today and the look on CJ's face when Donna flubs and let's slip that something is up with her and Josh is 'Please tell me you both got your heads out of your asses and boinked like bunnies'. It's written all over her face

I know that happened but it always felt very OOC and fanficy to me. CJ never took an interest in Josh/Donna before other than to play her part in deflating the ship in No Exit and I never got the impression that either of them relied on each other for girltalk or confided personal stuff that they weren't ready to share with others. I know canon is canon, but that was a weird moment.

In Charlie's defense regarding his comment about Zoey, she COULD be bitchy and demanding-at least in Season 1. And she is kind of rubbing JP in his face, so she isn't very nice here. I don't think Charlie minds. As he said, he loves her.

I agree that Zoey could be demanding and spoiled but I do think that Besotted Charlie shouldn't correct others and say that she's not nice.
pocochina From: pocochina Date: March 31st, 2011 06:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
CJ J'ADORE. It's a gorgeous episode for Will and Abbey as well. And hahaha, giddy Toby, we haven't seen this since S1.

LOL BYE JACK REESE. HOPE YOU GET TRANSFERRED TO SIBERIA. That storyline of Donna's has always bugged me as well, though I've never articulated it as well as you do here.

I don't see it as the righteously perfect ace-in-hole argument that shuts Toby down that the episode makes it out to be.

I think pre-papa-bear Toby is going to be susceptible to protection of anyone's kids right now. CJ knows just where to aim the blow.

I can't really think of Josh railing against economic slavery.

Could it be a call-back to Josh's falling-out with Hoynes over Social Security? The pivotal moment in Josh's career - and therefore one of the nails for want of which Bartlet never would have been elected - was about economic injustice.

Not really, but my love for her knows no bounds.

haha. I don't think any of the Bartlets are particularly nice except for Abbey. Good people, admirable people, enjoyable people...not particularly nice.

"Mothers are standing in front of tanks." And we're going to go get their backs.

oh, I love that whole bit.

Edited at 2011-03-31 06:08 pm (UTC)
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 31st, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
CJ J'ADORE. It's a gorgeous episode for Will and Abbey as well. And hahaha, giddy Toby, we haven't seen this since S1.

I love them all so much in this ep.

LOL BYE JACK REESE. HOPE YOU GET TRANSFERRED TO SIBERIA.

I know, right? We know that he got transferred to the Italian Alps and that's what he was kvetching about. I hope he then got transferred to Siberia.

I think pre-papa-bear Toby is going to be susceptible to protection of anyone's kids right now. CJ knows just where to aim the blow.

LOL. I didn't think about that- cool thought.

haha. I don't think any of the Bartlets are particularly nice except for Abbey. Good people, admirable people, enjoyable people...not particularly nice.

I can behind Abbey and Ellie as the only "nice" members of the Bartlet family. I love me some Jed and he's a great man but like so many great men, "nice" is the wrong word to describe him. I think Zoey has a lot of goodness (although I think this more now that I associate her a little with Peggy Olson) but she has a lot of growing up to do. Elizabeth Bartlet has her good attributes but I do think that she has trouble seeing past her sour grapes enough to be "nice".
bullet2 From: bullet2 Date: April 5th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
-Excellent continuity. Jed, Toby and Josh were the only people in the room during that scene.

Yes, I actually rewatched that episode. Continuity is love. There are some many other series were continuity gets thrown out of the window.

The bit with the Freemasons confused me a little. You see them as Republicans? I can be wrong but I thought that in certain countries - for example in France - the Freemasons have a bit of a reputation of being anti-religious and anti-catholic in particular. So maybe they can't stomach his catholicism? Actually I see them more on the left than average voters.


-Hey, now I'm telling you-- keep your voice down.

Oh, no, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to wake you guys. Uh, this is a special situation. It's okay, I'm the good cop.

Hi, National Inquirer?


This cracks me up every time.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 6th, 2011 02:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I actually rewatched that episode. Continuity is love. There are some many other series were continuity gets thrown out of the window.

Sometimes, this show would fudge on small details like Zoey's age or whether Leo was Irish or Scottish. However, it did get the big things right and I always felt like I was watching a novel unfold instead of a segmented TV show episode.

The bit with the Freemasons confused me a little. You see them as Republicans? I can be wrong but I thought that in certain countries - for example in France - the Freemasons have a bit of a reputation of being anti-religious and anti-catholic in particular. So maybe they can't stomach his catholicism? Actually I see them more on the left than average voters.

Maybe it's different here in the US. Here, Freemasons are mostly Protestants. The famous Freemasons of our nation's founding were by and large Federalists- John Adams, George Washington, Edmund Burke or northerners later on like Daniel Webster. That in conjunction with their emphasis on old American tradition (as opposed to the more mutlicultural nation that the US ended up becoming) makes me guess that Freemasons have conservative values. Although, I'm certainly not an expert on the subject and this is just a guess.

-Hey, now I'm telling you-- keep your voice down.

Oh, no, I'm sorry. Didn't mean to wake you guys. Uh, this is a special situation. It's okay, I'm the good cop.

Hi, National Inquirer?

This cracks me up every time.


So funny!
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC) (Link)
'Iota' is a very famous club in DC for the indie music scene (though not as apparently awesome as the 9:30 Club). And I love Jill Sobule, great songwriter.

As much as I like that scene in the club, it's another case of a songwriter singing a song they didn't write and have never recorded for the show. Which is frustrating.

Another thing I find frustrating about this scene is that CJ uses the metaphor about houses burning down RIGHT in front of Josh. I think she's obviously trying to bait him into taking her side. If so, that's an incredibly subtle callback - almost as subtle as the bit in the Gaza arc where Josh loses his shit on Colin and talks about sisters getting blown up on Israeli buses.

And it's also an incredibly unsuubtle play, perhaps deserving of the fact that Josh deliberately tunes her out to listen to the music. And only when she leaves the table to get drinks does he confide in Toby about family tragedy in relation to his feelings on Kundu.

Some really fascinating work in that scene that often goes unnoticed. I think for all of s4's faults on plots, Sorkin was never sharper about his character work than this season.

Except for this Donna storyline, which is indeed, insulting.
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 01:07 am (UTC) (Link)
And, actually, this entire comment is wrong - but I can't edit because I stopped paying for LJ ages ago. My bad. I didn't realize Toby says it first.

I should really rewatch this show.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I was just looking at the transcripts to rebut the point. It *is* a little weird how Toby conflated CJ's "man beating up a pregnant woman" analogy to "burning building across the street". I don't think that Toby is trying to bait Josh to his side but it's a clear authorial decision for Josh to be mostly silent during Toby's and CJ's debate and then confide in Toby when CJ leaves.

I always interpreted Josh's silence during the debate to be his general hesitancy to advocate for issues outside of his jurisidction without Leo or Jed asking for his input. Toby and CJ are much more likely to loudly voice their feelings on issues whether they are asked to or not. Josh is very conscious of the chain of command and his need to show loyalty to Leo by *always* supporting Leo even when he disagrees with official positions.

However even if Toby and CJ weren't baiting him at all, it's interesting and plausible to just add the personal subtext that Josh has a problem with delving too much into the trauma faced by political victims because of his own trauma. It is definitely connected with his discomfort with the "Kundunese are swapping families" code from the episode before.

There's also a decided decision for Josh to speak up and confide with Toby after CJ leaves. Some of that is Jewish vs. Gentile but even a Josh/CJ friendship or even shipping fan like myself will admit that some of this is because Josh is closer to Toby.

'Iota' is a very famous club in DC for the indie music scene (though not as apparently awesome as the 9:30 Club). And I love Jill Sobule, great songwriter.

Thanks for the club info! I did mock the pretentiousness of the lyrics in the context of this episode but I really did like the song enough to download it off Itunes a year ago.

Some really fascinating work in that scene that often goes unnoticed. I think for all of s4's faults on plots, Sorkin was never sharper about his character work than this season.

Interesting thought! I, like most TWW fans, think that Season 2 was the zenith of everything. I love S4's character points as well and I think Sorkin's character work is so underrated. He gets celebrated for his dialog and likable characters and fun workplace building but his plots and subtle character nuances are so unsung!

That said to put on my critical hat, I think Josh and Toby are dealt with magnficiently in S4. This may be their best season. There's some great Jed stuff but I do think that Sorkin could have made his post-Shareef angst and more sophisticated and his just-resolved marital issues with Abbey more poignant and there were episodes where he came off as kind of cartoonish in his arrogance. Leo and CJ have very nice supportive, subtle moments throughout but they, particularly CJ, are a little underused.

I still think that Sorkin got much more wrong than right with Donna and Charlie, as always doing much worse by those characters compared to Jed and the senior staff. I may get snarky and cranky about Sorkin's slips with Jed and the senior staff but when I get down to it, Sorkin got 95 percent of the stuff right with those characters (except for maybe Sam and Will whose charactertizations were always rockier than their senior compatriots). My issues were always "wanting more, wanting even deeper" than feeling Sorkin got those characters wrong.

Will was generally well-introduced but this intern storyline was a serious Achilles heel for his character introduction. Sam was brilliantly handled up until he left the White House. Sam in early S4 was best characterized since S2 but then the problems with his exit-plot ended up defining character holes even though I pointed out the stuff that Sorkin got really, really right with Sam and Toby/Sam in S4.

sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Part II

I think S2 and then S3 are still my favorite character-work seasons, despite the superlative work in S4 especially with Josh and Toby. S4 might be my third place despite my soft spot for the "Everyone finds their strength in different ways in S1" general arc, making character arcs dovetail with the Bartlet administrations political fortunes in the first season. S4 and S1 are close in that regard but the more sophisiticated and less sitcommy character-work in S4 puts it over the top.

Oh, show! Writing this very long, blathery comment is theraputic in getting my love for this show out!
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC) (Link)
The big difference between Charlie and Donna for me, is that the writing staff that take over realize there's a big problem with the way Donna's been written and take measures to fix it. Some of it works and some of it doesn't. I don't see the same effort made towards Charlie.

I agree about Josh in general, though I interpret it as: Josh also has more experience as a STAFFER than Toby and CJ. Toby did campaign work, and CJ worked for a PAC. Josh is more used to subsuming his personal opinion for the opinion of the candidate.

IMHO, I don't interpret Josh and CJ as having that great of a friendship. It's a friendly antagonism that becomes a mix of repressed resentment and barely veiled antagonism on the campaign. So it's no surprise to me that he speaks to Toby first. If Josh is inclined to think of any of them as his siblings (and I think Josh would consider that offensive) it is Toby.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Word on Josh's life experiences creating a different approach to being a staffer. I don't find it as personally appealing to watch on television as Toby and CJ's confidence and insistence on advocating but Josh's behavior is a gazillion times more professional, appropriate and realistic for the big leagues of senior staff work.

The big difference between Charlie and Donna for me, is that the writing staff that take over realize there's a big problem with the way Donna's been written and take measures to fix it. Some of it works and some of it doesn't. I don't see the same effort made towards Charlie.

Hmm. I go back and forth on post-Sorkin Donna versus post-Sorkin Charlie. I definitely agree that the writers made a huge effort to "fix" Donna while they ignored Charlie. That said, I did like Charlie much more in those last years. Now, I can like dislikable characters but they have to be treated as flawed characters. Bottom line, I was super-happy for Charlie going to Georgetown Law and having his last moment with Jed. I was irritated with Donna for making crappy choices right and left and getting rewarded with everything from Josh to the Super Fancy Office without paying for some of her bad choices.

If I'm still recapping through S6-7, I'll articulate in more detail why the Empowered!Donna storyline suffered from the same "good concept, bad execution" problems as Sorkin's His Girl Friday!Donna.

IMHO, I don't interpret Josh and CJ as having that great of a friendship. It's a friendly antagonism that becomes a mix of repressed resentment and barely veiled antagonism on the campaign. So it's no surprise to me that he speaks to Toby first. If Josh is inclined to think of any of them as his siblings (and I think Josh would consider that offensive) it is Toby.

LOL. I agree on the sibling point. I have a strange POV where I think that the senior staff + Jed is structured like a family and some like Jed or maybe Sam may buy into some of it. It's attractive on a meta level and I like to analyze it. But Toby and Josh don't buy into it all and CJ only subsconciously sees Jed as a father-figure but has no familial feelings to anyone else (which she verbally states to Leo in this very ep). Leo may see Josh as a son and IMO has romantic feelings for Jed like a mistress but that's it.

Still, I *do* think Josh and CJ have a good friendship. I'll grant you that it's hard to find deeply emotional scenes where they provide suppport for one another, The Crackpots and These Women or The Birnam Wood aside. In scenes where it seems like they *should* be bonding very emotionally like the end of The Fall's Gonna Kill You or over mistakes in Manchester, they don't.

sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC) (Link)
However, I've always read their pre-CJ as COS relationship as two people who really don't do emotional moments, who are more ready with a punchline than a heartfelt speech, who feel deeply but aren't in touch with their emotions in any New Agey way but who are still enormously fond of each other and comfortable wtih each other and would like to be there for each other but who aren't equipped to do that in a meaningful way.

I think I may get quite a bit of that from Brad's and Allison's chemistry and my desire for these characters to be close because I love them both so much but there you have it. Josh and CJ may be warmer and more open with mentor-bordering-on-fatherly types like Leo for Josh and Jed for CJ or Toby, who despite Jed's snark, is the resident Brooklyn shrink. However like I just intimated, that's just because those characters' different personalities lend themselves to a different relationship. That said while the viewers may feel a deeper, more emotional Josh/CJ friendship is lacking, I get the feeling that CJ and Josh, themselves, really like it that way, at least in S1-4. Snark and antogonism is really their preferred method of communication.

As for S6-7, I got the impression that CJ and Josh both still liked each other and wanted to be closer like in the early days but their positions created constant divisions. There was a lot of talking past each other. Josh tried to be friendlier in Undecideds but he was met with a stressful and mendacious CJ. CJ tried to be warmer and friendlier in The Wedding but was met with an angry, stressful Josh. However, I've always interpreted that to be their personality flaws and new tough adverserial positions as opposed to any deep-seated resentment.
skywaterblue From: skywaterblue Date: April 11th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
The sentence "paying for it" creeps me out in reference to female characters even though I recognize there's a valid theory of character development in there. In general, I do think that "paying for it" is cheap and sloppy writing - which is probably why I have less of a problem with Donna's behavior in season seven.

I do think Josh gloms on to Leo as a father figure and that he uses the job as a substitute family - he's just not willing to extend that metaphor to the rest of them. And I think he's a little bit aware that they're his fake!family but is far less romantic about it than the others.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: April 11th, 2011 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
The sentence "paying for it" creeps me out in reference to female characters even though I recognize there's a valid theory of character development in there. In general, I do think that "paying for it" is cheap and sloppy writing - which is probably why I have less of a problem with Donna's behavior in season seven.

I see what you mean about "paying for it" on female characters and maye I'm saving too many of my thoughts for the later seasons to back the statement up. Still, my feelings on Donna's behavior and consequences is by no means based on her gender. In a similar vein, I thought that Jed should have suffered genuine consequences for his IMHO ill-concieved Middle East peace plan instead of it ending up as a success by writers' fiat and he should have had to eat some crow to fix his relationship with Leo instead of crying as the victim of his friend having heart attacks.

It wasn't just a Donna thing and there shouldn't be neat consequences for every bad decision. However, I had serious problems with Donna being coded as the "heroine" of the later seasons when I disliked many of her major decisions. I couldn't root for her and I think you *had* to for her arc to work.

I wil say that I had more of a problem with Donna's behavior in S6 than S7.
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