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Election Night - ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
ww_renaissance
sunclouds33
Election Night
I'm back and ready to recap although perhaps not at my speed before. I'm back with Election Night,, a very nice and warm and fuzzy episode.





This scene is much funnier to watch than recap. To make a long story short, a diverse group of seemingly happenstance strangers come up to Josh after he voted to brag about voting for Bartlet but they voted incorrectly in a number of different ways. Josh is panicking because it looks like people wanted to vote for Bartlet but didn’t understand how to maneuver the confusing ballot. Josh would call it “Bush v. Gore All Over Again” but that happened in a parallel universe. But wait! A twist!



WOMAN IN RED COAT
I have a message from Toby Ziegler.

JOSH
You know Toby?

WOMAN IN RED COAT
He says... ten dollars.

Josh looks up to see everyone he was talking to standing in the background laughing.

JOSH
I see. You guys are a little troupe. A little acting troupe with a "U".

MAN
Yes sir, we are. Can I give you a card?

JOSH
No.

After that, the labeled MAN offers to vote for Bartlet but Acting Troupe School apparently didn’t teach him that you need to be registered to vote. Josh erupts with frustration out the door which is a great segue way to credits.





The usual suspects minus Josh are meeting in the Roosevelt Room. Toby is very firm about no victory talk before the election is called.

SAM
You wrote a concession?

TOBY
Of course I wrote a concession. You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?

SAM
No.

TOBY
Then go outside, turn around three times and spit. What the hell's the matter with you?

SAM
It's like 25 degrees outside.

TOBY
Go.



Josh comes in to much hilarity.

C.J.
[in foreign accent] Oh, Mr. Lyman. I see your picture in the magazine. Tell me, if I swallow my ballot, does it still...?

JOSH
A little election day humor-- that's great.

Damn, another thing that you have to see in order to get the funny. Anyway, Toby and Josh are on the same page when it comes to election paranoia.

SAM
He wrote a concession speech.

JOSH
Of course he wrote a concession speech. Why wouldn't he? What possible reason would he have for not writing a concession speech?

SAM
The wrath from high atop the thing.

TOBY
He upped and said we were gonna...

JOSH
No, you got to go outside, turn around three times and curse.

TOBY
Spit.

JOSH
Spit and curse.

TOBY
Do everything. Go!

JOSH
Go!

I would love to read interesting meta on the Josh/Toby friendship because I think it is *so* underrated for its complexity and importance. People make a big fuss over Jed/Leo, CJ/Toby and Josh/Sam but I think that Josh/Toby is the most important friendship in the show after Jed/Leo. One of the interesting things about Josh/Toby is that while the friendship is mainly good, they can be terrible influences on each other. They have similar flaws like megalomania, rudeness, arrogance, an inability to compromise, etc. and I do think that Sorkin is aware of this (see Mandy’s critique of Josh and Toby to CJ in Enemies and to Sam in Lord John Marbury). This is a comedic version of Josh and Toby being bad influences on each other- encouraging each other to be paranoid about an incipient landslide to gang up on Sam.
After the meeting ends, CJ pulls Toby aside.



C.J.
Listen, I know better than to stick my face in your personal life except, you know, for sport.

TOBY
What happened?

C.J.
Roll Call's got it from the Office of Congress's Attending Physician that Andy's pregnant.

TOBY
When did they start doing more than flu vaccinations?

C.J.
They need updated medical records.

TOBY
Roll Call doesn't need updated medical records though, do they?

C.J.
They're going to connect the dots. It's going to be bad for her and bad for you.

TOBY
You mean bad for us.

C.J.
I can handle the "us." What's her plan?

TOBY
I don't know.

C.J.
Toby...

TOBY
I don’t know. We haven't talked about it.

C.J.
She's got to be proactive.

TOBY
Yeah.

C.J.
It would be nice if we could announce a wedding.

TOBY
I'm working on that. Thanks.

I don’t believe that CJ is recommending a wedding for political expediency so much as expressing her personal belief that they should remarry. I just can’t see CJ suggesting that someone get married for political reasons and I do think that CJ likes Andi but she identifies a hundred percent of the way with her BFF Toby. This becomes a consistent issue with all of Toby’s friends.

I kind of think that Toby would have done something as dumb as buy Andi a house after nine months of her turning down his proposals even if his friends weren’t egging him on. However, CJ/Josh/Leo/Sam/Charlie/et al. weren’t exactly providing good emotional perspective or really considering Andi’s feelings. Everything was “Team Toby” and how he was “going to get” Andi to say yes while never considering that Toby and Andi had a deeply complicated first marriage and Andi, herself, is an incredibly smart woman who can make her final decision without big tricks or wearing her down by asking enough. Epic Fail to all of the members of the Team Toby.
CJ runs into Sam.

C.J.
Did you...?

SAM
Yes, I turned, I cursed, I spat, it froze.

C.J.
Can't be too careful.

SAM
I think you can.



Sam gives Will Bailey a call while adorably singing “Won’t You Come Bill Bailey?”. I totally get why some people ship them even though Will…kind of stole Sam’s character from under him. Kidding! Anyway, Will’s exit polls tell him that he’s winning the Impossible Campaign. Sam lies to himself and Will.

SAM
It's not advice so much as I'm saying this: Democrats vote early, okay? And diehards vote early.

Maybe diehards vote early but I always thought that Democrats tended to vote later than Republicans. And you'd think that there are more Republican "die-hards" in Orange County so those should be reflected in the pro-Horton Wilde exit polls. Sam's argument is invalid.



Abbey and Jed are honoring the time-honored tradition of Candidates Voting For Themselves to Cutsey Photo-Op. Abbey, as always, is a snarkier, cooler version of an Excellent Political Wife.

REPORTER
Mrs. Bartlet, can you tell us who you voted for.

ABBEY
Nobody. I was just fixing my makeup.

REPORTER
How are you spending the rest of the day?

ABBEY
Filling out Chicago ballots; just pitching in. He's going to be flying around thanking supporters.



Jed nerdily refuses to answer questions on this education referendum for New Hampshire unless he’s the perfect yardage away from the polling place. Jed hustles into his limo where he tries to sign some documents.



His hand is starting to shake preventing him from signing- foreshadowing a development of worsening MS for Jed’s second term. Martin Sheen is brilliant here. I love how he uses his other hand to calm his shaking and stares ahead like he doesn’t want to see his body growing worse.



Josh is being neurotic and Donna has kind of had it.

JOSH
Nothing's happening right bow. By the end of the night, 100 million votes will be cast. Polls have been open in the East for six and a half hours. You know how many votes have been cast? One percent. Everybody votes after work. Not me, I vote first thing. The VNS exit polls are down in Michigan for a little while. And it's raining Oregon. This is like the ionization blackout period.

DONNA
Pumpkin Patch, is there anything I can do to get you to go to the movies for eight hours?

We’re already a bit into the episode and Donna needs to fulfill her Quirky Quota. She wants Jed to sign her absentee ballot and Josh seems charmed by this until Josh realizes that his assistant and destined-by-fate and television gods future love can’t fill out a ballot correctly.

DONNA
No, no, no, no, no, no, no. It's, it's an optical scan ballot. I drew a line through the Democratic ticket.

JOSH
Almost. That's almost what you did. What you did was draw a line through the Republican ticket. You didn't ticket split, you voted for every Republican in Wisconsin. I would check, you may have voted for McCarthy.

DONNA
Okay, I'm going to rectify this.

JOSH
How?

DONNA
I don't know, but my vote's going to be counted.

HAAAATTE this storyline. They jammed way too hard on the "Donna as a Dumb Blonde" trope that Sorkin usually plays with and sometimes subverts on this storyline. I would have preferred if Toby or especially Jed voted incorrectly because they didn't get how to fill out the ballot- characters regularly praised to the skies for their brilliance. Donna just really comes off as dim in this episode.



Josh has a huge little tiff with Debbie Fiderer.

DEBBIE
It's a Senior Staff meeting.

JOSH
I'm Senior Staff.

DEBBIE
You don't have your briefing memo.

JOSH
How do you know I don't have it?

DEBBIE
I'm sorry. Do you have it?

JOSH
No. I memorized it.

DEBBIE
Did you happen to get my email on the three new rules for the week?

JOSH
I got it. I read it. It was good stuff. It's possible the salient details escape me.

DEBBIE
Rule Number Two- you don't attend daily Senior Staff without the briefing memo. The agenda's outlined and there are up-to-the-minute details on priority items and still half the meeting is spent regurgitating the memo for those staff members who have difficulty holding on to salient details.

JOSH
That's a fair point and next time I'm going to remember the memo.

DEBBIE
I'm confident you will 'cause you're going to remember it this time, too.

JOSH
You want me to go back to my office and get it?

DEBBIE
I do.

JOSH
Okay. All right. I'm going to humor the new girl.

Debbie takes no crap. Luv huh!



Charlie gets called by security to meet Anthony and his largely awesome friend Orlando. Orlando and Charlie slamming Anthony against a wall for calling CJ a bitch are the only well-executed parts of this storyline. Orlando almost makes up for the scenes of Charlie being kind of a dick to Anthony. Anyway, here's Orlando's story.

ANTHONY
Boy's going to Columbus. Starting right tackle for the Buckeyes- true freshman. I hand you the ball, you can run behind him, have a cup of coffee. He's going to play on Sunday's.

CHARLIE
What are you, his agent?

ANTHONY
We don't have nothing in writing.

CHARLIE
What is he doing here, Anthony?

ANTHONY
Yeah. He got pulled over with an open can of Pabst in his hand.

There's an odd go-getter cheerfulness to Anthony. However, Anthony really is different in the few episodes that he appears in. Amiable but snarky mentee of Simon in Posse Comitatus. Angry, sullen ghetto youth in 20 Hours in America. Somewhat sullen but sympathetic against Charlie's jerkitude in The Red Mass. Cheerful, wanna-be agent of his large friend here. I'd call it an arc but it's *really* not.

CHARLIE
He was dri... [to Orlando] You were driving drunk?

ORLANDO
No way, boss.

ANTHONY
He passed the breathalyzer. It was the open can of Pabst. Saturday, St. Erasmus Academy that's a big game for a senior. You want to to put a hurt on some blue blazers...

CHARLIE
Anthony.

ANTHONY
Coach is going to sit him down because of the Pabst Blue Ribbon unless...

CHARLIE
Unless what?

ANTHONY
You know, you do your thing.

CHARLIE
My thing?

ANTHONY
Write him a note.

CHARLIE
Saying what?

ANTHONY
He's a good guy, Charlie. He does his business.

CHARLIE
I'm not Officer Krupke. I have a job.

ANTHONY
Hey, could you try to think back to the days before you were Secretary of State or something? There are good guys and there are bad guys, and when good guys stop letting you play with them, the bad guys have a recruiting field day.

CHARLIE
When did you start talking like Mickey Spillane?

ANTHONY
I don't know. Who's Officer Cupcake?

CHARLIE
Okay, you're seeing a musical.

See, I don't see Charlie as the "musicals" type. It's just really not his vibe. This is a little bit of Sorkin writing his characters as an extension of his musical theater-major self. However, I can really believe Charlie would hear Jed Bartlet use musicals in his daily badinage and pick it up because Charlie is clever and he does act in reflection to what he sees the President and senior staff going.

Anyway, Charlie finds out that Orlando stole a goat on a prank but otherwise he's an upstanding citizen. Except for the Pabst but that's the way that goes. Charlie takes on Anthony + 1.

ANTHONY
Hey Charlie, not for nothing, but just so you know, some of your higher end places provide a jacket for you.

CHARLIE
Right, and again you're confusing the White House with the Friar's Club. Now, these people I work for are serious people so you're not going to embarass me.



On cue. Josh slams into Orlando's large self and wipes out on the floor. It's pretty awesome.

ORLANDO
Whoa, sorry, man. That wasn't cool.

JOSH
Uh... He, should, uh...You should play football.

ORLANDO
Hey, man. I'm trying, you know? But I had an open Pabst, and that's the way that goes.

JOSH
Yeah.



Anyway, it's clearly not Josh's day because he goes back to see Debbie but she won't let him in because he's now late for the senior staff meeting.

JOSH
There has to be a natural fluidity to these things. It's how we work best. You can't say that every meeting has to...

DEBBIE
I didn't. The email, which is exactly this long, by the way-- in case as a boy you had some sort of frightening experience with Balzac and that's why you didn't read it-- says, at the top, "This applies only to the daily Senior Staff meeting." One meeting it's going to be important to be one time.

JOSH
Well, I think that's a random cracking of the whip.



DEBBIE
According to the last 300 daily dairies, the President is typically 70 to 90 minutes over-scheduled by the end of the day. The median time a day ends, the over/under 10:20 p.m. As many days have ended after that time as have ended before it. The result being the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces hasn't had a night's sleep in four years. That's both bad and easy to fix.

JOSH
Okay. Well, yes that's hard to argue against and I'll remember this talk the next time.

DEBBIE
I have all the confidence in the world that you will.

JOSH
Okay, well, I'm going in now, all right?

DEBBIE
Sweet of you to tell me a joke, Josh. You're the funny one, I can tell.

Aw, Debbie totally picked up on the whole familial vibe the administration has going on.

JOSH
All right. This is your little part of the store and I respect that. See what I did there? Respect. No one's bigger than the game.

DEBBIE
You're an example for the kids.



Donna wants to compound her voting stupidity and stand out in the cold Washington November looking for a voter to swap her vote to make her mistake a wash. Grrr! I love quirkiness but stupidity for the sake of quirkiness annoys me so much. Donna fans, it's going to be a rough stream of picspams. I hate Jack Reese, Donna/Jack Reese and basically Donna from this episode all the way through Inauguration: Over There, except for The Long Goodbye where she was absent and Guns, Not Butter which was one of her best episodes of the series. The whole Jack Reese relationship (and I view this voting snafu as the lead in) really reveals some of Donna's least attractive traits- flakiness, weakness, petty mendacity, poor judgement of people, etc.



Josh meets up with Toby and Andi. Toby is heading to his first sonogram. So cute! If I'm not mistaken, this is the only Josh/Andi exchange in the series. It's a funny but shallow exchange so I'm having trouble extrapolating some grand meta about the Josh/Andi relationship.

JOSH
Ooh, big needle. 18 inches. Right in the stomach, Toby. Don't look directly at it.

ANDY
Yeah, that's amniocentesis.

JOSH
Hurts like heartbreak.

ANDY
You've had that procedure?

JOSH
Not me personally. Toby, when you get there, it's a good idea to slip the nurse something. Tell her you're hoping for a smooth second trimester.

ANDY
You grease the nurse?

TOBY
He's kidding. Give me one second, would you? I'll catch right up.

ANDY
Hey, sports fans, this is getting exciting.



Andi leaves and Toby and Josh "speak as men do". ;-) More Josh and Toby being odd influences on each other and encompassing "competition" in their camaraderie.

TOBY
Yes. So what do you think, like 50 bucks?

JOSH
I don't know. It's your first, it's twins... I don't know. I think I'd give her $100.

TOBY
Yeah, okay.



In a usual TWW trope, Perfect!Sam comes out of the senior staff meeting and meets Disorganized!Josh. Josh gives Sam some good news.

JOSH
California 47th. He was the guy running Horton Wilde?

SAM
Yeah.

JOSH
Yeah, they're going to lose that by 20 points.

SAM
Really?

JOSH
Yeah.

SAM
You're getting that from the exit?

JOSH
Yeah.

SAM
Great.

JOSH
Great?

SAM
No, I mean, it's a tough beat, what with dying and all.

Sam is never good at covering his feelings. Anyway, he calls Will who tells him that that 20 point estimate that Josh gave is from tracking polls from a week ago and Josh comes back to confirm that on second thought.

JOSH
Hey, when I said "exits" before, I meant "tracking". And I'm pretty sure they did the last one about a week ago and then left town.

SAM
Yeah, yeah, they may have called that putt a little early.

WILL
Anyway, Sam, it would be helpful if we could get added to the President's afternoon satellite. We could really use some radio at drive time.

SAM
Yeah, but listen, Will, no kidding, drive times also when the plants get out and the real Orange County votes and that's when you turn into a pumpkin. I'm just saying, don't get your hopes up.

WILL
No, just a good showing. Cover the spread.

SAM
All right.

Sam hangs up and we're go directly to the campaign headquarters.



ELSIE SNUFFIN
What'd he say?

WILL
Don't get you hopes up.

ELSIE
Are they?

WILL
No. Everybody on the street! But we're going to make history.

There's a quiet ultra-confidence to Will that is incredibly appealing in contrast to Jed's and Sam's overt confidence of privilege, Josh's hilarious strutting confidence that hides potent insecurities and Toby's perma-Woody Allen impression of constant insecurity only protected by a conviction of moral self-righteousness. If anything, Will's focused, goal-oriented, quiet confidence is somewhat reminiscent of Leo. It's just that Will doesn't have Leo's gravitas and the show didn't give Will many victories. (The Horton Wilde election and ultimately convincing Jed to intervene in Kundu were the only two real "victories" not deflated by humor, lack of screentime or questions of immorality that Will had.)

Also, it is interesting just how much Sam and Will are talking past each other. Will has to be able to tell that Sam is totally freaking out about him winning the election and Sam having to leave the best job he ever had, his surrogate family in many senses. However, it hardly ever comes up in Will's conduct how much his victory here is hurting Sam. I don't think Will has to lose the campaign or even feel guilty because Sam signed up be the candidate in the special election. Sam is a big boy who signed up of his own free will and Will articulated really well why this election is worth winning before Sam even signed up. However, it is striking how Will really doesn't want to put himself in the position of soothing or befriending Sam.



Andi is having her sonogram.

TOBY
Roll Call has the pregnancy. C.J. just told me.

ANDY
When?

TOBY
A little while ago.

ANDY
Why are you telling me now?

TOBY
I didn't want to ruin the day for you.

ANDY
Well, okay, but then why are you telling me now?

TOBY
I couldn't help it.

Toby shows off his amazing powers of tact and sensitivity.

TOBY
Just out of curiosity, how long did you think this was going to be covert? These are twins, Andy. You think you're going to go on Meet the Press and Russerts not going to notice you're the size of a school? Why not just come out and say "I'm expecting twins. I couldn't be happier. The father's my ex-husband, Toby Ziegler, to whom I'll be remarried on a date to be decided upon. I'm thinking Christmas."

ANDY
I'm not marrying you again.

TOBY
Then say the first part at least.

ANDY
I hadn't announced it because you don't in the first 12 weeks because... that's when most of the things go wrong.

TOBY
These bodies of yours, I don't know how you live with them.

ANDY
You don't seem to mind.

TOBY
I like the outsides.



The doctor comes in but Toby is still lobbying his case.

TOBY
You should draft a release. In fact, let that be my first act of fatherhood-- drafting your release. Go back to my roots as we all must go. And now you're on offense and not defense.

ANDY
I'm not going to be on offense or defense.

TOBY
The things we do in our lives, many of them are not voluntary.

ANDY
You don't say. I think you performed your first act of fatherhood already.

TOBY
Yes, indeed. So let my second act be throwing you a little press conference.

ANDY
That sounds fine. I, myself, can't make it, but you have a nice time honey.

TOBY
Do I need to tell you the first rule of damage control?

ANDY
No, you don't, but the next time you refer to this pregnancy as damage control...

TOBY
Get the information out early, get it out yourself, do it on your own terms.

ANDY
That's three rules.

The thing is that we know that Toby totally doesn't view the pregnancy as something that needs to be "damaged controlled". However, this conversation goes back to a recurring theme that professional politicians end up speaking in a different vocabulary than ordinary people and this vocabulary can be incredibly cold and fake because whether it's the fault of the politicians or the public, their lives are different. This is one of the reasons why I loved Toby's quote: The things we do in our lives, many of them are not voluntary.

Anyway, they stop arguing when they can see the Miracles of Life on the sonogram screen.



TOBY
Andy, you-you can see their... heads. My kids have heads.

Aw!! Only Toby Ziegler can deliver such a line without too much barf-worthy sappiness.



Donna is outside arguing with the constituency for votes. This is so stupid. Just aside from the stupidity of Donna wasting her day out on the streets for one weasley vote, it doesn't even wash out as a symbol. Wisconsin is much more of a swing state than the District of Columbia which votes Democratic like clockwork. Donna does acknowledge this.

DONNA
The President's going to win the District, it's a forgone conclusion. But Wisconsin's actually in play and I voted for your guy.

ELDERLY MAN
How do I know that?

DONNA
I've shown you the ballot-- look.

ELDERLY MAN
Well, that's a photocopy.

DONNA
Of course it's a photocopy. The real one's in Wisconsin.

ELDERLY MAN
Well, how do I know that?

DONNA
You don't. This is an honor thing. It's about honor and democracy.

ELDERLY MAN
Well, I'm going to go vote now, so please stop talking to me.

DONNA
Fine. You think I'm going to scam you? I've been out here two and a half hours trying to get one vote. You think this is how I make money?

Her yelling self-righteously about the stupidity of her storyline doesn't improve it for me in the slightest.



Sam comes up with Donna and for reasons passing understanding, chooses to confide in her first. Well, I'm actually just being cranky because I'm sour on Donna now. I get how Donna is close enough but not as close as the rest of the Fab Four to make Sam want to confide his embarrassing predicament to her first. I don't subscribe to the theory at all that Donna is among the most empathetic characters on this show but she has had her moments and she has been a shoulder for Sam to cry on specifically. Also, Donna doesn't understand why this is embarrassing so Sam can reexplain it to the dimmer members of the audience through her.

SAM
You have to understand. This wasn't something that cost me anything. They weren't going to announce unless Wilde won and that was never going to happen in Orange County. It's like the Secretary of Agriculture saying, "Sure, I'm ready to assume the Presidency should the 18 who
come before me die. Why not?"

DONNA
So, why not?

SAM
Because it's a two-point race right now.

DONNA
This is very exciting.

SAM
No. It's not. The prospect of going back on my word to a recent widow...

DONNA
So, why go back on it?

SAM
Because the alternative is taking 90 days off to go home, lose by 20 points to a Republican committee chair I hate and never be able to run for public office for real, which is something I maybe wouldn't mind doing one day.

They split up after Donna informs Sam that there's an El Nino system dumping rain in Southern California which is very bad news for the man we call Sam, Sam the Sunshine Man.

More Charlie/Anthony/Orlando hilarity but strangely, there are no screencaps of their scenes.

CHARLIE
There are chairs up there that are over 200 years old. Before you sit in one, I want to see written confirmation from the Army Corp of Engineers that it can support your girth. You stole a goat? I'm assuming this was a mascot?

ORLANDO
Yeah, that was sweet. I was just the leg man. You know, Anthony's the brains.

CHARLIE
Yeah, it had that international jewel thief feel to it.

Aw, more Charlie being a dick to Anthony but that line was actually funny.

ANTHONY
Hey, so what do you think we're doing for the rest of the day?

CHARLIE
You know. Video games, hanging out.

ANTHONY
Really?

CHARLIE
I'm voting at 8:30, you guys will come with me, watch me vote, and then go home.

ANTHONY
Oh, man, what good is...? I mean they're not going to let me vote. It's like my face is pressed up against the window.

CHARLIE
That's right. And yet somehow I don't care.

But wait, Charlie had a registered voter with him in Orlando and didn't know the whole time! For some reason, Charlie becomes warmer to Orlando right away.



Bartlet comes in to see Debbie supervising someone installing new phone lines where Line 1 is Debbie to place most of Jed's outgoing calls and he doesn't get his own dial town until Line 2. First, Jed expresses his reservations.

BARTLET
You don't think that's apt to create a resentment among the people who were here before with...? It's not like the thing wasn't working with... Whatever you may assume, that wasn't a rube sitting out there, Debbie. She ran the Oval Office for two years and a state house before that.

I adore the honorable mention that Mrs. Landingham gets on Debbie's first real day in the office and on Jed's election night for his second term. It's very much earned.



Funniest Jed pic ever?

Anyway, Debbie's explanation for the new assisted-living phone system?

DEBBIE
I'm going to place your outgoing calls.

BARTLET
You're going to place a lot of my outgoing calls...

DEBBIE
No, sir, I need to place them all.

BARTLET
I can make my own phone call. Don't be...

DEBBIE
Sir...

BARTLET
I can make my own phone calls.

DEBBIE
Yes, but soon you might not necessarily remember that you did. When I place the call, there's a record and that's how you'll know and then you won't be worried about it.

BARTLET
That's good. That's a good idea.

DEBBIE
You and I haven't met. In my life, I never would have thought she was a rube.

BARTLET
I'm sorry about that.

More of Debbie awesomely standing up for herself and making it clear who she is. More of Jed breaking the rule that the "President or the Grand Poobah doesn't have to apologize to his employees". I love their dynamic.

She turns to go once more.



BARTLET
Debbie... I have to ask you. Are we talking about...? Did you bring it up 'cause you... noticed...? Is there some particular thing today you noticed?

DEBBIE
No, sir. Do you feel all right? Should I call...?

BARTLET
No, please. I was talking about something else. Line one is you?

I totally sympathize with Jed. However, it is interesting that he hides the symptoms of his MS even after he "came out" with having the disease. I don't know whether it's a "trope" per se to give the All-Powerful Leader a disease but this show definitely plays with Jed's institutional power and personal charisma/brilliance and that his immune system is attacking his nervous system. It's a frightening metaphor in its power. Even after he came out with disease, it's clear that Jed is uncomfortable with the idea of his sickness infringing on his image and his reality of power.



Over in Californ-i-ay, Will is panicking about all things election related and it's up to Elsie Snuffin to lay down the law to tell him to calm down.

WILL
When the hell's it going to rain?!

ELSIE
Willy!

WILL
Don't call me that.

ELSIE
The die has been cast, big brother. You're making everyone crazy.

WILL
There's a moment after you cast the die but before it hits the table. Breathe wrong and you'll
change the way it lands. Can I get a new weather report?!



DONNA
There's value here. There's value. You got to appreciate the value. A Ritchie vote in Wisconsin.

BOW TIE BOY
Well, let me ask you this. Bartlet's suppose to be smart, right? He's the smart one, we're the
dumb one. He knows best. So what does it say to you when his people don't know how to fill out
a ballot? Maybe, he's a little out of touch. Is that what it says?

When a bow-tied Ritchie supporter is totally owning a Sorkin credits-level character with his snark, that's how the Sorkin credits character should know that she's hit rock bottom. Anyway, Jack Reese comes in to do his impression of a sensitive, decent man. Seriously, I may sound irrational but I hate that little fucker. More than Kate Harper who became quite an adequate character around mid-S6 and then got even better in S7. More than Mandy who did make some very cogent arguments on the Bartlet administration's flaws even if it was packaged in an irritating, self-serving way. More than Jean Paul who had the excuse of being high or coming off a bender some of the time. I *really* hate Jack Reese.



DONNA
Lieutenant, I'm not a crazy person and I'm not asking you for the bomb sequence on the
USS Essex. Now, be a man and tell me who you're voting for.

JACK
Ritchie, and you demoted me a rank.

DONNA
I'm so sorry. I'm seeing your shoulders now. Lieutenant Commander.

JACK
Reese.

DONNA
Reese is a nice name. Reese what?

JACK
Lieutenant Commander Reese-- Jack Reese.

DONNA
Can I talk to you about something?

JACK
You know, this is the first election in my life where I haven't had to vote, be absentee ballot
and I was really looking forward to pulling that lever.

DONNA
Absentee ballot. I know how you feel. I'm from Wisconsin. It's my home, but here I am in
Washington on Election Day.

JACK
I've usually been on a Los Angeles lass submarine in the South China Sea.

DONNA
Don't try to trump me here. It's not a battle. We're in this together.

JACK
No, we're not.

DONNA
I voted absentee in Wisconsin, and I voted for Ritchie and I meant to vote for the President.
Now, I think you should go in there and vote the other way to make it a wash.

Anyway, Donna gets Jack to vote for Bartlet and finds out that he's working in NSC's offices at the White House and it's the beginning of a beautiful romance. Or at least, a short lived fling which ended in Reese making a traitorous, unprofessional remark to the press on the eve of the President needing military credibility the most as he sent troops on a unilateral mission to stop an African genocide and leaving Donna to stupidly take responsibility for it. Again, I hate this fucker.



Onto much better scenes, Toby and Josh are neuroticking together. Josh and Toby make neurotic a verb and any other part of speech they damn well please.

JOSH
See, now there are late exits showing even with white male suburbans in New York and Chicago
and Philadelphia. There's huge labor turnout. We're only losing Florida by seven-- seven.
Toby, I think this is going to be bigger than we thought.

TOBY
I stare at this and I stare at this and I don't know which is the boy and which is the girl.
I suppose that problem will take care of itself. You know, if you stare at them for awhile,
well, it's pretty gross, but still...

JOSH
Okay, I'm concerned that you've turned completely into another person.

Ed comes in with a bunch of balloons.

TOBY
Yeah, you better run! Huh?

JOSH
Nothing.

LOL. I wasn't really a part of the Internet fandom when I was watching S4 real-time but I wonder if this was some sort of meta-joke of Sorkin's soothing fan worries that becoming a father would just turn Toby into a giant sap. I certainly was a little concerned about Toby losing his edge and prickliness after having kids. In retrospect, I think Toby should have changed *more* after having kids but I lay at failure at the post-Sorkin team's feet.



Orlando is in line to vote with Charlie and Anthony. This is a nice scene.

CHARLIE
And I was impartial, right? I gave you the best of each and the worst of each.

ORLANDO
Hey, Mr. Young-- I'm not being disrespectful or nothing but I'm just trying to concentrate.

CHARLIE
Listen, this is easy. You can do it, no problem, but if you need to, you can ask for help.
You're allowed.

Aw, Charlie worms his way back into my heart after being a little irritated with his short toen with Anthony. I love that he had a little seminar where he explained Ritchie's and Bartlet's virtues and flaws in the most impartial way that he can but he is so loyal to Bartlet that he wonders at the last minute whether he did it right.

Anyway, Orlando gets a little depth.

CHARLIE
Hey, listen-- Why does a guy who's heading off to the Big Ten care about playing St. Erasmus
Academy on Saturday? You're going to be playing Michigan and Penn State.

ORLANDO
I don't know. It's what I do on Saturdays. Hey, you know what? I know I'm not the sharpest
tool in the box or nothing but try rushing the quarterback. Know what I'm saying? You're not
going to get there. You're not going to touch him.

Then, Charlie gets kind of a nice scene with Anthony.

ANTHONY
He's a good guy, you know. He knows his business. He just doesn't like looking like a fool.

CHARLIE
How long did you hang on to the goat?

ANTHONY
Three days.

CHARLIE
Three days?

ANTHONY
Yeah.

CHARLIE
What did you feed him?

ANTHONY
Cheetos.

CHARLIE
Okay.

Orlando comes out of the voting booth and he had so much fun that he wants to do it again. Hee! You gotta rock the vote!

The most epic scene of the episode.



Will stares at the sky like a deranged prophet. Elsie calls after him to come inside and eat something like sister panicking after her brother's long-gone sanity.

WILL
Now!



Cue buckets of rain pouring down.



That was brilliant and it's ineffably the Sorkin charm. A bunch of scenes discussing a common reality in politics/sports television/computer programming/life all leading to up to something realistic and then instead coming to a big and strange comedic gag.



The senior staffers and aids are watching the returns in the Bull Pen when CJ Gets The Call.

Leo and CJ meet up and head into the Oval Office with grim faces. CJ immediately heads over to the drinks because the Bartlet Oval Office is often (hilarious and scarily) stocked like an office at Sterling Cooper.



C.J.
We've got some news.

BARTLET
What?

C.J. hands Bartlet the drink.

BARTLET
What?

LEO
You're going to win New Hampshire.

Everyone starts smiling. Now, I adore CJ Cregg beyond words. Favorite TV character ever. I also looking for scenes in the first five seasons that indicate her fitness for being named COS, even if I wouldn't call it foreshadowing. However, this really should have been a Jed/Leo scene. I don't know why CJ got to break the great news with Leo instead of Josh/Toby/Sam.





I suppose the shallow sentimantalist in me thinks that CJ was included because they wanted this happy scene to be the three actors with the most beautiful smiles which IMO is definitely Martin Sheen, John Spencer and Allison Janney. The three head in to watch returns to staffer applause.



Cue the Bartlet Victory Speech. It also seems like CJ got her way and the room is decorated like a huge party- balloons, confetti, sparkly lights, the whole deal. "The Times They Are a Changing" playing and I remember reading some debate on whether it was playing at the victory party or just for the audience's benefit. I really think that it's just for the audience's benefit because I don't know why they would blare an oldie over Jed's speech for making good political television.

I think the song is designed to telegraph to the audience that Bartlet's second term is hardly going to be a retread of his first term. Things are *really* going to change. I don't know whether Sorkin would have changed the landscape as much as his successors did. Yet, between Sam leaving, a vastly more confident Bartlet, a shift from the original Jed/Leo relationship, Bartlet starting to suffer from MS, Toby-as-a-father and Sorkin's stated plans to get Josh and Donna romantically together in S5, I think think that the "times" really would be "a'changing" in a Sorkin-written S5-7. Just in a different way.



It's a kick ass speech, rather reminiscent of Jed's Illinois primary victory speech heard over voice over in In The Shadow of Two Gunmen. A huge emphasis on the genesis of democracy and how democracy was embodied in this election. I choose to not believe that it's not "Electoral Victory Speech Boilerplate" or "Sorkin Lazily Borrowing from Himself" but instead a deliberate artistic call-back between the victory speeches representing Bartlet on the summits of his political life facing very different and evolving challenges.



BARTLET
Halfway around the world in Bosnia and Chechnya and Rwanda, they dream of the promise we
fulfilled today of a future we chose, for ourselves, together.



The focus of the speech is interrupted for a few seconds as Sam confirms to Donna that the Horton Wilde case is too close to call.

BARTLET
Four years ago, we were joined by our highest ideals, by our best hopes, and tonight we're
joined by the same commitment to open new doors of opportunity and justice.

The crowd cheers. Bartlet looks at the teleprompter again, but cannot seem to read it, and
begins to improvise. Abbey totally picks up on that.



A picture of Stockard Channing telegraphing all of Abbey Bartlet's emotions but in a way so subtle and real that the audience never realizes that they are being "telegraphed" emotions by an actress unless they deliberately stop to think about that.

BARTLET
To ensure that the promise of the country is the birthright of all the people. We've achieved
so much together always believing, always knowing that America could be made new again and so
it was, and so it will be again. God bless you all. God bless the United States of America.



Aw, one of the last scenes between Michael Corleone, Sonny Corleone and the Guy Who Shows How to Make the Tomato Sauce.

JOSH
We're going to skip the parties for a while and head back to the office. There are nine House
races too close to call. Tell him about California.

TOBY
In the California 47th...

JOSH
In the 47th-- You don't tell it well. In the 47th, Horton Wilde, who's dead, is losing by 88 votes. It was a perfect storm.

I can't think of a more Josh-moment. Telling Toby to say the story in an faux-authoritative way and then when Toby starts telling the story, interrupting Toby with "You don't tell it well" because Josh *has* to be in the spotlight despite his "Guy the Guy" counts on vocation. Perfect little encapsulation of the character.

TOBY
It was.

JOSH
Low Republican turnout, 'cause the President won he Midwest. Low supporter turnout 'cause Webb
didn't have an opponent and the DNC gave up on it a week ago so the RNC left town and they never saw the exits your guy Will Bailey was seeing.

TOBY
Plus there was an actual storm. I tell it fine.

JOSH
Anyway, we're going to be up all night with these. It's going to be fun.

SAM
We should go.

I like to think that Sam's short, "We should go" is laced with the thought that he's probably not going to having these exciting and fun team victories anymore because this race will separate him from the team at least for the next several months. He's feeling this sense of loss on the biggest night for celebration of Bartlet and Bartleteer teamliness. Poor Sam.

One of my favorite Jed/Abbey scene and so underrated! They leave the podium and Jed is still riding his adrenaline high while Abbey is concerned.



BARTLET
That was fun.

ABBEY
How you feeling?

BARTLET
I feel great.

ABBEY
You want a glass of water?

BARTLET
No, I'm fine.

ABBEY
You seem a little dry. Sure you don't want a glass of water?

BARTLET
Yeah.

ABBEY
Maybe I should get you a glass of water, just in case. You could hold it in your hand.

BARTLET
How'd you know?

ABBEY
You were off the prompter.

BARTLET
Just for a minute at the end. I couldn't see it.



Great photo of them.

ABBEY
It's all right. There are going to be more days like this. It starts now. It's going to be
harder this time.

BARTLET
Yeah, I know. We can still have tonight, though, right?

ABBEY
You got lots of nights. Smart people who love you are going to have your back.

Aw, this is exactly what Abbey was concerned about. His MS becoming debilitating on his second term and it's happening right on election night. However, Abbey is beyond "I told you so's". Jed decided to run and he won and from now on, Abbey is a huge part of keeping his confidence and health up. I adore Jed and I think calling him just a "wonderful man" is too pedestrian for his awesomeness. However, I often think that Abbey is the better half of the marriage.

Also, I'm much heartened by the "smart people who love you" line. Abbey has reason to feel jealous of the fact that Jed seemed to create his own family with Leo and the senior staffers and there are plenty of scenes that indicate that she does feel jealous. However, she is given many scenes that show her pushing Jed closer to his "other family" because Abbey rightfully thinks that it's the best thing for him and the country.

In a great shot Jed and Abbey embrace and when they pull back, they reveal CJ's tall form. It's visually funny and representative of the "other family" meta and I *will* take it as "Little Indicators of CJ Being Right as COS/Finishing out the Term Last" even if it's just her asking about a curtain call. I never said I was a rational analyst.



Abbey says yes to the curtain call. Jed adorably stretches to kiss CJ on her cheek and they make their way back to the podium.
9 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
pocochina From: pocochina Date: March 20th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Acting Troupe School apparently didn’t teach him that you need to be registered to vote

lol! I always thought the guy was busting Josh's balls there. Because, wouldn't you? I would.

yes on the friendship between Josh and Toby. There are times when they know to deflate each other, and times when they just compound each other's worst instincts. (I always laugh at them greasing the nurse, too.)

That aspect of Toby and Andi bothers me too. All of it.

Jed nerdily refuses to answer questions on this education referendum for New Hampshire unless he’s the perfect yardage away from the polling place

hee! I love his show-off/control-asserting nerdiness.

I don't see Charlie as the "musicals" type. It's just really not his vibe

LOL. I can see Charlie making fun of Jed for singing Cole Porter around the office and then Jed making him watch all the classic musicals as punishment.

If anything, Will's focused, goal-oriented, quiet confidence is somewhat reminiscent of Leo. It's just that Will doesn't have Leo's gravitas and the show didn't give Will many victories

That's an interesting parallel. I do think it's as much youth as anything, to be fair.

Or at least, a short lived fling which ended in Reese making a traitorous, unprofessional remark to the press on the eve of the President needing military credibility the most as he sent troops on a unilateral mission to stop an African genocide and leaving Donna to stupidly take responsibility for it. Again, I hate this fucker.

word.

However, this really should have been a Jed/Leo scene. I don't know why CJ got to break the great news with Leo instead of Josh/Toby/Sam

I can see spinning the states that weren't in play as more CJ's beat than the states where they really had boots on the ground. She'd have been the one watching the news, after all.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 21st, 2011 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
So glad you agree with me on Jack Reese hate!

lol! I always thought the guy was busting Josh's balls there. Because, wouldn't you? I would.

That's an interesting thought. I just thought it was a "Americans are really ill-informed about politics and voting" joke.

That aspect of Toby and Andi bothers me too. All of it.


I do give Sorkin credit for ultimately undermining Team Toby's/Toby's outlook by having Andi ultimately turn down Toby very plainly in a wonderful refutation of his "No means Yes"/"The Answer from the Gal is different on the fiftieth ask-out than the first" storylines that he does with all of the Dannys on his shows (Danny Concanon here, Dan Rydell on Sports Night and Danny Tripp on Studio 60). Wow, Sorkin is my favorite show-runner ever but that coincidence alone encaspulates his two biggest flaws as a writer- inadvertant sexism and self-plagarism.

He does deflate that with Toby/Andi and lately in The Social Network but I do think that one of his main Romantic Templates is that nothing gets women like dogged persistance to the point of annoyingness at best and creepiness at worst.

hee! I love his show-off/control-asserting nerdiness.


Me too! Nerdy!Jed and Show Off!Jed is the best.

LOL. I can see Charlie making fun of Jed for singing Cole Porter around the office and then Jed making him watch all the classic musicals as punishment.

My new canon!!! I would try to steal that idea for fanfic if I could write good fanfic.

That's an interesting parallel. I do think it's as much youth as anything, to be fair.

I agree.

I can see spinning the states that weren't in play as more CJ's beat than the states where they really had boots on the ground.

That's a very true and very clever interpretation. I'll go with that. The spinners are really the ones in the front of the cameras saying, "We have to fight for this state....because we want to! And the stations ran out of commercials and we have protect local Seinfeld reruns! It's not because we're losing. Honest Injun!" So in that vein, I do see CJ as #1 Spinner being a part of that.
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: March 21st, 2011 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
First of all, why Do you have Jack Reese. i have no opinion on him either way, but as another of Donna's gomers. Is it what he does when he leaves town? There's a fic called Learning to Navigate that deals with Jack and that he would show off for Donna.

I love Will in this episode and every time I see the scene between Josh and Donna where she asks if he'll go to the movies, I think(4 yrs from now you'll think of a MUCH better way to distract him-hee).

I should add that with Josh and Toby, they are truly brothers. And they fight like brothers(I just watched Drought Conditions). True brothers to occasionally throw a punch and they are competitive and insulting but of all the 'gang', Josh is the only one besides Andi that doesn't treat Toby like a leper after the leak. And this is also what brothers do. And Toby made Josh focus on the free media in California. That's what a brother would do.

Edited at 2011-03-21 01:14 am (UTC)
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 21st, 2011 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Where is "Learning to Navigate"? I tried goggling "learning to navigate west wing jack reese" but got nothing.

Jack's way of leaving is the worst thing about him but it's a huge black mark. Hanging Donna out to dry is bad enough but his messing around with the civilian leadership and playing politics in the press because he was upset about his assignment totally sucked. I was also annoyed by him "showing off" for Donna by showing her classfied information and breaking a $500 ashtray that does not belong to him because Donna is "blonde". And the objectifying stupid and way that he says that. That was a lot of pissing me off for a guy that physically appears in three episodes.

He also has a smug blandness that irritates me but his actual infuriating acts make that even worse. I get I spewed a lot of vitriol but it's all directed as Jack Reese! I can be a little rabid on the subject.

I love Will in this episode

I love everything about S4 Will except for his interactions with the Rob Palmer Girls. But the rest of time, he's entirely awesome- taking hazings with dignity, being the Rain Man of Orange County, convincing Jed to intervene in Kundu, that he is in the Air Force reserve, etc. I'll go into more but me and S4 Will is a big love fest.

I should add that with Josh and Toby, they are truly brothers. And they fight like brothers(I just watched Drought Conditions). True brothers to occasionally throw a punch and they are competitive and insulting but of all the 'gang', Josh is the only one besides Andi that doesn't treat Toby like a leper after the leak. And this is also what brothers do. And Toby made Josh focus on the free media in California. That's what a brother would do.

Word. I agree.
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: March 21st, 2011 01:36 am (UTC) (Link)
http://national-library.net/viewstory.php?storyid=6152

It's a Santos Administration fic, but it does address alot of what you hate about Jack Reese so I think you'll like it.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 21st, 2011 02:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much for the rec and it looks like a long one which I like. I don't normally read Josh/Donna fanfic but I'll read this one!
jean_c_pepper From: jean_c_pepper Date: March 21st, 2011 10:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Let me know how you like it.
the_antichris From: the_antichris Date: March 21st, 2011 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Because the alternative is taking 90 days off to go home, lose by 20 points to a Republican committee chair I hate and never be able to run for public office for real, which is something I maybe wouldn't mind doing one day.

I've never understood that. Is there a rule that you only get one go, or that you can't stand again in a different district? Or is it just that it's hard to win when you once lost embarrassingly in Orange County? Because if it's the former, there goes Sorkin's President Sam endgame fantasy.
sunclouds33 From: sunclouds33 Date: March 21st, 2011 04:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, you can run as many times as you want in as many districts as you want. It's just that losing embarrassingly really hurts politician's careers. It doesn't necessarily mean that Sam has to kiss his Oval Office dreams good bye. Bill Clinton was able to come back after losing a reelection race for Governor of Arkansas. But losing badly does hurt so it makes sense why Sam is apprehensive about being a sacrificial lamb for a lost cause in Orange County.
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