Props to Professor Frink for giving me an atlas for Festivus. Now I'll be somewhat less geography-impaired. Don't imagine that will ever extend to sports, though. I plan to remain as generally ignorant as possible about that.
Previously on The West Wing: Leo told Jed a deal was offered if Jed would accept censure; Josh argued to Leo that history forgets such things, but Leo said that Presidents don't, and that Jed definitely wouldn't; Sam mentioned to Jed that he doesn't think the truth is something to be casual about, and Jed agreed; Amy wanted to know why Josh is so dysfunctional when it comes to relating to women; Jed admitted to Leo that he was wrong; Amy smooched with Josh on his doorstep.
We hear POTUS giving the State of the Union address. We are in a room filled with television monitors. From a design inlaid on the floor, we see that it's the National Strategies Group offices. Sam walks in as everyone's applauding one of Jed's statements. He starts explaining to a petite blonde woman with an ear-length bob (Traylor Howard) about the dial graphics on the monitors, and what they indicate. The dials register numbers from one to one hundred, and the higher they go, the higher the approval of those responding; the numbers are tallied by a central computer. The blonde woman says, "Like the Nielsens." Sam hesitates a moment, and it's hard to be sure whether he's more annoyed by the specific comparison or with the whole process of dealing with this woman. She asks whether the people with the dials are behind a screen somewhere. Sam lists the names of some cities and towns where opinions are being gathered. The woman asks, "Which one's Joey?" Sam hollers over to Kenny, "Can we get Joey for a second?" Kenny signs to Joey, who gestures to Sam that she'll come over in a minute. Sam signs back to Joey, "Thanks." Blondie seems mildly surprised and asks, "When did you pick that up?" Sam shrugs it off, saying that he simply thanked Joey. Someone snaps Sam's photograph, and Sam asks if they could go easy with the pictures. Blondie says, "You said it wouldn't be a problem." Sam wants to know when he said that. Blondie: "C.J. Cregg said it wouldn't be a problem." Sam just nods ever so slightly, too distracted by the concerns of the moment to bother any further.
Joey and Kenny hustle over; Sam introduces her to them as "Lisa Sherbourne. She's doing a piece for Vanity Fair." Lisa, of course, would be Sam's ex-fiancée (referred to in "In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part 1"). Marlee Matlin's hair is layered and blown back in a kind of feathery retro 'do. I wouldn't like it on just anybody, but she carries it off. It's not my favourite hairstyle for her, though. Kenny seems to have much more hair than I recall. Puffier, you know? Joey tells Lisa that she doesn't have a lot of time right now. Lisa asks what the different lines mean. Joey explains that red is for Republicans, blue is for Democrats, and green is for Independents. Joey explains, "When we say something liberal, like..." As she thinks, Sam suggests, "Death is bad." Because everyone knows that if there's one thing those gosh-darned Republicans stand for, it's death for everybody. Or wait: is death only for the rich? Joey runs with that and explains some very predictable information about how the lines correspond to the political leanings of the respondent. She adds, "You're usually lucky to break 65[%]. I gotta get back now." Joey takes off with Kenny. I can't wait to see this particular Vanity Fair feature sliced and diced in The Mediator.