West Wing
100,000 Airplanes

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B- | Grade It Now!
Sam, Sam, the Sunshine Man

We go back to Jed on the monitor, behind the graphics with red, blue, and green lines, gabbing about how much respect he has for the Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. Lisa asks Sam, "How much of this did you write?" Sam declines to talk about that. Blondie wonders, a little testily, whether Sam's going to be willing to talk about anything, or whether the whole thing's going to be an extraction. Sam doesn't really answer and seems to be suppressing a combination of a discomfort and impatience. They watch Jed some more. Lisa comments, "The lines don't seem to be doing much." Sam gestures for her to hang on. Jed prattles on about the U.S. winning the Cold War and "model[ling] freedom for a waiting world." What. Ever. Lisa: "Breaking out the greatest hits, huh?" Maybe you could shut up so Sam could hear the speech he's spent probably every waking moment of the last two months working on. To plenty of applause, Jed does some Dubya-style tough talkin' about dealing with evildoers, although thankfully he doesn't use that actual word. Lisa: "Now you're cookin'." Good thing you're here to tell Sam how it's going; God knows he wouldn't have a clue without your astute commentary. More tough talk directed in the general direction of terrorism and everyone in the Chamber stands up and applauds. The lines all jump up and Lisa announces, "That's a numbers spike!" Sam tells a technician to "crank that up," but what exactly he wants cranked, I'm not sure. Probably the volume, so he can hear something besides Lisa running her mouth. She says, "You broke 65[%] on all the lines!" She makes some notes. Sam tells her they nearly had one almost as big. She doesn't quite hear him, so he says it again. Lisa: "What was it?" Sam replies, "We almost cured cancer." Lisa: "Really." Sam makes a gesture with his thumb and forefinger barely apart, saying, "This close." Lisa, naturally, wonders what happened. Sam says, as he walks away, "Just one of those things." Credits.

Back at the White House, there's a post-speech party. Amy wanders up to a waiter and asks for a glass of Chardonnay. She's dressed in what looks like a plum velvet dress and jacket. Josh approaches her tentatively: "Hey, Amy." She asks, "Are you talking to me?" Josh says, "Yes." Amy asks, "What did I say about that?" Josh dutifully replies, "You said not to talk to you." Amy: "Yet you're doing it anyway." Josh: "Yes, I am." Amy: "You're doing it again." Josh: "Look..." Amy: "You're still doing it." Josh: "Amy..." She walks away, announcing, "I'm walking away now." Josh just hangs there for a moment, swallowing his frustration. He tells a waiter: "Ice and vodka." Just then, everyone turns to see Sam come in, with Lisa in tow. Everyone applauds as Sam thanks them. He adds, "I am at HaHa's in Cleveland on the 16th, and tip the waitresses." Meh. For a speechwriter who's being lauded for his writing, that's a pretty weak line. Josh hurries over and gives Sam a big congratulatory hug. I can only imagine how this will egg the Josh/Sam 'shippers on. Sam congratulates Josh, too, adding, "The dials are what we thought." When Josh sees Lisa sidle up alongside Sam, he plasters a mostly phony smile on his face that I would describe as a mixture of public politeness and glee that Sam didn't marry her after all, and says, "Lisa." She responds, "Josh." He asks, still grinning, "Still trying to get waived into Generation X?" Unfazed, she pleasantly counters, "Still a pompous jackass?" He chortles a bit and says, "Oh, you betcha." He leaves, saying he'll see them later. Sam and Lisa walk over to the bar area as Lisa asks him to tell her about the cancer thing. As Sam orders a Jack Daniels, he says it got cut. Lisa asks whether they were going to cure cancer. Sam says they were going to say that. If they decided not to, is that really something to discuss with the press? (Insofar as an apparently relatively clueless reporter for Vanity Fair qualifies as a member of the press. ["And don't even get me started on why it's unlikely that VF, or any magazine, would assign her to do a profile on her ex-fiancé." -- Wing Chun]) Sam explains, "Curing it is someone else's department." Lisa wants to know how they decide what's going to be said in the State of the Union speech. Sam says it's a long story. Lisa: "I'm writing a long story." Sam asks the question on everybody's minds: "Do you do any kind of preparation before you come to report..." Lisa interjects, "I prefer to..." Sam: "Hang out at Moomba?" Well. Burn, I guess. She just stares at him. He relents and explains that the process starts about six weeks beforehand with budget meetings, to figure out how they're going to claim to pay for whatever it is they're going to claim they'll do. Sam actually expresses it with less cynicism than I just did, though.

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West Wing




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