West Wing
20 Hours in America, Part II

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The Road Not Taken

Sam picks up the line, and Josh asks him how it's going. Sam says it's going fine so far. Josh says it's only been Bryce at this point. We see Josh zipping along in the back of Tyler's Jeep, with Donna. Sam tells Josh about trying to take the rap for Commerce not having enough input on the stump speech, but that POTUS kind of ran him over. Josh explains that Jed doesn't like it to appear as if his staff is covering for him. Sam: "It genuinely wasn't his fault." Josh: "Nothing's not his fault in the Oval Office." Sam's got it. Josh asks if there's anything else before they get on the train. Sam asks to speak with Toby. Toby takes the phone and says, "Was Bryce pissed?" Sam says he was. He tells Toby that Charlie told him that with regard to the secretarial candidates, for the last few weeks Jed's been asking questions about remembering names and numbers. Sam wonders if he's worrying about short-term memory loss, as one of the effects of his MS. Toby asks if there's anything else. Sam: "Come home." Toby says they're on the way. He hands the phone back to Donna.

Josh starts in: "'Don't worry, we'll have Jews for the money stuff.' You have an inadvertent habit of putting down my Judaism by implying that you have a sharper anti-Semitism meter than I do." Whoa! Toby replies, "You know, the ancient Hebrews had a word for Jews from Westport: they pronounced it 'Presbyterian.'" Yeeowch! Josh adds: "And by saying things like that." Toby: "I'm just saying, I'm from Brighton Beach." Josh: "Well, Mohammed al Mohammed el Mohammed bin Bizir doesn't make the distinction when he suits up in the morning." Oh good, we're back to this? Toby remarks, "Well, as long as you have a good grasp of the complexity of that situation." Yeah, I'll say. Donna: "What the hell are the two of you talking about?" Toby: "I assure you neither one of us knows." Yeah. Well, that was quite a tart little exchange. I hope Sorkin continues to explore this between Toby and Josh. It seems like one of those little things that would build up over the years of working together, and which friends and coworkers can often skirt successfully for long periods of time, but which eventually bursts like an infected sore. I quite like probing things like that. Er, dramatically speaking. I get the impression, too, that perhaps the writer himself has been on the receiving end of attitudes like Toby's.

The Jeep finally arrives at the train station. I'll bet Tyler can't wait to offload these three and get back to harassing his ex-girlfriend. The conductor's yelling "All aboard" as they arrive. Josh throws his arm around Tyler as they walk toward the train, and says, "Tyler, assure me there's going to be no trouble." Tyler says as much. Josh: "The train runs on regular train fuel." Tyler thinks so. "You guys don't have your very own International Date Line in Bloomington or anything?" Tyler says they don't. Josh says, "In that case, on behalf of Bartlet for America and the Democratic Party, I want to thank you for your help, and tell you that you're a good guy, and good luck to you." Donna boards the train and says she's going to find seats. As Josh and Toby are about to get on, Tyler says, "Mr. Lyman? Mr. Ziegler?" Josh says, "Call me Josh." He gives Toby a meaningful look and Toby says, "Toby. I work at the White House." Tyler: "Yeah, can I tell you something? People are going to think you're a lot cooler if you don't say that yourself, but rather let them find out on their own." Josh boards the train and Toby tells Tyler, "Okay." So that's it? Tyler didn't have anything he wanted to say to them? Aw, it was just a big setup. Josh asks Tyler, "The engineer knows the route?" Tyler replies, "Josh, Toby, on my girlfriend's life, your troubles end ninety-eight miles right down that track." He points to his left as the train chugs in the other direction. Josh puts his hand to his head. Yes, they're going the wrong way. Can you believe it? Also: "On my girlfriend's life"? Well, that's not too creepy now, is it? Ick.

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West Wing

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