West Wing
20 Hours in America, Part II

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B | 1 USERS: A+
The Road Not Taken

Debbie Fiderer is sitting next to Charlie's desk, looking nervous. She asks Charlie if it's all right to ask how POTUS has managed without a secretary for a year. Over sixteen months, by my count. Charlie says POTUS has five secretaries: four of them funnel their work through the executive secretary. She seems surprised to hear it. She was in Personnel at the White House before, wasn't she? Wouldn't she know this? Seriously. Charlie explains that Jed has two research secretaries, a social secretary, and a scheduler. Maybe that's Nancy's job. The scheduler has an assistant, whose job it is to keep the book -- the daily diary which is a minute-by-minute accounting of what POTUS did that day. Debbie asks, "What about private stuff?" Charlie says they have euphemisms. Charlie says every once in a while there might be a gap in the schedule or a cancellation, and POTUS and FLOTUS might slip over to the...you know. Debbie: "For a...matinée?" Charlie says they list it as "barbecuing." I believe I did not need to know that.

In the Oval Office, somebody named Bill is trying to give POTUS reassuring information about the Dow: "This isn't a crisis. It's investors getting back to common sense." Jed, pouring himself some tea: "Well, it's an election year, Bill. We'd rather people didn't exercise common sense. But I agree with what you're saying." Bill thanks him and leaves as Charlie comes in and says, "Sir...Deborah Fiderer." Jed, wearily: "Really?" Charlie says yes. He sends her in; she says, "Mr. President." Sam sees her and is somewhat surprised: "Debbie." Jed asks if they know each other. She's left standing there as Sam says, "Debbie worked for Donald McKittridge." Sam walks over to Jed's desk, faces Jed (so his back's to Debbie), and says, "She's...very interesting. Her résumé's impressive: I remember thinking she was efficient and creative. She's the one who found Charlie. I remember people talked about her a lot. They found her pretty strange. But I remember thinking that I didn't find her that strange." Debbie says, "You know I can hear you, right?" I have trouble believing Sam would be quite so inconsiderate as to talk about someone this way, especially in the third person, right in front of them. I think it's out of character for him. As Sam leaves the room and walks past Debbie, he whispers to her, "I'm in your corner."

Debbie looks uncomfortable, clears her throat, and approaches Jed's desk. He says, "You're the alpaca farmer." She replies, "It was something I tried for a while." He gestures for her to sit. She does. Jed: "You hired Charlie, huh?" She states that she worked in the Office of Presidential Personnel and that Charlie had come into the wrong office, having been called in for a job as a messenger. Jed didn't know that. Debbie says they started talking, and it didn't take long to see he was a "special kid," so she sent him to Josh Lyman. Jed: "Well, thanks for that." Debbie: "Yes, sir." She seems to be gathering her poise and confidence and relaxing a little now. Jed asks who was in second place; he wants to know who he almost got. He says he likes to think about the road not taken. She says he's testing her memory. She thinks and says, "It was a young man named David Dweck." Jed: "David Dweck?" She says, "I used to call him 'David Dweck Wanna a Dwink of Wawa.'" Bet he couldn't get enough of that. She adds, "'Til I realized that wasn't really funny." Larry knocks and sticks his head in to bring Jed some financial updates he wanted: "Hong Kong's down 4% but it's still over 10,000. It's too early to tell anything. The Nikkei's down 2%, the dollar's down .3% against the yen, .4% against the Euro. Frankfurt opens in eight hours." Jed thanks him and he leaves.

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West Wing




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