We open with some convention theatrics. A couple of news voices are talking in the background about the three-way split among the Democratic contenders, while we see little blips of convention preparation -- the lights going on in the hall, delegates with funny hats going through the metal detectors, memorabilia being laid out for sale by vendors. Shockingly, they show us the logos of some rival news organizations, ending NBC/MSNBC/CNBC's near-monopoly of The West Wing broadcast news business.
The opening montage continues, but now it's intermixed with shots of Leo, Josh, Will, and some other campaign types sitting around a conference table hashing out the schedule. Will and Josh are, needless to say, bickering like little children. One of our themes is introduced when Leo informs everyone that the networks want the balloting to happen in prime time. They figure that the preliminaries -- you know, voting on the rules and the platform, recognizing each delegation -- will be enough to fill up the day until then. Oh, Annabeth is standing over Leo's shoulder, watching the proceedings. Someone should get her a little stool to stand on so she can see. Josh asks what time Jed is speaking on the first night (which is also identified as "tomorrow night," and which is the traditional night for departing presidents), and Leo tells everyone that Jed is not going to speak until a nominee has been selected. Oh, Donna's there too. But she's sitting, which is why I missed her. They start to bicker over the order the candidates will speak before the first ballot. Look! There's Bram, skulking behind a television. Already I can tell I'm going to enjoy this one. Election junkies will be happy to hear that Bingo Bob won twenty-five primaries and/or caucuses, while Santos won all of the big states (California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Illinois) except for New York.
Leo's had enough, telling them that they'll flip a coin. Will cannot resist pointing out that there are three candidates, so a coin-flip really won't work. Leo yells, "Draw straws, pick a number out of a hat, I really don't care." Everyone has the good grace to be silently embarrassed by his or her own pettiness. Or maybe they're just wondering where they would find a hat or some straw in this day and age. Or even how you would go about drawing straws, since nobody has done it in the last forty years. Leo tells them all that Annabeth will be running podium operations. He tells them that every speech needs to be given to her four hours in advance so that she can approve them. Will is outraged at the prospect of censorship, but Leo doesn't back down. Will wonders if Annabeth's going to approve the candidate videos, and Leo says she's not, "because there aren't gonna be any." Thank goodness. There's an art form that reached its zenith with its very first creation ("A Man From Hope," 1992) and went straight downhill from there. Annabeth also wants all speeches limited to ten minutes (as if!), because the networks are serious about refusing to give more than two hours of coverage each night. Annabeth is working some seriously hip black rectangular glasses, by the way. Although I can't figure out why they're tinted, since she's in a pretty dark room. Leo asks if they're done, and of course they are not. Will wants to whine about the assignment of staff rooms -- apparently, the Santos room is closer than the Russell room. More bickering. Leo shuts them up and asks where they are on Veep selection. They both immediately go from brash to sheepish, looking down at their papers and saying that they're almost finished with that. Leo wraps up the meeting, telling them that they want a nominee by the end of the first night, and that he won't tolerate any attacks on any of the contenders. He wants to demonstrate that Democrats can lead the country with maturity. And then he tells them that they'll pick the speaking order using "rock, paper, scissors." My eleven-year-old niece Jaime must not have written this episode, because she knows that rock, paper, scissors can't be used to select a winner from a group of three. She's clearly too smart for this show.