West Wing
A Change Is Gonna Come

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The One With Character Development

Charlie is in the Gifts Unit with a short man carrying a stack of books. It's dark, so it's difficult to see the books clearly, but they look to me like case reporters -- that is, compilations of the published opinions of federal courts. Charlie rings the bell, and Bernard comes to the desk. Charlie greets him in this deep, affected voice -- it's a pretty good imitation of Bernard himself. Bernard asks Charlie, "Didn't they teach you that surrender is the better part of valor?" Charlie introduces Bernard to his companion, Richard Squire. Bernard: "And aren't you a frumpy little man." I didn't like that line. Bernard is very rude, but I don't think he would ever be so directly rude. Charlie introduces Squire as being from the Counsel's office, and tells Bernard how very smart he is: "I believe he's memorized the U.S. Code." Squire: "I get a little tripped up by Title 14." Bernard gives him a supercilious look and says, "Do you?" as though he could recite every line himself. By the way, I call utter bullshit on the memorization part. The U.S. Code is massive, filling up dozens of volumes, and it changes every time a new law is enacted. Even if you could memorize it, nobody would want to because you would still constantly have to consult it to keep up with the changes. Charlie tells Bernard that, according to Squire, the President cannot accept a gift from a foreign government if doing so would adversely affect U.S. foreign relations. Squire cites some State Department regulation to Bernard, referring him to section B. Bernard: "I wasn't aware of a section B." Faced with the knowledge of his own imperfection, Bernard capitulates and goes to get the flag.

Marines in dress uniforms carry the flag, folded into a triangle, through the corridors of the White House. Charlie is following them. Josh watches the procession go by and calls the flag a "cheesy piece of fabric." Donna walks up behind him, and just as he turns around, she passes to the rear of him. He bellows her name, and she is now right behind him, exactly where he was looking one second before. She gives him one of the China briefing books and tells him that he has more phone messages from the law firm of "Hoynes, Hoynes, & Hoynes." She also has his garment bag for him. "Where'd you find it?" Donna: "You left it a luggage repair shop after the G-8 six weeks ago." Josh: "So you don't take care of me?" He notices something else in her hands and asks what it is. She tells him that it's a gift, and that she opened it. "You unwrapped my gift?" Donna: "Who knows, it could have been a bomb." Instead, it's something potentially worse -- Hoynes's book. Donna asks Josh if he wants to know how many times he's mentioned in it. He guesses three, but she tells him it's actually thirty-nine.

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West Wing

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