West Wing
A Change Is Gonna Come

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The One With Character Development

In the conference room, Josh and Toby sit on one side of the table while what appears to be approximately fifteen members of the Chinese delegation sit and stand on the other side of the table. Toby opens by once again conveying an apology on behalf of Jed. The Ambassador says that he doesn't want to waste time on such misunderstandings, and gives them a copy of the statement of the Chinese government, which has already been released to the press. (In a subtle comic bit, the Ambassador does not slide the statement across the table. Instead, the aide sitting next to him hands it to another aide, who then carries it around the end of the table and puts it down in between Josh and Toby.) The statement apparently refers to the U.S. meddling in the internal affairs of China. The Ambassador states (and doesn't ask) that the White House will return the flag. Once again, Josh tries to make a joke, saying that they'll return it as soon as they can find it. And once again, he gets no laughs. The Ambassador tells them that the Premier does not want to let the incident disrupt the summit, and that he hopes the White House will understand that they need to make a few modifications to the plan. The protocol aide tells Josh and Toby that they want to hold the welcome reception outdoors, and that they would like to move it from the Great Hall to the Gate of Heavenly Peace. Toby has clearly been paying some attention to the summit preparations, because he notes that the Gate of Heavenly Peace is in Tiananmen Square. Josh, in an incredulous tone, asks, "You want to welcome the President of the United States in Tiananmen Square?" The Ambassador sounds all naïve as he asks if there's a problem with that.

Close-up on several paper flags attached to tiny little flagpoles, which are in turn attached to little blocks of wood. Represented are the flags of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China, the Taiwan Independence Movement, and a couple of other Taiwanese political parties. C.J. and Kate are sitting at C.J.'s desk, eating Chinese food(!) out of take-out cartons, while Kate explains (again!) the difference between the various flags. C.J. seems particularly confused by the distinction between the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China, and I simply refuse to believe that the person who was Leo's only candidate to become Chief of Staff would be so ignorant. Of course, the real explanation is that the writers think that the audience is that ignorant. (Have you noticed that I'm angry about this?) The point of this conversation is to explain (again!) that China would become quite angry if Taiwan changed its flag. China might even declare war. At the end of the little flag exhibit, C.J. wonders why Kate has the flags. "I play a lot of Risk." That was surely a jest. I can't imagine that Kate would have enough friends to get a good game of Risk going.

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West Wing

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