West Wing
A Change Is Gonna Come

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The One With Character Development

C.J. enters the Office of O to find Jed still there, sitting in the darkened room with a single lamp lit. She tells him that she thinks they should call the American Institute in Taiwan (which is the closest thing the U.S. has to an embassy there) to ensure that they understand that the U.S. is not changing its position. He tells her to make the call, and as she's leaving, says, "I've always wondered why the let me pick these guys every year." She doesn't know what he's talking about. He's referring to the honorees for the National Medal of Arts: "I enjoy a good cantata, and Turner's landscapes send me over the moon, but what the hell do I know about art?" C.J. thinks that since Jed is the "popularly elected representative of the American people," his taste must count for something. Thinking back to any of our presidents over the last hundred years or so, I shudder at the thought. Jed seems to agree, saying that "nobody told them I was going to be Art Critic-in-Chief." He asks C.J. whether the voters "really knew what they were getting when they pulled the lever." She tells him that she does, in a slightly hesitant way. He wishes her a good night, and she leaves the room. C.J.'s interaction with Jed in this episode has been oddly deferential -- almost tender.

Josh is paying a nighttime visit to Senator Hunt. (Not like that -- even my mind isn't that dirty.) (By the way, they gave us an establishing shot of the Capitol, for those in the audience too stupid to know where a senator might work.) Josh points out that when Taiwan's president wanted to fly the same green and red flag six months earlier, "Taiwan's democratically-elected parliament passed a law to stop him." They have a miniature debate about the status of Taiwan. In short, Hunt thinks that Taiwan should possess actual independence, and that the U.S. should stop standing in the way of that. Josh thinks that the people of Taiwan are happy, wealthy, and free, and that the lack of formal independence is unimportant when they possess de facto independence. Senator Hunt gets the cheesiest line of the episode: "When Patrick Henry said 'Give me liberty or give me death,' do you think he meant except for Wednesdays and Sundays?" They talk a bit more, and then Hunt leaves the office. You know, people on this show are always walking out of their own offices and leaving other people, including political enemies, standing there, free to rifle through their files. It seems a little sloppy to me. But maybe a good dramatic exit is worth more than privacy. Commercials.

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West Wing

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