West Wing
Arctic Radar

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C | 2 USERS: C
Dishonourable Discharge

Toby's in his office sweating over some writing. He rips off a sheet of yellow lined paper, folds it in half, and uses his lighter to set it on fire. He puts it in the wastebasket. Someone knocks. It's Will. Toby is reminded that they have an appointment, and invites Will in. "So, you want a job on the speechwriting staff." Will says he doesn't. Toby's all, "I'm sorry?" They go back and forth in this vein until Toby says that Sam told Toby that Will wanted a speechwriting job. Will says Sam told him that Toby wanted help with the Inauguration speech. Toby figures out that there's peanut butter in his chocolate: "Sam's doing a little matchmaking." You can see Toby's wastebasket smoking slightly in the background. Will notices but keeps listening to Toby, who's saying that he's fine doing this by himself. Will: "That's it?" Will says "okay," stands up, and points out that Toby's wastebasket is on fire. Toby says "yeah" as he stands up and picks up a seltzer bottle: "It's not personal...a speech like this, obviously it takes a certain amount of experience, and uh..." He calmly sprays the seltzer bottle into the can. Toby continues, "And uh...a certain something." Will: "Just out of curiosity, how do you know I don't have the something?" Toby: "'Cause you don't have the experience." Will says "okay," but looks like he doesn't agree. He says it was nice meeting Toby and walks to the door, then pauses and says, "For the record, I was President of Cambridge Union on a Marshall Scholarship and I've written for three Congressional races and a governor." Toby says he read the Stanford Club speech: "I thought it was good. Not as good as other people thought it was." All of this is conveyed in a very low-key way. Will: "Yeah?" Toby becomes a little more energetic: "Call and response isn't going to work in front of a Joint Session. You're alliteration happy: 'guardians of gridlock,' 'protectors of privilege.' I needed an avalanche of Advil." Heh. He carries on, "And when you use pop-culture references, your speech has a shelf life of twelve minutes. You don't mind constructive criticism, do you?" Will: "No, sir." Toby: "Anyway, thanks for coming in. I told Sam I can do this by myself." Will: "Well...maybe he thought that your speeches were obscurantist policy tracts lost in a cul-de-sac of their own internal self-righteousness and groaning from the weight of statistics." Heh. Burn. Toby looks slightly surprised. Will: "I'm just speculating. I can't say for sure." Toby makes a little "huh" sound and taps his finger sharply on his pad. He grabs a pad and states, "A 500-word stanza on American leadership in a globally interdependent age that moves beyond triumphalism by this time tomorrow. If it's 501, don't show it to me." Boy, I'm glad Wing Chun isn't that strict. ["For now..." -- Wing Chun] Toby stands up and hands the pad to Will. Will takes the pad and leaves without a word, nodding to Toby as he goes. Toby sits down and sets another page on fire. I'm becoming quite convinced that the West Wing staffers have disabled all the smoke detectors, between the smoking that occurs randomly and at parties, and Toby setting his work on fire and whatnot.

Leo tells Charlie that POTUS is going to be getting a phone call, and he doesn't want POTUS to take it, nor to know why. Charlie says, "The first part is okay; the second part gets ethically tricky." Yeah, Leo cares about that, I'll bet. Leo explains that the UN has had a "decades-old conflict with New York City." Apparently, foreign diplomats park wherever they want, get tickets, don't pay them, and then the White House's troubles begin. Well, you can see how, what with diplomats using their immunity the world over to get away with all kinds of murder -- literally -- they'd expect to park wherever the hell they want, too. As Leo puts it, "Every once in a while the city goes on a jihad and starts towing all their cars and that's just happened." An incredibly inaccurate and actually, somewhat offensive use of the word jihad, but whatever. And the Secretary-General is supposedly going to call POTUS to complain. Charlie: "You want me to have the President dodge a call from the UN Secretary-General and not know why?" Leo: "Yeah, could you swing that?" Charlie: "If I could, that would be troubling, wouldn't it?" Leo: "I gotta keep the knucklehead stuff off his desk, and this is worse. This is actually hot-button knucklehead. This could be a thing. If he knows why the Secretary's calling, he's going to lose it and he's going to be in it." Charlie says, "Yes, sir." Leo asks what he thinks about Vicky Hilton. Wow, someone's soliciting Charlie's opinion on an important matter? What show am I watching again? Charlie says, "I don't think you can reasonably ask someone to control who [sic] they fall in love with." I heartily agree, but you can damn well expect them to control their behaviour. That's what adults do. That's what professionals do. Leo thanks him.

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West Wing




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