West Wing
College Kids

Episode Report Card
Deborah: C | 1 USERS: A
The One-Eyed Man Is King

Jed enters the auditorium, where people are standing, clapping, cheering, and waving miniature American flags. It's not an enormous crowd of people, though, and the amount of noise they're making seems out of proportion to their numbers. Jed makes his way through the crowd to the stage and positions himself at the podium, in front of the NEA banner that reads, "Making public schools great for every child." That's one ripping good slogan. He begins: "'Joy cometh in the morning,' Scripture tells us. I hope so. I don't know if life would be worth living if it didn't. And I don't yet know who set off the bomb at Kennison State. I don't know if it's one person or ten, and I don't know what they want. All I know for sure -- all I know for certain -- is that they weren't born wanting to do this. There's evil in the world, there'll always be, and we can't do anything about that. But there's violence in our schools, too much mayhem in our culture. And we can do something about that. There's not enough character, discipline, and depth in our classrooms. There aren't enough teachers in our classrooms." Lots of applause for that, naturally. "There isn't nearly enough, not nearly enough, not nearly enough money in our classrooms, and we can do something about that. We're not doing nearly enough, not nearly enough to teach our children well. And we can do better, and we must do better, and we will do better, and we will start this moment today! They weren't born wanting to do this." Some of the crowd's already on its feet again cheering and applauding, as the usual suspects (C.J., Sam, Charlie) watch from the perimeter of the room with the usual serious expressions of approval, inspiration, motivation, and/or pride on their faces. Yeah, I think that's nearly enough already. What an empty and incredibly redundant pile of poo. There's oratorical rhythm, and then there's a place where you've crossed the line into the chorus of "Rock and Roll All Night." I can't believe these overworked, underpaid educators could get so whipped up about a speech that makes absolutely no specific promises, contains no details of any policies or plans whatsoever, and doesn't amount to much more than "tut, tut" and "rah, rah." Rating on the Credulity Strain-o-Meter: 5 out of 10.

After the commercials, we're back in the Situation Room. It's 11:45 AM. Leo is ordering an egg salad sandwich on a Kaiser roll, unless it's Milos making the potato salad, in which case he wants some potato salad, too, and if not, any other form of potato is fine. He pauses, and Jordan asks, "Why did you tell me that?" Well, it's clearly top-secret code for "Jordan, you're really foxy, but I'm sorry, I can no longer deny my love for Fitzy." And you better start learning the lingo, sister. Leo says he was talking to Margaret. We hear Margaret on the intercom saying, "She knows that, sir. She meant..." Leo turns the intercom off. Leo then rhapsodizes about the secret ingredient Milos puts in the potato salad that makes one crave it beyond what's normally reasonable: "I'm like, two, three forkfuls away from the final piece of the puzzle and then this monkey's off my back."

Jordan's not interested in potato salad. She wants to know why Leo told her about the assassination. Well, I would think it would be pretty clear at this point that they're trying to lawyer up. Leo says that POTUS ordered him to. He presses the intercom button and says, "Commander, Jordan Kendall, please." Suddenly on the screen behind her, a profile on Jordan Elaine Kendall appears, along with a picture. Leo says, "First of all, that's a nice picture. Sometimes these pictures aren't that nice." Jordan turns to see what he's talking about. He continues: "But look at that smile. You could light up Chicago." I bet she could do wonders for the Situation Room. Jordan asks, "You just have this at the push of a button?" Leo says no, but if he gives "these guys" some warning, they can put on a show. He asks for the second page, and wanders over to the screen. He discusses her educational background, mentioning the "Maxwell School of Diplomacy and International Relations," which I guess is standing in for the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She was counsel in several capacities for delegations to the UN and to the UN itself: "Which is when you found out you could buy stuff with money." Jordan stands, looking slightly embarrassed. Leo asks for page three. "Partner, Whitcomb, Wiley, Hawking, Harrison and Kendall. Was there a Burt Kendall at the firm? Maybe his portrait's hanging up in the partner's dining room?" She says no, but it wasn't her idea to add her name to the firm; they needed to raise the profile of their international law department. Why the hell not add your name? Isn't that one of the brass rings you like to grab as a lawyer? Leo: "A specialty in international law, you say? Interesting. Have you any experience dealing in matters that receive wide media coverage? Let's take a trip to page four." Jordan: "You have a good time doing this, right?" Leo, with a cute smirk: "You don't even know." He mentions cases she's worked on including the citizenship case of a Cuban ball player named Orlando Ruiz and the defense of a CEO and his chemical company in a wrongful death suit. Jordan quickly says she has no experience with the kind of thing he's talking about. Leo: "Nobody does. And we're talking about, we killed Shareef. We put fourteen bullets in his chest on an airstrip in Bermuda." Sounds more like you overkilled him. Leo says, "It's helpful to start saying it out loud." Margaret interrupts at that point to say she has a message from Harold Harrison about the Sullivan decision, and that it's not what he thinks. Leo instructs her, "Come down here and show Ms. Kendall out." He excuses himself and takes off.

Toby arrives at work and starts calling out for Donna and Josh. Neither one is there yet. Josh arrives through a different door, and Toby catches sight of him. They both rush toward each other, saying, "I have to talk to you." Josh: "Me first." Toby: "Why's that?" Josh: "Because it's important." Toby agrees. Josh suddenly changes his mind and says that Toby should go ahead. Toby says that Josh should go. Josh: "I'm perfectly fine waiting. I have the patience of an adult." Heh. Toby says he has twenty seconds. They start pedeconferencing to Toby's office as Josh says it came to him in his sleep this morning, because when he got home, the paper was already there. There was a story in the business section about a company called Redstar and a $35 million retention bonus they gave to some guy named Wadkins. Josh says we all know that CEOs get bonuses that workers don't. That's for damn sure. Any workers lucky enough to get bonuses usually find that they aren't enough to buy whole islands in the Pacific Ocean. Josh says the story talked about Congress ending the deductibility of salaries over a million dollars, and that this measure excluded items deemed by the IRS to be incentive-based. Josh: "In other words, the bonuses are tax-deductible! In other words, Wadkins gets $35 million for crashing the company, and the company gets a deduction." Josh tells Toby that college costs are much better use of capital than writing off bonuses. Josh refers to Plot Device Matt Kelley, reminding viewers that he's the guy from the bar last night who's taking his daughter to colleges (for those who haven't been paying attention and don't know who Toby's new best friend is), further reminding us that Mr. Kelley wanted it to be just a little easier -- not a lot -- to pay for college. Josh makes his pitch: "Toby, every nickel spent on college tuition should be 100% tax-deductible. Not capped, and indexed, and bracketed. Every nickel, 100%." ["As if Americans can't deduct enough already. Hi, mortgages? Stupid Canada." -- Wing Chun] Toby smiles a wee smile and says, "That's exactly what I was going to tell you." Josh doesn't believe him. Toby insists. Josh resists. Toby shows Josh his newspaper, folded open to the news story Josh mentioned, which is circled, and has this note written in marker, in capital letters above it: "We can make college cheaper!" Is it just me, or is the Exposition Fairy phoning it in for this episode? Also: they're presenting this as if they've discovered plutonium, and frankly, it's a swell idea, but pretty obvious and sensible and long overdue and hasn't it already maybe been suggested a few hundred times? I'm not sure it takes 300 IQ points to come up with something like this. Josh says he's going to make some time with Leo. Toby says, "And figure out a way to pay for it." Josh: "Yeah." He takes off and Toby says, "Good." Josh turns at the door, holds up a fist by his chest in a kind of "right on" gesture, and leaves.

Out in the hall, Josh runs into Donna, who's just arriving at work. We already knew she cleaned up well, but she also cleans up quickly, too: she looks way less rough around the edges than the guys do. She asks, "Did you sleep all right?" He says he did, but then he read this thing..." Donna's caught up to him at this point and is standing in front of him; she makes a subtle, impatient gesture that reminds him to at least act as if he gives a damn about her welfare. Josh gets it: "How are you doing?" She says she's well. As they walk to her desk, Josh asks what's on for tonight. Donna says he's having a meeting with the state party chair and saying energizing things to the staff. Josh: "Are we in any danger at all of losing Massachusetts?" She says no. He wants to know why he's doing this. She says, "Because." Josh: "I can't just go straight to the event?" Donna says, "'Cause everybody's going to the campaign first and we just spent twenty hours trying to get out of Indiana." Josh: "Who's at Rock the Vote?" Donna: "Aimee Mann, the Barenaked Ladies, Chrissie Hynde, Sixpence None The Richer, Aaron Neville, Diamondback Whale, Daisy Chain, Next Big Thing, The Cruel Shoes, and Single-Cell Paramecium." Josh: "You've just been practicing for when I asked the question, right?" Donna: "Yes." Josh: "And you made up 'Cruel Shoes'?" Donna: "No. 'Single-Cell Paramecium.'" We hear the sirens of the motorcade arriving outside and see C.J. arriving through a doorway down the hall. Donna starts waving her arms, jumping up and down, and hollering, "We're here! We're here!" just like Josh did in Indiana. Josh asks her, "Woul

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