West Wing
Opposition Research

Episode Report Card
admin: B- | 3 USERS: A+
Lovers' Spat

A white title card fades to a white landscape. An SUV is driving down a snowy road, and we can hear a voice on the radio talking about the crappy weather. We can also hear Santos: "I want this to be a campaign of ideas. Entitlements are collapsing, our school system's a joke, you could sneak a fleet of tanks across the Canadian border." Damn Canadians -- I knew we shouldn't trust them. (And is a group of tanks really a "fleet"?) Santos is driving while Josh looks at a map and tries to tell him he missed a turn. They debate whether there should have been a "turn" or a "bend" at Horseshoe Lake. Santos doesn't like the way campaigns become so personal: "You know, if we just took the money the campaigns spent on personality contests and partisan sideshows, we could solve this country's problems and shut down talk radio all at the same time." Yeah, because the few hundred million spent on presidential campaigns (as shocking an amount as it is) is really going to fix everything wrong with the U.S. Whatever I might think of Jimmy Smits in this role, he has certainly mastered the art of saying very little while speaking many words at a high rate of speed. Josh tries to focus on the fact that they might be lost, while Santos continues to blather. At one point, Santos grabs the map out of Josh's hands and tries to figure out where they are, while continuing both to drive the car and to blather on: "How about a kick-off speech on education?" So Santos wants to drive, navigate, and talk policy, all at the same time? I think that's the Official Metaphor of the episode. Josh thinks that education is a no-go, and tries to remind Santos that "New Hampshire is about retail politics, person-to-person." Josh adds, "People here won't vote for you until you've had coffee in their house five times." Santos: "I hope they're serving decaf." By this time, they're driving through typical small-town New England while some crappy soft rock plays on the radio. Santos pulls a u-turn and stops the car in front of an abandoned storefront that bears a hand-lettered "Santos for President" sign.

As Santos and Josh enter the office, it's clear that it used to be some kind of sporting supply store. There's still a tent on display by the front window, and some kind of stuffed fish hanging on a wall. A couple of voices call out greetings as Josh and Santos walk into the joint. Santos introduces Josh to Ronna and Ned, a couple of staffers from his congressional office. Josh clearly hasn't met them, although he has spoken on the phone with them. Ronna: "I've never picked out a campaign headquarters before." Josh sounds less than impressed when he points out that she picked a spot that's "got a ceiling and everything." Except that it almost doesn't -- it looks like about half of the tiles in the drop ceiling are missing. Josh talks about the eventual need to get more phone lines and desks, "maybe some industrial safety helmets."

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West Wing




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