West Wing
Stirred

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And the Olive Represents the Electoral College

Charlie is at his desk, filling out a check to pay off his tax debt, while Jed looks over his shoulder. Jed explains that they were hoping to inject some more money into retail and tourism. Charlie: "Why didn't you just wait until people were supposed to have the money?" Jed: "The economy might have improved on its own by then." Charlie: "In which case, the whole thing would have been pointless in the first place." Jed: "Yeah." Charlie: "Economists just make it up as they go along, don't they?" Jed: "Yeah." Jed admits that the plan didn't work so much. Most people, like Charlie, used it to pay down debt. Charlie shows his check to POTUS for approval -- is Jed going to go around making sure everybody pays their taxes properly? -- and stuffs it in an envelope. Jed turns into President Softie and tells Charlie that he was surprised to find out how much money Charlie donates to charity, given his salary, and admits that perhaps the money is better off in Charlie's hands. But, we've established in previous episodes that Democrats aren't so big on that system. Jed tells Charlie that when he gets home he's going to find the DVD player Charlie was planning to buy, along with his "wimp-ass" James Bond film, as well as Yeomen of the Guard. Did he have the Secret Service guys break into Charlie's house? I hope they didn't leave it on his doorstep. Charlie tells him that was an "incredibly nice gesture."

Leo comes in, with Hoynes in tow, to speak with Bartlet privately in his office. He invites them in, telling Charlie as he leaves to get some woman on the phone because "[he's] feeling magical tonight." Jed briefs them all on the anti-climax that is the fuel rod subplot. There weren't any leaks, and everything's under control. He gives a lengthy explanation of how many tests the fuel rod containers are subjected to, because somebody over there in Sorkinland did an awful lot of research on the matter and they'll be damned if they're not going to work it into the script.

Finally, Jed sits down and asks what they need. Leo explains that there's something important they need to talk about. Leo starts explaining that it's a surprising and delicate issue and that he wants to make sure that Jed's response is "measured" -- and then Hoynes just blurts, "I'm a recovering alcoholic." Leo looks at Hoynes in horror, but Bartlet doesn't seem particularly fazed. After making an ill-advised crack asking whether anybody isn't an alcoholic these days -- way to be dismissive, POTUS -- he asks Hoynes how long this has been going on. Hoynes tells him that he had his last drink when he was twenty-two. I'm picturing some sort of Drew Barrymore thing where he started drinking when he was twelve. POTUS is shocked that Hoynes could determine that he was an alcoholic by that point, stating that Jed himself didn't even start drinking until he was twenty-five. What? Why? Nerd. Anyway, Hoynes explains that there's a history of alcoholism in his family. Bartlet tells Hoynes he ought to team up with James Bond. I swear to god, half of everything that came out of Bartlet's mouth this episode was a complete non-sequitur. Bartlet repeats the whole weak martini story, then asks Leo what the big meeting is about. A concerned Leo tells POTUS that they'll talk about it later. But Hoynes isn't as oblivious as Jed is today; he tells him that they're all discussing replacing him as VPOTUS on the ticket. Leo is surprised. Hoynes simply responds, "I know how to count to 270." Leo assures Hoynes that it's not anything serious as yet; if it were, they would have told him. Hoynes is practical about it, and repeats the problem about losing Texas and Florida and says they should consider replacing him. Bartlet interrupts the discussion to ask about the internet bill, and to point out that Hoynes has taken his name off it. Hoynes responds simply that he thought it was more important to have the bill passed than to have his name on it. Jed points out that he can't campaign on it now, and I've already said my piece about that. Jed says, "If somebody's attacking us, you know what to do." Hoynes: "Go to Leo." Jed: "But don't discount the possibility that it might be Leo." I'm just lost now. Jed's so far all over the map that I'm not even sure which subplot he's talking about. Does he mean the internet bill, or is he telling Hoynes that the administration has his back if he reveals his alcoholism? Jed goes back to his desk and says to Hoynes, "Despite this recent revelation that you drank beer in college, I've always liked you more than you thought I did. But that's not why you're staying." He writes something down on a sheet of paper and hands it to Hoynes. President Melodrama explains that those four words are the reason Hoynes will stay on the ticket. Hoynes reads them to himself, then shows them to Leo. They don't tell us what it says. Maybe "Free Tostitos for everyone!" or "You're my whipping boy!" or "I really like otters!" Hoynes responds, "I've always liked you more than you thought I did, too, Mr. President." Leo and Hoynes thank POTUS for their time and leave.

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West Wing

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