West Wing
Talking Points

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Miss Alli: C- | Grade It Now!
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Trade (And Intellectual) Deficits

Debbie strolls into the Office of O, where Jed is in the middle of a meeting, and tells him that his eleven o'clock appointment has arrived. "Quarter past twelve, will you please stop calling it my eleven o'clock?" he snots. She says of course she will, and then tells him that his 11:05 is waiting. Heh. The eleven o'clock turns out to be Too-Tall and Harper. Too-Tall introduces them, and Jed praises Harper for being fluent in Arabic, which she proceeds to show off. Too-Tall takes off, and Jed and Harper chat about her service at one of the embassies. He also chats with her about a situation he's dreading involving France, and since she can't hold back her little snippy-face about what he says about it, he asks her what she thinks. She plays like she doesn't want to tell him, but he forces her to. Finally, she offers that she thinks it's a mistake to antagonize France, and she bungles the explanation, and Jed eventually dismisses her out of frustration. I certainly hope they're going somewhere with that, because on its own, it was a stinker of a scene. And I'm feeling kind of grouchy about this boring lady and the time she's taking away from all the people on the show I would enjoy seeing more of, like...like...never mind. Welcome, Kate Harper!

Josh finds that Swimtern is at the door of his office, asking about the trade thing and the Belgian farmers. The farmers are against it, Josh explains, but Belgium in general is for it, because it benefits their economy. Swimtern wonders how something can be bad for your citizens and good for your economy. Donna shows up and tells Swimtern to tell Josh that the union guy is here. Because they're not talking, remember? Ay yi yi. That is so not entertaining anymore. Not to mention petty, twee, and stale. (Wouldn't you have your will drafted by the law firm of Petty, Twee & Stale? I totally would. I would even be their receptionist, because saying, "Right away, Mr. Twee" would make me laugh.) Anyway, Swimtern starts to translate back and forth, and it goes like it always does on sitcoms of this kind, where they don't wait for him to actually repeat things to each other, blah blah blah, this is really, really not funny in the slightest, to an absolutely painful degree. Josh and Donna yell at each other about Josh's upcoming meeting with a Congressman later this afternoon, and Josh finally tells Donna that "wherever Skippy the Translator's going, she ought to go too." Nice. Donna has what may be a funny exit line, but of course, as is so often the case, it can't be made out on the soundtrack, so I have no idea what it was. And no, don't email me. And please, please, PLEASE stop emailing me to tell me that I should turn on the captions. I understand there are captions. I should not require captions, however, and I'm not going to hand-hold a bunch of fools who don't know enough to make their show audible and comprehensible. So when it defies my ear, that's what I'm going to tell you, unless and until they get their shit together and fix this problem, which has gotten completely out of hand. I don't have any idea whether it's technical -- the sound mix or the quality or something -- or whether it's just a failure to direct the actors properly not to mutter under their respective breaths to the degree they now do. Don't care. Fix it. Every time I mention it, I get emails from people who agree with me and can't understand a share of the dialogue in every single episode either, so it's time for the show to take it seriously. If you're going to pride yourself on dialogue, people need to be able to understand it. Clean it up, folks. It's a sloppy-ass way to conduct business.

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West Wing

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