West Wing
The Al Smith Dinner

Episode Report Card
Lauren S: B- | Grade It Now!
Josh And Donna Actually Talk
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

We start out with Team Santos in Dearborn, Michigan. Everyone is already in a tizzy, Louise trying to convince Santos that very few voters actually read "that ink-stained rag," The New York Times. Santos (fairly understandably) isn't buying it. He points out that every columnist and media person reads it, which in itself is bad enough. It's now sixty-three days until Election Day. Josh is trying to convince them that whatever ran is much worse for Vinick, since he's the one who's been dragging his feet on the debate negotiations. The crew is heading through a kitchen, which is quite a theme for this week's episode. Josh: "I call it a classic case of a frontrunner trying to sit on a lead." Hang on, isn't that what anyone leading a race is trying to do? Ah, Santos is as confused as I am, and wryly points out that he can see why Vinick is doing that, since he's now been leading for two months. Josh exposits for us that the Times slammed the candidates for not yet having a debate. Santos adds, "It's starting to look like I'm desperate to debate him."

The mood is much different at Vinick's headquarters. He and Sheila exit a car, joking all the way about the autographing of inappropriate body parts. Really? I mean, I'm like any girl and would stick my chest out in front of Santos, but do you really want to feel Sharpie on flesh when that Sharpie is in Vinick's hand? Sheila basically tells him to watch it: "You're the next President of the United States. You have a standard to uphold." It's all light-hearted, but that's the one thing Vinick won't joke about, just like any good sports fan won't say that his team has the game won already. Bruno only eggs her on, calling Vinick a rock star -- "David Cassidy meets David Rockefeller." Now THERE'S a love child. Sheila once again calls Vinick the President, and he tells her again to stop it.

Back with Team Tense, who are still walking -- seriously, how far are they going? It turns out that an aide told the Times that Santos was a great debater, so that increases expectations on his side while lowering them for Vinick. Aha, these politicians! Turns out they are crafty. Josh points out the obvious: "Well, he doesn't need the debates; we do. There's no way to hide that." The jury is still out for me as to whether Josh is doing the right thing in being so blunt, or if maybe he should try to be more positive or at least constructive, but...well, we'll see. Santos just stops and turns: "What good are debates if I have to demolish him just to win?" Josh says that he is meeting with Bruno the next day. Santos replies only, "Break the logjam. And lower expectations." Josh starts sounding a tad desperate that those orders conflict, but as the doors slide shut, Santos just tells him, "Get it done."

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West Wing




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