West Wing
The American President, Part I

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"Dig it, Ms. Wade: You're the President's Girlfriend!"
Sydney arrives at the White House -- wearing a beautiful blue gown in a hard-to-describe shade, something between ultramarine and midnight and royal blue ["It always looks green to me" -- Wing Chun] -- and is met by Janie, who takes her upstairs. She looks dazzled, and dazzling (without being overdone). When they arrive in the room upstairs, A.J. greets Sydney immediately, saying she looks beautiful. Sydney replies, "Thank you. I have no idea what I'm doing here." A.J. assures her that "there's no hidden agenda." He re-introduces her to his wife, Esther; apparently they've met before. POTUS wanders up, saying, "Sydney. Andrew Shepherd. We spoke on the phone." She laughs, and says she remembers. He has to take off for a minute. Esther says that she thinks the way the President and Sydney met is "priceless." It's a damn good story to tell the grandchildren, that's for sure. Esther claims, "Men like being insulted by women. It makes them feel loved. Don't ask me why." I'm not so sure about that. A.J. warns her, "Sydney, when you meet the French President, don't make him feel too loved, all right? We just signed a new trade agreement." They reach POTUS, who's with the French President, in whose honour the dinner is taking place. Shepherd makes the introductions to Réné-Jean D'Astier and his wife Monique. Janie has to drag POTUS off to the receiving line. Sydney and the Prez slowly walk down a staircase. Sydney asks whether he does this often. He replies, "This is, actually, only our second State Dinner. The first one was for the Emperor of Japan, who died shortly after that, so we stopped having them for a while, just in case." Sydney meant, of course, does he date a lot? He says he doesn't, and asks whether she does. She says she seems to go out on a lot of first dates. He wonders how they're doing so far. She responds, "It's hard to say at this point. So far it's just your typical first-date stuff." Of course, at this point, they enter what I believe is the East Room, and the band starts up. Shepherd says, "Damn. And I wanted to be different from the other guys." A Marine (I think; I can't tell one uniform from another) takes Sydney's arm and leads her away as a voice announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States." As Sydney's led away, he says, "By the way, nice shoes." Her eyes sparkle as she looks back and smiles. There's a lot of pomp, circumstance and playing of "Hail to the Chief." Then we cut to the dinner being served; it's all exceedingly elegant and well-appointed, as you'd expect, with lovely music playing softly. Sydney whispers to Shepherd that the French President and his wife look bored. POTUS says that they're hammered, and asks Esther whether she speaks French. She speaks Latin. POTUS remarks, "Great, next time Julius Caesar comes to town, you're our gal. Sydney, I don't suppose that you speak any..." Sydney launches in: "Monsieur le Président, nous sommes tous habillés, nous avons ce merveilleux orchestre, une pièce magnifique...comment se fait-il que les invités ne dansent pas?" Shepherd looks like he'll bust his buttons with pride and says to anyone who's listening, "That's my date." They continue yattering in French until POTUS asks, "Sydney, you didn't dissolve our trade agreements, did you?" Sydney says that she merely wondered why nobody was dancing. President D'Astier indicates that French custom is to behead guests who are impertinent enough to dance without the lead of the King and Queen. He seems only to be partly joking. A.J.: "I'll bet no one accused Louis of being soft on crime." Sydney tells Shepherd there's a lesson here; Shepherd guesses, "More beheadings at the White House?" A.J.: "Bob Rumson would embrace it." Shepherd's sure of it, and asks Sydney to dance. They dance, as everyone watches them alone on the dance floor. Shepherd only has eyes for Sydney, but she's very conscious of where she is and how many people are wondering who the heck she is.

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West Wing




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