Episode Report Card1 USERS: A+
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We hear Christmas music ("God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen") and see a shot of a party going on through one of the windows of the White House. Some guy is telling POTUS, "Mr. President, militant women are out to destroy college football in this country." I know that's my #1 priority. Shepherd says in a polite but non-committal way, "Is that a fact?" The paranoid male chauvinist pig yammers on, "Yes, sir. Have you been following this situation down in Atlanta? These women want parity for girls' softball, volleyball, field hockey..." Ye gads. Alert FEMA. POTUS: "If I'm not mistaken, Gil, I think the courts ruled on Title IX about twenty years ago." Gil: "Yes, sir, but what I'm saying now is that these women want that law enforced." POTUS declares, "It's a world gone mad, Gil." He sees an opportunity to foist Gil off on A.J. and makes his escape. Around a big tureen of egg nog, Leon tells Robin and Lewis, "You see, the country has mood swings." Lewis: "Mood swings? Nineteen post-graduate degrees in mathematics and your best explanation for going from a 63 to a 46% approval rating in five weeks is mood swings?" Leon says, "Well, I could explain it better, but I'd need charts and graphs and an easel." Robin suggests, "Fellas, we haven't slept in three years. Can't we forget work for one night and take this moment to enjoy each other as friends? It's Christmas." Lewis, deadpan: "It's Christmas?" Leon: "Yeah. You didn't get the memo?" Sydney arrives at the party and is greeted by Esther and A.J. She explains that she got stuck in traffic and got cut off by some idiot taxi driver. Andy wanders up, asking, "Did you get stuck on Dupont Circle again?' Everyone laughs. Sydney: "It's not funny. I hate that place. Can't you declare it a Federal Disaster Area or something?" He promises to look into it. She says she had a terrible meeting with McSorley, McCluskey, and Shane. "I totally lost my cool." She pitched them the bill. A.J.: "On its merits?" Shepherd, proudly: "The woman has no fear. She'd lobby the Carolinas to the American Lung Association." She's oblivious to the praise, saying, "It was a disaster." A.J. says that they told him a week ago that there was nothing on the President's domestic agenda they were more committed to defeating than the crime bill. Sydney responds, "Well, congratulations, fellas, you're outta the cellar. McSorley told me the only thing on the President's domestic agenda that they were more committed to defeating than the crime bill was the fossil fuel package." POTUS and A.J. seem surprised; A.J. asks, "You're kidding, aren't you?" He's got a fake smile plastered on his face. She says she's not kidding: "It's funny that he used the same words." Shepherd, distractedly: "Yeah, the Pep Boys don't know too many words." Sydney says she's going to get a drink and come back with some Christmas spirit. Sydney notices that Shepherd's mind seems to be elsewhere, and asks whether he's okay. He shrugs it off, and she goes with Esther to get a drink. A.J. quietly asks, "Did what I think just happened just happen? Did the GDC's political director just tell the President and the White House Chief of Staff that there are three votes on the crime bill that can be bought by sticking the fossil fuel package in a drawer?" Shepherd replies, "No, the GDC's political director didn't tell us anything. Sydney Wade told her boyfriend and her boyfriend's best friend that she had a lousy day." A.J. insists, "It doesn't change the facts, Mr. President. If Sydney gets her twenty-four votes and we're three short, there's some manoeuvering to be done." Shepherd says he made a promise. A.J. says he made a deal. (This is all sounding very familiar.) Shepherd says he made the deal with Sydney; A.J. argues that he made it with the GDC. POTUS says, "Yeah, well, this is all academic anyway. We're not going to need those three votes." A.J. warns, "If your approval rating continues to drop, things are gonna get tight."