West Wing
The Black Vera Wang

Episode Report Card
Shack: B | 1 USERS: A+
Never Look a Gift Moose in the Mouth

We return from commercials to the start of a brand-new day. Josh and Donna arrive from separate hallways and greet each other. They banter playfully about how much Donna missed Josh. Just kiss already. She asks whether he brought her back a present. He did. It's sitting on his desk. She walks in to see a wooden box, about the size of a small suitcase, on his desk. She expresses gratitude that he didn't get her anything moose-related, then asks what's inside. It's moose, of course. He says it's "sauna-smoked moose meat," which sounds like a fancy way of saying that it's a case of moose-flavored Slim Jims. Josh blathers on about the quality of the box to draw attention away from the fact that it's full of dried Bullwinkle. Actually, it turns out later that it's moose sausage, but calling it "moose jerky" is funnier because of the "j" and "k," so we'll just pretend. Donna is at least polite enough not to say anything mean, though she looks at the box with distaste. Josh asks her where he's supposed to be right now, so she sends him off to a meeting in the basement.

In the basement office, C.J., Toby, and Sam are watching the attack ad with Bruno. Long time, no see, Bruno. What's with the hair? Have you been working as a televangelist in your spare time? Bruno says, "If I wanted to sink the Bartlet campaign, this is exactly the ad I'd run." Really? I think there are quite a few problems with it. First is the obvious irony of running an attack ad accusing Bartlet of refusing to sign a clean campaign pledge. And if this is an ad alluding to Bartlet's MS, as Bruno claims it is, then why is it accusing Bartlet of breaking promises? Did he promise not to get a disease? You'd think they'd be more direct about pointing out Bartlet's deception and questioning his fitness to lead. Well, I'm no political operative, so fine. Toby asks whether they'll be running the ad in May. Bruno suggests that perhaps the GOP has sent them the ad to warn them all what will run if they attack Ritchie. He says that every campaign has an advertisement like that in reserve if they need it. C.J. says that they didn't when Bartlet ran for president, but Sam and Toby both blurt out together that they actually did.

Josh arrives at the meeting as Toby asks whether they should make up a counter-ad. Bruno says he'll take care of that. Josh has already seen the ad, and says he's going to talk to counsel about it. Bruno questions whether getting the FBI involved is a good idea. Josh explains that if the tape was obtained illegally, he doesn't want Sam getting in trouble by extension. After some discussion, Sam says that perhaps it's not a good idea to go to law enforcement. He's afraid that it would end up looking like the administration is asking the FBI to investigate Ritchie. Everyone agrees. Bruno suggests sticking it in a drawer and forgetting it. Sam doesn't want to do that, either. He suggests going to one Kevin Kahn. Everybody immediately dismisses the idea. Sam insists that Kevin is a friend. Bruno says he doesn't care if Kevin "did [Sam's] bris" -- he doesn't trust Kevin, and he doesn't know exactly what's going on yet. Sam doesn't see where there's any danger. He says he can tell Kevin that if the GOP sent the ad to them on purpose, then Sam can tell them that they've got their own attack ad prepared. If it turns out that it was a genuine leak, he can warn the Republicans and tell them that they don't want to have anything to do with it. Sam doesn't see how this could end badly. Bruno responds, "There are only two things here. Either somebody's trying to hurt us, or somebody's trying to help us. Just so you know." Well, that illuminates nothing. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that he's saying that if somebody's trying to help them, then they should just keep this information to themselves and not make any waves. If somebody's trying to hurt them, then whoever is responsible is already prepared to take advantage of however the administration responds. That seems to make the most sense. In retrospect, of course. It meant nothing the first time I watched the episode. Sam asks Bruno to talk to Leo, and Bruno agrees. Toby has to run off to some other meeting. Bruno tells him to "apologize for the skyboxes." Toby insists that they weren't that bad, but Bruno disagrees. As Toby's leaving, Bruno banters with C.J. about Helsinki. C.J. says she accidentally ate a moose. Bruno's expression says, "How exactly does one accidentally eat a moose?" as he turns his attentions back to the attack ad.

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West Wing




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