West Wing
The Indians In The Lobby

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The Butterball Hotline

Jed calls Toby into his office. "You polled where I should have Thanksgiving?" Toby says he saw that question, and in answer to Jed's questions, indicates that it was okay with him because it was okay with Joey Lucas. Jed, arms crossed, asks, "You think people should care where I have Thanksgiving?" Toby: "I know I don't give a damn." Jed relents, saying, "All right, it doesn't matter. I straightened it out with Bruno. It has a lot to do with kelp." Toby's confused, not unlike many of us.

Before Jed can explain any further, the Butterball Hotline Lady (hereafter known as BHL) is on the speakerphone. As Jed scurries over to his desk, Toby's all, "What the hell is..." BHL wants to know how she can help. Jed first congratulates her on providing this wonderful service. She asks his name. He replies, "I'm a citizen." She says that she's sure he is, but if she has his name, she can add his comments to their customer feedback. He announces, "I'm Joe Betherson...ton." Okay, that made me laugh out loud. (For the first time in this episode, for the record.) Jed adds, "That's one T, and with an H in there." I guess I don't need to point out there are two Ts in that "name." BHL asks his address. Jed says, "Fargo." Toby, thinking much faster than POTUS, picks up the other phone and asks Charlie for the zip code for Fargo, ND: "Right now." Meanwhile, Jed's giving BHL his street address slowly and hesitantly, making it up as he goes along: "My street address is 11454 Pruder Street." Stalling for time, he tells her to be sure to include "Street" so it will not get confused with Pruder Lane or Pruder Way. ["This is my PSA for anyone ever making up a fake address -- say, if you need to sign up for an online service but don't want to give your real coordinates. (Not that I condone lying, of course.) Washington Street. Every city has a Washington Street. If you're in Canada: Queen Street." -- Wing Chun] Jed adds, as Charlie hustles into the office in the nick of time, "It's Apartment 23R..." and he drags out the R: "Aaaarrrr." Charlie hands Jed the paper and Jed reads it: "Zip code 50504." According to someone in the forums, this isn't actually a valid zip code any longer...then again, I'll bet there's no Pruder Street, either. BHL says that Jed's voice sounds extremely familiar. Jed explains, "I do radio commercials for...products." Toby glances at Charlie, who's seen too much weirdness to find this at all abnormal.

BHL wants to know how she can help. Jed begins, "Stuffing should be stuffed inside a turkey, am I correct?" BHL says it can also be baked in a casserole dish. Jed thinks it would have to be called something else in that event. He asks, "If I cook it inside the turkey, is there a chance I could kill my guests? I'm not saying that's necessarily a deal-breaker." She explains that there are some concerns, and that the two main bacterial problems are Salmonella and Campylobacter jejuna. Jed affably says, "All right. Well, first of all, I think you made the second bacteria up. And second of all, how do I avoid it?" BHL tells him to make sure all the ingredients are cooked first: sauté vegetables, fry any sausage or oysters, etc. He says, "Excellent! Let's talk temperature." BHL: "One hundred sixty-five degrees." Jed says, "Noooo. See, I was testing you: The USDA calls for turkeys to be cooked to an internal temperature of 180-185°." BHL was talking about the stuffing. Burn! (Or, perhaps not.) Jed says, "Okay, good testing!" BHL asks if he has an accurate thermometer. He assures her he does: "It was presented to me as a gift from the personal sous chef to the King of..." Toby waves at him to remind him to be Joe Bethersonton. Jed weakly concludes, "...auto sales in..." He gropes. Toby whispers, "Fargo." Jed says, "...Fargo. Phil Baharnd...the man can sell a car like...well, like anything." BHL wishes him a good Thanksgiving, Jed does likewise for her, and he hangs up the phone. Jed tells Toby and Charlie: "That was excellent! We should do that once a week." I amuse myself by imagining that they really called the Butterball Hotline and did that in one take without explaining it to the BHL. Then I think of all the other hotlines they could call. It could be a regular segment: "Yo! POTUS Pranks." Toby asks the question in all our minds: "'Phil Baharnd'?" Jed admits that he has to get better at the names. Charlie asks whether Jed is ready to start the weekend. Jed says there's one last thing: "Today, we find the traitor in my family." He grabs his briefcase and instructs Charlie, "I know the First Lady doesn't like to schlep, but would you please tell her to meet me in the Residence?" He leaves without saying "Happy Thanksgiving" to Toby, which makes me kind of sad; even BHL got that much. Time for commercials.

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