West Wing
The Indians In The Lobby

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The Butterball Hotline

Abby arrives in the First Bedroom, where Jed is waiting for her, reading Poultry Fixings for the Presidential Soul. She's still in her wheelchair. A Secret Service guy is pushing the wheelchair. Abby says, "You summoned me?" Jed says he's sorry about that, and that he's also sorry about the fact that they're going to have to change plans. He tells her that they're going to have dinner at the White House, and that he's got Charlie calling everyone. I'll bet René will be real jazzed about that. Jed explains that he's seen some staggering polling information indicating that people are looking for steadiness, a father figure, and that they like it when he's in the White House. Abby asks, "You can't be a father figure at Camp David?" Jed guesses not. Abby says, "This is ridiculous. You can't change plans on people on the eleventh hour." Jed says it's no problem. Abby insists that it is, because when he's in the White House, all kinds of employees have to be there, and now they can't go home. Jed, blasé: "It's their job!" Abby: "It's Thanksgiving!" Jed says he's got polling numbers. Abby says, "Which say Camp David is fine." He slams his book shut with a boom, tears his glasses off, sits up, and cries, "J'accuse!" Abby: "Oh, brother." Jed: "J'accuse, mon petit fromage!" As he stands up, Abby says, "You speak four languages: how come none of them is French?" He insists that nothing's wrong with his French. Abby: "You just called me your 'little cheese!'" Jed defensively says, "That's right!" Abby says, "They came to me. They said, 'What do you think about having Thanksgiving at Camp David instead of New Hampshire?' They told me why. I said, 'Fine.'" Jed asks what part she's leaving out now. Abby: "The part where I lied to you." Jed: "Yes!" He hisses the "S." Abby says, "Yes, I do that sometimes. Sometimes I don't want to go fifteen rounds on Bess Truman and what constitutes a farm! On your behalf, I have responded to polling information telling me what I should wear, and what I should say, to say nothing of the fact that I have been subpoenaed to answer questions before Congress on how I secretly kept you alive! So explain to me now how what I did was out of line." Jed gently says, "You know what? It was." Abby says, "I know." How is it that her transgressions always seems to come off worse than his? Jed sits down next to her. He mentions that the ingredients for stuffing have to be cooked before they're put in the turkey: "And you're not gonna know whether I did or not." Abby responds, "I'll do what I always do with anything you cook. I'll wait for the girls to eat it first." Jed says, "Me too." Neither of them are quite smiling, but at least they don't look annoyed with each other.

C.J. comes out to speak with Maggie and Jack. She pauses by the doorway, watching them. They are still standing in much the same place they have been all day. I think I would have had to sit down by now, myself. C.J. looks kind of unhappy. When she walks up in front of them, it turns out Jack has actually fallen asleep on his feet. He sways ever so slightly. Suddenly, C.J. starts with a pop quiz: "How many treaties have we signed with the Munsee Indians?" Jack's eyes open a bit. Maggie: "Six:" C.J.: "How many have we revoked?" Maggie: "Six." C.J.: "What were the Munsees doing in 1778?" Maggie: "Fighting in George Washington's army." C.J.: "And why aren't you in New York anymore?" Maggie: "'Cause you marched us to Wisconsin." C.J.: "And whose land was it in the first place?" Maggie: "Ours." I can't for the life of me figure out the point of C.J. quizzing Maggie on this other than to educate the audience to the sad facts, but if that the's point of the exchange, it's not a very elegant or creative way to get the information across. C.J. says that she's going to have the Park Police escort them from the building, and since that will take a few minutes, they can make whatever calls they need to make, or they can accept her offer to come back to her office to make an appointment for Monday, and the White House will cover their expenses. Jack's fully awake now. Maggie looks at him while he gazes at C.J. He finally says, "Okay." C.J., not sure which option he's accepting, asks, "Okay...what?" He says, "Okay...ma'am." He gives a small, wry smile. This line makes me unspeakably sad. If you watch Allison Janney closely here, she reacts to this unasked-for display of deference by wincing in a barely perceptible way. It's the most subtle thing in the whole episode by a country mile. C.J. clarifies, "No, 'okay,' you're..." Maggie says they'll come back to the office. C.J. asks, "How do you keep fighting these smaller injustices when they're all from the mother of injustices?" Maggie responds quite sincerely, "What's the alternative?" What, indeed?

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