West Wing
The Red Mass

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The Fortune-Cookie Candidacy

Previously on The West Wing: POTUS lawyered up; Josh learned about Amy's study of balloon-animal-making; Leo convinced Jed they have to off Shareef.

Stackhouse, Amy, and a woman named Susan (Hey! It's Mad About You's Debbie Buchman!) appear to be coming out of another meeting at which there seems to have been some to-do. It hardly matters, since of these three, one we'll probably never see again, another we'll mostly hear about, and then there's Amy (anybody's guess). Susan and Amy seem to be at odds over strategy. Susan apologizes; Stackhouse -- who looks different than I remember; thinner, maybe, and younger somehow -- asks Amy if she accepts. Amy says that the apology was for him. Susan says that's right, and tells Amy, "Look, I believe in this particular case, on this particular point, you're the servant of two masters." Amy: "And as sexy as that possibility sounds, it's just not true, Susan." Susan is referring to Amy's relationship with Josh Lyman -- and C.J., and FLOTUS, and POTUS. And Howard? That's one seriously kinky arrangement. Whatever floats your boat down the Potomac, I suppose. Stackhouse wants to return to the issue: "I'm going out of my mind with you two!" Aw, wimmen! Sheesh.

Everyone sits down. Susan wants Stackhouse to call for federal funding of needle exchange in the five cities with the highest incidence of AIDS: "[Writchie] is giving you a perfect opening." This is apparently happening at the AMA, and Writchie's sent a copy of his text in advance. Stackhouse wants to know what Writchie's going to say. Susan reads, "'We ought to begin and end with abstinence.'" Yeah, because that's been working out really well. She continues, "'We ought to begin and end with personal responsibility.'" Things are especially good on that front, too. "'I'm appalled by inner-city programs that hand out clean needles to junkies and dope-doers in the name of AIDS prevention. And I will fight for a national law to end them.'" Maybe that moron Writchie would like to spend a few years working in an AIDS hospice, like some of us have, before he shoots his mouth off about things like that. Or actually talk to people involved in needle-exchange programs. Such programs are not perfect, but they're better than the alternative in more ways than one. I know he's just a straw man TV character but man, what a dumb shit. Stackhouse wants Amy's opinion. She says they're baiting the hook, which is why Writchie's people sent the text at all. Stackhouse: "But didn't I get in it to talk about things like this? Why not take the bait?" Amy explains that the bait is for Bartlet: Writchie wants Stackhouse to respond so that POTUS has to. Susan's annoyed; she thought the goal was to talk about issues that aren't being discussed, "not run pass blocking for the President!" Stackhouse thinks Susan has a point. He sees an opportunity to get into a debate: "If it was just me, nobody would be listening." Susan tells Amy, somewhat snottily, "I don't know why you think the Committee to Re-Elect needs us to protect them. And if Writchie's strategy is what you say it is, won't Josh Lyman figure that out in five minutes?" Amy says that Donna will figure it out in five minutes; Josh in half that time. Well, I guess now we know she thinks Josh is exactly twice as sharp as Donna. I think on several fronts that's debatable. Stackhouse: "Really?" Amy says it might take a little longer because the Mets lost last night and Josh will need to focus. Oh, goody! Sports!

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