West Wing
The Short List

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The Short List

C.J. is still pacing around outside, waiting for the President to come out, when Danny wanders up and offers her his gloves. C.J. refuses. Danny asks her what she supposes they (Bartlet and Crouch) are talking about in there. C.J. replies that the President and Justice Crouch are old friends; Danny counters that they can't stand each other. C.J. points out that Crouch is retiring and that it's a courtesy call, and asks yet again what Danny wants from her, which of course, is dinner and a movie. C.J. declines. Danny asks her whether Crouch is pissed because the President already settled on Harrison. With a touch of "don't make me come up there" in her voice, C.J. starts, "Danny..." He leaps up and says, "I did it again!" and C.J. agrees. He then asks, "But you know what you did? You outfoxed me." C.J. tells Danny he's killing her and at that moment, a woman on a cell phone breezes by them and says, "Here we go." Danny takes off in the direction that cell phone woman is heading and C.J. takes off up the steps.

Josh's office. He and Donna are staring up at his ceiling. Josh says, "That was inches from my head." Donna and Josh dispute for a minute about whether or not the ceiling cracked open inches from his head. She points out he's fine, but Josh mutters, "Yeah, but...there but for the grace of God, you know what I'm saying?" Donna acknowledges his point. He then proceeds to inform her that he really thinks that if big chunks of the ceiling are going to come down on anyone, "it should be you." (I daresay some viewers probably agree.) ["I know I do, because...damn." -- Wing Chun] Donna's not surprised and tells him so. Josh then says that he wants her to test his office before he comes in every morning. Before she can lob any witticisms in his direction, Mandy arrives and Donna exits, reminding Josh of the meeting he has in ten minutes. Josh asks Mandy if she "see[s] this" indicating the ceiling. Mandy, who couldn't care less, says "yeah." Josh is back on "inches from my head" but Mandy wants information. "Why is Lillienfield holding a press conference?" ["Without the benefit of closed captions, I thought she was saying 'Lillian Fields.'" -- Wing Chun] Josh shrugs, "Who cares?" Mandy does and asks the question again. Josh says he doesn't know and Mandy asks if Lillienfield is unhappy about something. Josh glibly states that "he's always unhappy about something," and then bellows pretty loudly to Donna, "Where's my East Asia memo?" From outside his office we can hear Donna reply, "It's right here." Mandy tells Josh, "It starts in two minutes." Josh, thoroughly uninterested in Mandy's concerns, asks, "What starts in two minutes?" The press conference, Josh. Suddenly he's bellowing again, "That's okay, Donna, I'll just come and get it myself!" as he heads out of his office. As he reaches the door, we can hear Donna calling again, "Keep your pants on, Joshua, I'm on my way." At least it sounds like she calls him Joshua, which for some reason strikes me as amusing. Woo, Donna made me laugh again. Josh, who was probably pretty happy to go get the memo if it got him away from Mandy, wanders back toward his desk. Mandy tells Josh that she's just saying they don't need any surprises today. Josh assures her that there aren't going to be any surprises. Mandy says that she's putting on a show and she doesn't want to get upstaged, which Josh insists will not happen. Mandy takes off just as Donna comes in with Josh's memo. Except she's holding the memo out in front of her with her arm at a strangely high and awkward angle, and walking in an odd way too; the combination of which vaguely reminds me of Carol Burnett's Mrs. Wiggins character. I have no idea what that's about but it sure is weird, although not exactly "Department of Silly Walks" weird. Josh thanks her for the memo and tells her that she should be nice to him, -- that he could be dead. Donna smiles and replies that she doesn't have that kind of luck and disappears, walking normally again.

Sam arrives in Toby's office. Toby gives Sam his task: "I would like you to play up that as a lifelong Democrat he clerked for a Republican and I would like you to play down that he has never written a judicial opinion on abortion or revealed his thinking on Roe." (For those of you who are young, uninformed, or not American, the legal reference is to Roe v. Wade, the case which established the right to abortion in the United States.) Sam responds that he's already doing just that and Toby thanks him. Sam's attention is grabbed by the image on the TV in Toby's office: "What's this?" It's Lillienfield's conference. Toby dismisses it as the completely uninteresting complaints of Lillienfield. Sam goes back to his office and Toby's got his head back in his work. On TV Lillienfield is complaining about the quality of current White House staffers, which claims a fragment of Toby's attention. Lillienfield basically disses them as "Ivy League liberals" and "Hollywood darlings" which Toby's no doubt heard before, so he's unmoved. But then Lillienfield goes on to claim that one in three White House staffers has used drugs on a regular basis. He makes a point of saying he's not talking about aspirin or decongestants. Toby's hand is instantly on the phone dialing an internal extension and he mutters, "Get her." The next shot is C.J.'s secretary knocking and opening the door at the same time, revealing C.J. still standing in her coat, watching one of her four televisions. Without even looking up, she says, "Tell him I'm watching." On screen, Lillienfield is still blathering on and you can just about hear C.J.'s stomach acid burbling. ["Not coincidentally, I'm sure, the little Lillienfield on the TV looks a lot like Newt Gingrich." -- Wing Chun]

In a hallway, C.J. and Leo are walking and talking. Leo is incredulous: "'One in three'? He said one in three White House staffers were on drugs? Where does he gets these stats? I mean, where does he pull them from?" C.J. responds, "Out of the clear blue sky, but that doesn't matter." As they arrive at his office, Leo asks Margaret whether someone is getting him a tape of the press conference, and Margaret tells him that it's being done. Mandy is waiting in Leo's office and naturally the first words out of her mouth are, "This isn't happening to me!" Yes Mandy, it's all about you. Leo advises her to "stay cool". Sam arrives with a couple of questions: "Is it possible for Peter Lillienfield to be a bigger jackass? Do you think if he tried hard there's room for him to be a slightly bigger horse's ass than he's being right now?" C.J.: "At some point you hit your head on the ceiling, don't you?" Sam counters with, "I think there's unexplored potential." Heh. Josh comes in right after Sam and asks what's up. He states: "Five White House staffers in the room right now. I would like say to the 1.6 of you who are stoned right now that it's time to share." Laughs and smiles from everyone except Mandy, who tells him this isn't funny. Josh chides her, "Mandy, if you can't laugh at this then you're just not having enough fun in show business." Mandy starts to protest but Josh says, "He's a featherweight, Mandy! He's a hairdo." Sam declares that if Lillienfield "put his shoulder into it, he could be a slightly bigger gasbag." Toby strides in: "There was no way you saw this coming?" Leo cautions him, "Toby..." Toby, calmly: "Leo, I know I'm in your office, forgive me." Toby, yelling: "But nobody saw this coming?" C.J. snaps: "Yeah, I can't believe my psychic didn't tell me, Toby. Rest assured I'm going to get my twenty bucks back!" Leo wants to talk about strategies for handling it. Josh says for the short term -- just categorically deny it and move on. Both Mandy and C.J. protest that C.J. can't do that. C.J. lays out the scenario for Josh. Since more than thirteen hundred people work for the White House, it's not exactly impossible that some of them use(d) drugs. Mandy plays along and helps C.J. explain why categorically denying the charges is just not a tenable position. Toby, hands in his pockets and head against the door frame, asks, "Are we done with Masterpiece Theatre?" Leo tells C.J. that the official position for now is that they're looking into it. Josh, disturbed, asks, "We're not actually looking into it, are we?" Leo's dead serious: "Yes." Josh thinks it must be a joke but before Leo can reply Margaret calls him away and he leaves the meeting in Toby's hands.

Cut to the hallway: Toby is walking away going over C.J.'s angles for the briefing: President paid courtesy call to Crouch, short list of nominees, Ed Harrison's on the list, the nominee will be introduced on Thursday at 5:00 PM. With regard to the Lillienfield drug use allegations, she's to allow that she's heard about it but wants to look into it before she comments; they like to keep these things off the President's desk until they measure the credibility of the person causing the stink. Toby sends her off with a "Good girl," which mildly annoys me but because it's Toby I'm gonna let it go. Mandy's yapping at his heels about making sure that Harrison doesn't get bumped

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