The West Wing: Six Meetings Before Lunch   Rewatch 
August 29, 2014 5:17 AM - Season 1, Episode 18 - Subscribe

The President's daughter is questioned by a writer about a party she attended; Josh discusses monetary reparations for descendants of slaves.

When Zoey attends a college fraternity party in which one of her friends is busted for using illegal drugs, C.J. struggles to keep the embarrassing story out of the press while the White House staff celebrates the confirmation of their nominee, Judge Mendoza, for the Supreme Court. An uncomfortable Josh is assigned to talk with the administration's controversial nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights who advocates that African-Americans receive financial reparations for slavery. Elsewhere, Sam crosses swords with Mallory over the issue of private school vouchers while Mandy lobbies to secure two new pandas for the National Zoo.

Airdate: April 5, 2000
Director: Clark Johnson
Writer: Sorkin
Yeah Count: 54
Number of times Mandy is forced to talk about a fucking PANDA BEAR: 36
posted by ApathyGirl (10 comments total)
"I had done some impromptu lip-synching in my trailer that Aaron happened to be privy to," says [Allison] Janney, "and he wrote that into an episode. I'm kind of shy, but the more he gets to know me, the more I see familiar things in my character."

From an excellent interview with Allison Janney.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:58 PM on August 29, 2014

Sorkin, who is white, also admits he was surprised by the hate mail that came after he arranged an impromptu "walk and talk" scene last season in which Zoey and Charlie kissed. Developed on the fly to add 45 seconds to an episode, the scene draw a few ugly letters that turned the executive producer's head.
"Frankly, the most surprising thing . . . is that these people were watching our show and not WWF Smackdown!," he said, scorn rising in his voice. "In my world, such ([interracial] romances) are not particularly noteworthy. Having said that, I created an extreme case to remind us that it's not completely irrelevant."
posted by ApathyGirl at 2:01 PM on August 29, 2014

I was watching this and the subsequent episode this evening (still on Amazon Prime here in the UK, proxy users) and thinking about Margaret, because she seems oddly ditzy here about the email, but in the next episode, her stilted manner and recall of facts made me review my thoughts and think of them as more as Asperger's-like traits.
posted by ambrosen at 5:03 PM on August 29, 2014

It's Toby's Day of Jubilee!
posted by wabbittwax at 6:53 PM on August 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Was in the midst of watching this, and got interrupted. A few points:

* There's a romantic theme running through here. Look at the Sam/Mallory interactions and the Danny/CJ interactions. The theme is about work vs romance. Danny wants to have the personal intrude on the professional because he was nice in the latter. Sam doesn't tell Mallory until the end that he was just doing his job. It's a nice contrast, and a good chance for Sorkin to draw distinctions in romantic styles.

* This is the first we hear of Josh's father dying on the night of the Illinois primary. We will see it again in Shadow of Two Gunmen. Also, a nice character beat on the fact that Josh doesn't the date, but the events around the date.

* I don't like The Jackal. You might have been willing to favorite this comment until that point, I know. But it's in that whole area of white people doing black things and isn't it adorable how stiff they are, and I just hate that. Hate it.

* Merry Toby is a delight in small doses.
posted by aureliobuendia at 6:10 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I enjoy how the first season foreshadows so many things that we later learn about in In The Shadow of Two Gunmen.
posted by dry white toast at 10:53 PM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ok, just finished watching this: a few more terrific bits:

* When the President is reading to Charlie from George Washington's manual of manners, there's a cut to Charlie where he is just barely putting up with this shit. And a cut again after the President says Washington's a tight-assed priss, where Charlie says "I can sympathize". Dulé Hill is the man.

* Gina and CJ have a Bechdel-test passing conversation

* When Josh and Breckenridge are arguing about reparations and Josh Godwins the conversation, there's an explicit slow pan to a black-and-white photo... I assume we should think these are Josh's grandparents? I want to freeze-frame that whole wall.

* Carl Lumbly! Doing a terrific job!
posted by aureliobuendia at 9:39 AM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Dulé Hill is the man.

CJ comes right in after that and yells at the President of the United States in the Oval Office. Alison Janney is the man.

(and kudos to Sorkin for not giving her a pat on the head for it)
posted by Etrigan at 12:43 PM on September 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Allison, who just won TWO EMMYS.

She's my hero.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:35 PM on September 2, 2014

Coming back to this late, but:

CJ comes right in after that and yells at the President of the United States in the Oval Office. Alison Janney is the man.

Of this, there was never, ever, any doubt. She was long overdue when she got her first Emmy. I'm glad she's been recognized with two more.

That said, just to put things in perspective, Mr. Hill was 24, and enjoying his first recurring role. And he absolutely steals that scene from the President, with just a look. Janney's scene is fire and brimstone and done well without scenery-chewing, to be sure. But Hill actually added something to a thing that was probably pretty quiet on the page.

Anyway, they're both great.
posted by aureliobuendia at 12:30 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

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