The West Wing: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics   Rewatch 
September 10, 2014 10:03 AM - Season 1, Episode 21 - Subscribe

While the staff awaits the results of a poll on the President's popularity, Joey Lucas and Josh don't see eye-to-eye on an issue, and Sam's friend graduates from law school.

While President Bartlet and his staff nervously await the results of a poll to determine his favorability rating, he begins a heady transfer of ambassadors and members of the Federal Election Commission designed to kickstart campaign finance reform and defuse an embarrassing incident overseas. Specifically, wheeler-dealer Bartlet recalls the married ambassador to Bulgaria who is discovered to be romancing the daughter of the country's Prime Minister, but faces another crisis at home when Sam is photographed by a newspaper giving a graduation gift to known call girl. Meanwhile, C.J. anxiously paces the White House corridors and wonders if she is being marginalized by Leo for past mistakes. In addition, Josh clashes with opinionated pollster Joey.

Airdate: May 10, 2000
Director: Don Scardino
Writer: Sorkin
Yeah Count: 36, a record low!
Number of times Mandy speaks: 3
posted by ApathyGirl (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"The day after I won the first Emmy was one of my favorite days professionally and psychologically. Most actors are self-deprecating. We think someone will discover 'I'm not talented.' So psychologically, having that Emmy that day was a release. And I now permanently have a title: 'Four-time Emmy winner Allison Janney.' Hopefully, when this run (on "West Wing") is over, that will get me some respect as well as my next job. There are also jokes to be had from the Emmy. When you're on the set and the director is giving you notes, you can pull it out and say, 'Excuse me?"' - Allison Janney

"Waxing About the Award's Impact"
by Lee Alan Hill
May 2, 2005
Television Week

posted by ApathyGirl at 10:07 AM on September 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

Not completely irrelevantly, that Allison Janney quote about winning Emmy Awards reminds me of Isaac on Sports Night (which we should probably do a rewatch for as well):
Isaac Jaffe: I won the Pulitzer Prize, Jeremy.
Jeremy Goodwin: Oh, it's a real honor, sir.
Isaac Jaffe: No, I meant it's one of the many objects in the room that I could grab and shove up - .
Jeremy Goodwin: Got it.
More relevantly, I've always enjoyed, but cringed a little at the whole ambassador exchange thing. Do ambassadors ever actually get moved up like that in some sort of weird reshuffle?
posted by zachlipton at 11:40 PM on September 10, 2014

Oh nevermind that last bit. After looking at the transcript again, I see I misunderstood. The FEC commissioner gets moved up to ambassador, not ambassadors being reshuffled. That makes more sense.
posted by zachlipton at 11:51 PM on September 10, 2014

Well, they promoted the FEC guy to ambassador through a chain of ambassador promotions and the forced resignation of an ambassador who was screwing up. It was FEC Guy appointed to Ambassador to Micronesia who got promoted to Ambassador of Paraguay who got promoted to Ambassdor of Bulgaria to replace the guy what was screwing the Bulgarian Prime Minister's daughter.


[This] show, for example, where they fired an ambassador to make room for somebody else they wanted to move into that slot so they could hire somebody else in a third position, that happens often. I've been a part of those kinds of things myself, but it never happens in the White House. The president never does the dirty work himself, and the public never hears about it. But the show was able to dramatize that.
They had the president fire an ambassador and then hire a person off the Federal Election Commission to be the ambassador, so they could get an open slot on the Elections Commission for somebody else they wanted. Well, the president wouldn't get involved in that in reality. He would make the decisions to do it, but no one would ever see it. But it's exactly how the White House works. I think that's the great value of this show. It shows how the presidency works.
For example, if a president of another country calls up our State Department and says, "I don't like your ambassador. The guy just rubs me the wrong way," well, they'll find a way to get rid of him, but he's not going to be fired. It's not going to be a scene where anybody will ever know, the press and the public will never know, but that guy will suddenly be given another post, and we'll get a new ambassador. That happens quite a bit.
- Marlin Fitzwater

"Popular Politics"
by Terence Smith
September 8, 2000
Online NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

posted by ApathyGirl at 12:50 AM on September 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

One of my favorites of Season one, from Josh's usual Tuesday suit to C.J. serenely, beautifully swatting back 21 episodes worth of disrespect at the end.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:08 AM on September 12, 2014

The ambassador to Bulgaria was such a total asshole that it made me happy to watch Bartlet's completely unapologetic and offhand dismissal of him. I got the feeling that Bartlet liked the guy's wife but couldn't stand him, and that was before the guy was a prick to Charlie.
posted by orange swan at 9:11 PM on October 1, 2017

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