Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fourteen Days of The West Wing - Day 8 (well it should have been)

Having take a look at most of the major characters (there were quite a few I skipped but...) I thought I'd spend the last seven days of this looking at what I think may be high points from each season. In this first excerpt from Season 1's He Shall From Time To Time, President Bartlet is leaving for his State of The Union Address and is talking to Agriculture Secretary Roger Tribby (played by the amazingly versatile Harry Groener who had just come from playing Mayor Wilkins in the third season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer). It is a scene in which we not only see the loyalty that Bartlet gets from people near him but is used to both explain the Bartlet-McGarry relationship and to express Bartlet's full trust and support of his Chief Of Staff.

Bartlet: Roger.
Tribby: Good evening, Mr. President.
Bartlet: Roger, I'm sorry you drew the short straw on this. We'll miss you tonight. Next year, it'll be the surgeon general, I promise. Meanwhile, you can watch TV at my study.
Tribby: Thank you, sir. Um, I brought you a gift.
Bartlet: Oh, thank you.
Tribby: I know of your love of all things ancient, and I came across this.
Bartlet: What is it?
Tribby: Someone took the time to translate the Constitution into Latin. I think it was a high school project, actually, and uh, it got published.
Bartlet: This is magnificent.
Tribby: I highlighted what I thought was an appropriate passage from the executive power section. Can you translate?
Bartlet: 'He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information on the state of the union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.'
Tribby: Sounds right up your alley, sir.
Bartlet: Thank you, Roger.
Tribby: Knock 'em dead, sir.
Bartlet: Oh, Roger, if anything happened, you know what to do, right?
Tribby: I honestly hadn't thought about it sir.
Bartlet: First thing always is national security. Get your commanders together. Appoint joint chiefs. Appoint chairman. Take them to Defcon 4. Have the governor send emergency delegates to Washington. The assistant attorney general is gonna be the acting A.G. If he tells you he wants to bring out the National Guard, do what he tells you.
Bartlet: You have a best friend?
Tribby: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: Is he smarter than you?
Tribby: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: Would you trust him with your life?
Tribby: Yes, sir.
Bartlet: That's your chief of staff.
Bartlet: Oh, in the residence, in the second floor, the bathroom at the end of the hall. You have to jiggle the handle a little.
Charlie Mr. President?
Bartlet: I got to go. You'll do fine. People have phenomenal capacity.
Tribby: Yes, sir.

As a bonus I thought I'd include the scene from In Excelsis Deo in which Mrs. Landingham (the marvelous Kathryn Joosten) explains to Charlie why she seems down at Christmas.

Mrs. Landingham: Yeah, I know Charlie. I tend to get a little down during he holidays.
Charlie: You don't like Christmas?
Mrs. Landingham I miss my boys.
Charlie: I never knew you had kids.
Mrs. Landingham: Twins. Andrew and Simon. I tried not, you know, I dressed them differently, but they still did everything together. They went off to medical school together, and then they finished their second year at the same time, and of course their lottery number came up at the same time.
Charlie: For the draft?
Mrs. Landingham: Yeah.
Charlie: Well I would have thought they could get a deferment to finish med school.
Mrs. Landingham: They didn't want one. Their father and I begged them, but they wanted to go where people needed doctors. Their father and I begged them, but you can't tell kids anything. So they joined up as medics and four months later hey were pinned down during a fight in DaNang and were killed by enemy fire. That was Christmas Eve 1970. You know, they were so young, Charlie, they were your age. It's hard when that happens so far away, you know because, with the noises and the shooting, they had to be so scared. It's hard not to think that right then they needed their mother... Anyway, I miss my boys.

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