acrimonyastraea: Fang from Final Fantasy 13 (Fang)
[personal profile] acrimonyastraea posting in [community profile] thewestwing
"A Proportional Response” (transcript here) has everything we expect in a West Wing episode: Walk and talk, Josh is mean and unprofessional to Donna, CJ rules all, and Bartlet takes the moral high ground after some pompous speeches! On to the recap....

The episode begins with Donna needling Josh for a raise and letting him know he is in big trouble with CJ, who apparently knows that they've been keeping secrets about the accidental prostitute incident. Josh scurries off to hide from CJ in his office. Where he finds CJ with her (glorious) legs up on his desk.

CJ: Wow, are you stupid.

And credits. Which take us... back to the same scene where CJ continues to chew Josh out for not telling her about Sam's accidental prostitute. Then we move to a scene between Bartlett and Leo talking about some guys Bartlett is pissed at. I've never really been able to piece together what this is all about, but it has to do with the attack on the helicopter. Leo thinks that Bartlett is taking it too personally and he's probably right.

Bartlett shouts for Mrs. Landingham because he can't find his glasses. This will be A Thing. And your humble recap-writer realizes she needs to summarize more or this will be as long as the episode.

Staff meeting. They discuss a fellow Democrat who suggests the President wouldn't get out of his district alive and the possibility that there will be a retaliatory strike. After the meeting, Toby sews the seeds of trouble by suggesting to the press that the Democrat is being investigated by the Secret Service.

CJ confronts Sam about the accidental prostitute. CJ reads Sam the riot act act about informing her when he gets into things that could harm the president and Sam insults CJ and things just generally go very badly.

In the war room, the President gets his options presented to him. This is where we get to the title of the episode, with a debate on the merits of proportional response. When we see him later we will find out that he finally decides on the “proportional” response that has been recommended.

And then we finally meet Charlie Young, as he's interviewed by Josh. Charlie thinks he's interviewing for a job as a messenger, and finds out he's being considered for personal aid to the president. And he breaks our heart when he tells Josh his mother was shot in the line of duty and he's now taking care of his little sister. Later, Sam interrupts to bring his personal issues to the interview!

There's stress over how to announce the strike, Sam apologizes to CJ and we find out the press knows about Sam and the accidental prostitute. And then we have Surprise!Mandy in Josh's office! Josh and Mandy banter back and forth in a scene that doesn't seem especially relevant to your humble recap-writer.

Some other stuff, and the missing glasses are mentioned again. No one can find them! No time to get new ones! Charlie picks up on a clue and helps them find the missing glasses, yay! The president is rude to him, boo!

Time for the pompous speech about some obscure bit of history and a debate on the use of force. Bartlett realizes he was a little rude to Charlie, so he comes back to be inspiring and heroic, yay!

Bartlett: Leo McGarry filled me in on the situation with your mother. I'm so very sorry. I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of calling Tom Conley, the FBI director, and we had the computer spit out some information. Your mother was killed Western .38 Revolver firing K.T.W.s, or what are known as 'Cop Killer bullets'. Now we have not had a whole lot of success yet in banning that weapon and those bullets off the streets, but we're planning on taking a big whack at it when Congress comes back from recess. So what do you say, wanna come help us out?

Then Bartlett announces the strike in Syria. And end credits.

Some questions/areas of discussion:
1. What do you think about the way CJ is asserting her authority and struggling for the respect of her coworkers?

2. What do you think about the debate on proportional response strategy? Do you think various points of view were adequately represented? What other points of view weren't discussed? Did you relate to Bartlett, Leo, the Admiral or none of the above?

3. Raise your hand if you love CJ ;)

4. I mentioned that Mandy's scene didn't serve much purpose, in my opinion. What do you think about Mandy's character and how she's used on the show?

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-10 05:20 pm (UTC)
pinkinks: (sam  toby and cj - three hearts)
From: [personal profile] pinkinks
Watching the later. Really don't know how I'm going to get past The Legs....

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-10 06:09 pm (UTC)
yvi: (West Wing - CJ & Donna)
From: [personal profile] yvi
Thank you for doing the recap!

I like this episode except for one thing: Charlie's interview. It feels really pushy, even for Josh, to just say "well, tough luck, we have another job for you, and no, you don't get a choice". Besides, I am still trying to figure out how Sam makes the jump from what Josh asks to "he's asking you whether you are gay". That completely confuses me every time.

Anyway, YAY CJ!

I never really warmed up to Mandy, only even remembered her name after half of the season. I think she is pretty underused and it feels like the writers wanted to have another woman besides CJ on the show, with some connection to Josh, but didn't really know what her job would be. And that shows, especially in comparison to CJ, who has a very clear job and personality from the first season onwards (though I am not a fan of that scene where she and Josh have the shouting match - I usually like it when she shouts ;), but in this scene both Josh and CJ seemed very over-the-top for reasons I can't really put into coherent words). Donna seems to be written much better than Mandy (I am only in mid-season 3, though...).

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-10 07:39 pm (UTC)
pinkinks: (cj)
From: [personal profile] pinkinks
The rather amusing shouty exchange with Josh highlights Josh's immaturity more than anything else imo. Arguably, CJ has the most difficult job next to the POTUS. She has to protect the entire WH as well as Bartlet and is the first one to deal with stuff hitting the fan when things go wrong. No wonder she doesn't like been left out of the loop ;)

The conversation with Sam could have been similar. There was some metaphoric finger wagging from CJ, but it was in a motherly sense as well as a 'Concentrate on your job' thing.

I never saw the point of Mandy. She was never given anything to get her character firmly into the show and doesn't seem particularly liked.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-11 05:40 am (UTC)
paxpinnae: Inara Serra,being more awesome than you. (Default)
From: [personal profile] paxpinnae
1. What do you think about the way CJ is asserting her authority and struggling for the respect of her coworkers?

I think the way CJ's character arc for this season is being handled is incredbily interesting, in ways I totally didn't pay attention to the first time around. I'm very biased, because I just wrote up my recap for Lord John Marbury, where CJ and other people letting her do her job turns into a whole big thing, but she definitely is shown having to work harder within the office to do her job than anyone else. The only thing I dislike about that arc is the way it's gendered. Because CJ's female, it becomes about her being female rather than about everyone else underestimating the effect the press has on their ability to do their jobs, which I think is at least as big a factor.

2. What do you think about the debate on proportional response strategy? Do you think various points of view were adequately represented? What other points of view weren't discussed? Did you relate to Bartlett, Leo, the Admiral or none of the above?

... I'll get back to you on the thinky stuff.

3. Raise your hand if you love CJ ;)

I will not only raise my hand, I will steal hands from dead people.

4. I mentioned that Mandy's scene didn't serve much purpose, in my opinion. What do you think about Mandy's character and how she's used on the show?

I had completely forgotten about the existence of Mandy until the rewatch started, and nothing that's happened with her character since then has changed that. It's annoying, because I want to like her, because I want to like all characters; I just have no reason to. I can't even remember what she's supposed to do on this show, and her plotlines usually feel tacked-on. She's a weak character, especially because I can't help comparing her to Ainsley Hayes or Joey Lucas, who have similar types of character interaction but much more interesting personalities.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-13 05:29 pm (UTC)
sibyllevance: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sibyllevance
God that was such a good episode! And this is when I fell in love with the show. I watched the first two, considered giving up and then there was A Proportional Response. What Charlie and Josh said at the end described my feelings completely 'I’ve never felt like this before.' 'It doesn't go away'.

CJ/Toby had a great moment together when she realized he'd fed stuff to the press. Josh's attack on her is just so uncomfortable for me. First Sam in the second episode with Laurie now Josh 'you paranoid Berkeley shiksta feminista!' - is he for real?

Leo's point of view was the best, in my opinion. You can't have a disproportional response, it would be chaos. When you have power you have to be made aware of this power and use it soundly.

I'm so glad I'm rewatching these by the way, it's such a great show <3

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