yvi: (West Wing - CJ & Donna)
[personal profile] yvi posting in [community profile] thewestwing
Welcome to the first rewatch post in [community profile] thewestwing! This is your friendly mod [personal profile] yvi doing the recap. I am trying to keep my squee contained, but it might not be possible. Good for you that this episode doesn't have a lot of CJ in it.

If you are unable to view the episode, you can also take a look at the transcript.

We open to a mysterious conversation between two men in a bar, which I, to this day, don't understand. It ends with the young attractive guy smiling at a woman.

In the next scenes, various people (Leo, CJ, and Toby) get phone calls or beaper messages from from "Potus", who is obviously very important. Then we go back to the young attractive guy from earlier waking up next to the girl from the day before. We get to know that "Potus" was in a bicycle accident, which causes the guy to rush out, but not before revealing that we are talking "President of the United States" here. As all good guys do, he at least promises to call her before heading out.

At the white house, we get to know even more people, with names and everything! Viewers, meet Donna and Josh. Cue one of my favorite lines from this episodes:

Leo: He was swerving to avoid a tree.
Donna: And what happened?
Leo: He was unsuccessful.

And, finally some political issue: there are Cubans coming over in fishing boats. Well, not actually fishing boats. Or so says Josh. But there's more: Another mysterious exchange in which we learn the President is pissed at Josh for some reason. There is something about the Christian Right and Josh concludes that what he did was stupid, but he was still right.

Now we meet Mrs. Landingham! ♥ And Leo utters the words "He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your President's a geek." How can one not love this show? CJ, meanwhile, is wondering how to stop the press from laughing at the President hitting a tree with his bike after which we are finally back at politics with Leo, Sam, and Toby.

Cue our first press conference! CJ's being awesome.

Meanwhile, we see what the stupid thing Josh said was. "Lady, the God you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud." Ouch. Donna and Josh have a Moment over coffee before Josh gets chewed on by Toby and gets told the woman he said that to will be around for the next round of coffee so he can apologize. He's looking forward to that

And now, meet Mandy. Mandy is... a bit hectic and loud. We learn that she runs some kind of exploratory committee for "Lloyd Russell, newly crowned prince of the White suburban woman, the upper middle class Black man and teacher's union". Oh, and she used to be Josh's girlfriend. Who's now dating Lloyd Russell. This si going to go so well.

Sam, in the meantime, is talked into giving giving some students from Leo's daughter's class a tour because he once hit on Leo's wife. Let's not go there.

Let us, however, go into how Sam just totally slept with a prostitute and swapped pagers with her afterwards. Yep, slept with a prostitute. I hear that's not a good idea in the US, especially if you work for the President.

Leo is trying to get the Christian Right to at least not hate them anymore. He doesn't seem to have that much success.

Sam is now swapping pagers with Laurie, who, as it turns out, really is an escort on top of being a law student. Ouups.

Next come two crucifications: Josh's for which he gets himself dressed up nicely - well, with Donna's help - and Sam's. Sam is trying to give the kids a tour, obviously knowing nothing about the building he works in. Thankfully, Mallory pulls him aside before it gets too embarrassing and asks him "I'm sorry to be rude, but are you a moron?" Then he tells her a bit of a sob story in which he mentions he just slept with someone who also works as a prostitute. Turns out Mallory is his boss's daughter.

At least Josh also gets slaughtered. At least Toby gets in a few good punches first, then we have a wonderful bout of "these people" from Marx. Interestingly, these members of the Christian Right don't seem to know the order of the 10 commandments (I am an ex-Christian Atheist and even I know them...), but hey, the President is there to teach them! And also tell them, because a nice group sent his 12-year-old granddaughter a nice little doll with a knife stuck through its throat. And then he throws them out.

The President then continues to rock my world for a bit, before we get Back To Business. And that's it for the first episode!

A few questions to warm you up:

1. As far as pilots go, how would you rate this episode?
2. If the pilot was the first episode you ever saw, did it get you hooked on the show?
3. Do you think this episode stroke the right balance between personal issues, introductions and political matters?
4. Who's better at getting himself into messy situations: Josh or Sam?

Also feel free to discuss any part you want to on in addition to this / instead of this.

(And if you want to volunteer to write one of these recaps, there are still plenty of episodes available at the sign-up post)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-03 05:21 pm (UTC)
viklikesfic: avatar me w/ trans flag, spiky hair, gender unclear, fun punky glasses & sarcastic expression to go w/purple ironic halo (Default)
From: [personal profile] viklikesfic
Ack, so I haven't been able to get the disc from Netflix yet but I will say that one of my favorite things from this episode was Toby's line about being able to fuck up the navigation of the state of the art plane with something he bought at Radioshack. I often think of that when I hear the "please turn off all electronic devices" messages. Awesome introduction to the character.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-03 08:13 pm (UTC)
bluflamingo: half orange with segments in rainbow colours (lady with laptop)
From: [personal profile] bluflamingo
Very good, but not awesome

Same here - I actually started with the first episode of season 2, which worked much better for me as an intro to the show than the pilot did, and I never rewatch the pilot now. It didn't have enough CJ, like you say, and as an intro to Sam it was such a weird choice, because it makes him seem hopeless when he's really not.

But the bike into a tree was a nicely zany start to a show about the President, so that makes up for a lot!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-03 06:53 pm (UTC)
philomytha: girl in woods with a shaft of sunlight falling on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] philomytha
It was the first episode I saw, since I've actually only just finished watching the show for the first time on DVD. I was completely confused about who all the characters were and what they did, and remained confused for about the first half-dozen or so episodes, but I loved the quips and the cleverness and the multiple concurrent plots so much that I didn't really care. Mr P was watching with me, and I don't think he was really sold till 'Take This Sabbath Day', but I was sold from the first episode. I liked that it started in the middle of things, not with an election or inauguration or anything like that, which would have been a bit cheesy. Yes, I was confused about everything, but it was the kind of confusion that made me want to know more. So as far as pilot episodes go, it worked for me.

17 across is wrong. It's just wrong.

Date: 2010-05-03 08:38 pm (UTC)
pinkinks: (sam  toby and cj - three hearts)
From: [personal profile] pinkinks
Favourite things from this episode:

Treadmill 1, Ms Cregg, 0 :D
Toby doesn't get his peanuts.
Mrs L.


He rode his bicycle into a tree, C.J.. What do you want me to - 'The President, while riding a bicycle on his vacation in Jackson Hole, came to a sudden arboreal stop' - What do you want from me?

A little love, Leo.



1 Excellent. In the first instance I was not at all political (especially USA political) so was worried it was going be full of stuff that went over my head.) As a Stockard Channing fan, I was going to tune in for her and little else but this changed very fast ;)

It was witty, speedy, interesting and I loved it.

2. Absolutely!

3. Pilots can be messy because they are trying to introduce so much. I'm always more interested in character development at first, but watching it again I'd say it was a good balance and nothing looked like an after-thought.

4. In this one, Sam.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-04 02:37 pm (UTC)
cleo: West Wing quote: Holy interuptus Batman (WW: interuptus)
From: [personal profile] cleo
1. I think this is a freaking great pilot. It's fast paced, but it doesn't leave you confused as to who the hell these people are. It's very catching...and I don't even like Sam.
2. It wasn't the first episode I saw. In fact, I think I saw the last two seasons before I saw the pilot. But [personal profile] twtd had told me how amusing it was, so I spent most of the episode, the first time, looking for the little things.
3. Hmm...I think so, yes. In general, I can do without the Sam stuff...or Sam in general. But the way the personal issues played into everything else really works here.
4. Josh...and it's because he handles them so freaking badly.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-05 04:59 am (UTC)
paxpinnae: Inara Serra,being more awesome than you. (Default)
From: [personal profile] paxpinnae
'The President, while riding a bicycle on his vacation in Jackson Hole, came to a sudden arboreal stop.' Man, I forgot how much I love Leo.

1. As far as pilots go, how would you rate this episode?
It's actually pretty good; we're introduced to all of the main characters without being overwhelmed, and it feel like a first season episode. A lot of pilots feel totally unrelated to their shows because of production changes or time between shooting, but Sorkin keeps it consistent.

2. If the pilot was the first episode you ever saw, did it get you hooked on the show?

I don't actually remember the first episode I saw. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the pilot, though.

3. Do you think this episode stroke the right balance between personal issues, introductions and political matters?

Mmmm. Mostly. To be honest, I'd totally forgotten about Mandy as a character, so it was kinda a surprise when she showed up. Sam's hooker drama is also more time-consuming than previously remembered, and I forgot that both he and Josh spend a not insignificant amount of pilot time looking like idiots. Buuut we get CJ and Toby and Bartlett being awesome at their jobs, and the Cubans and the Christians both make for good (and still very relevant)intro political situations.

4. Who's better at getting himself into messy situations: Josh or Sam?

Josh. Josh josh josh josh josh. Sam is occasionally over-noble or naive, but he's humble enough that when he does seriously screw up, he can usually eat crow and minimize the damage. Just not in this episode. Josh, on the other hand, is both very good at his job and very arrogant, both of which make him very very bad at admitting that he's wrong and at not beating himself up over things. I forgot how early we learned that about them.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-05-07 08:45 pm (UTC)
sibyllevance: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sibyllevance
2. If the pilot was the first episode you ever saw, did it get you hooked on the show?
No, I had to wait for the episode where Charlie is introduced for some reason, maybe because that's when I finally settled instead of wondering what their plan was.

- CJ cracks me up - budgeting your time, meet an interesting man. 5 to 6 is my time. I really love CJ because it's never a question of whether she can have a career and be happy relationship-wise.

- Toby is such a deadpan joke kind of character, 'Don't tell me I can plummet this thing with something I bought at radio shack?' I too always think of this line when we're told to switch electronic devices off in a plane.

- The whole episode is very fast-paced, you have to keep up. I was used to Gilmore Girls and I watch a lot of pre 1960 movies so I'm used to this kind of witty, sharp dialogue and this was one of the things that hooked me.

- Josh's first impression about the Cubans is good and was mine, they're not traveling on boats but rafts, Toby agrees it's not police they need but food and doctors. Toby is often the one who's more on the left of the political spectrum, it was nice to see Josh is too (although I remember Josh saying in a later episode that if he weren't working for the White House he'd be protesting too and even in this episode he's outraged when he's told they scheduled family values as part of the President's speech).

- Such irony - the first story we're presented with is that of the the President being diagnosed for something (sprained ankle) I wonder if Sorkin had planned that far away with the MS. The cane is here and everything, it's eerie.

- Mandy in her car, first reaction: my god did we really have those kinds of phones?

- I really like Laurie. It's obvious Sam looks down on her because she earns money sleeping with wealthy, famous men. I thought her 'Sam go, you don't know who I am' was very touching. She chose the profession, she enjoys it, it's legal, just leave her alone.

- Oh dear the Christian right. I don't even know what to say. Mary is so insufferable. Although I disagree with the White House's position - it's obvious they think condoms, school prayer and pornography shouldn't be discussed by the President because it's too risky. That's pretty cowardly to me, as a President you should have a point of view and give it to the people. I have a point of view on all three so I thought it was just avoiding interesting topics. I love how Jed saves the day, though, by making the difference between religious people who don't see the Bible as being justification for hatred and those who do. He'll make a similar speach later about homosexuality, I think. I'm an agnostic atheist so why should I care but I thought it was interesting anyway.
Edited Date: 2010-05-07 08:46 pm (UTC)


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