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‘The West Wing’ has a day of jubilee: The newbie recap

Season 1 | Episode 18 | “Six Meetings Before Lunch” | Aired April 5, 2000

Every time they show Zoey and her Secret Service agent on the “previouslies,” I get nervous—mostly for Gina, because I know Jorga Fox makes her way to “CSI” really soon.

The episode opens with the White House staff gathered around the television to watch the Senate cast its confirmation votes on Mendoza’s Supreme Court nomination. They’re pouring champagne and starting to celebrate when Toby the human killjoy comes along and chides them for tempting fate before they get all 51 votes. He collects all the champagne glasses, and they rattle in his hand with sad little clinks.

But lo, the vote for Mendoza doth pass, and with its passage cometh a genuine marvel: C.J. doing The Jackal. It’s everything I could’ve hoped for. It is, as promised, Shakespeare the way it was meant to be done. Behold:


Sam watching C.J. perform The Jackal, however? NO.

Sam Jackal

Speaking of Sam, Leo’s daughter, Mallory, is spitting angry at him over a position paper he wrote in support of school vouchers. Sam points out that it’s after hours and all he wants to do is take her on their first official date and maybe even kiss her at the end of it. That’s clearly not going to happen after that position paper, though. And when Sam tracks Leo down after Mallory leaves, Leo admits to slipping her the position paper. “I don’t mind you dating my only daughter, but you can’t expect me not to have some fun along the way,” he says.

It’s now 1 a.m. at the White House, and Danny arrives at C.J.’s office. When he learns he missed The Jackal, he asks for a private performance, which is maybe the hottest thing I’ve heard all week. Anyway, Danny is there so late to tell her that he’s learned that Zoey was at a party where there was a drug bust. Hmm. Less hot.

The next day, Zoey is eating on campus when Gina gets word that reporters have gathered outside, so she hustles Zoey out the back. Unfortunately, a reporter is waiting there, and he baits her into commenting on the drug bust. She snaps that she didn’t even know that the dealer was going to be at the party as Gina hustles her out.

Sam arrives at the White House to find that Mallory has made an appointment to discuss vouchers with him during business hours, at which point he shoots his secretary a look of pure betrayal. Here’s what you need to know about this scene: There’s a lot of policy talk as Mallory argues passionately for public education while Sam argues for vouchers.  Also, we learn that Sam’s middle name is Norman, which awesome.

Toby is starting his day following the Mendoza victory in a mood so chipper that it freaks everyone right out. But Mandy immediately puts the kibosh on that, telling Toby that Josh said he’d help her get China to donate a panda to the National Zoo. And like that, Toby’s day of jubilee has vanished. Why does Toby hate pandas?

Zoey has also arrived at the White House, and when Charlie greets her, she pouts that he won’t kiss her hello. He states that he prefers at least two miles between her mouth and the Oval Office, and in response she shoves him against a wall for some aggressive kissing. I take back my comment about a private Jackal performance. This is the hottest thing I’ve seen all week.

Charlie Zoe

Anyway, Zoey is meeting with C.J., where she admits that she lied about not knowing that drugs would be at the party. This leads C.J. to visit Gina to dig for more information, and Gina points out that she can’t discuss things like that or she’ll lose Zoey’s trust. Then she sits down to go over mugshots of teenage white supremacists who may be threatening Zoey and Charlie. Seriously, The West Wing, stop toying with me on this! Is something bad going to happen with this storyline? It is, isn’t it? Gah!

Sam and C.J. escape their respective miserable meetings for a quick conference. Regarding the issue of Zoey lying, Sam advises C.J. to get in the president’s face about it so he doesn’t explode. Then C.J. advises Sam to ask Mallory to continue their fight over lunch.

But, twist! Leo admits that Sam was tasked with doing opposition prep on the voucher issue. The dam bursts, and Sam spills forth an eloquent stream of all the pro-public-education talk Mallory could ever want, which is of course his true position. Sam’s impassioned speech on education is, weirdly, also incredibly sexy. IS IT HOT IN HERE THIS WEEK, OR IS IT JUST THIS SHOW? Anyway, poor Leo has to confront the fact that his daughter is probably contemplating sexytimes with Samuel Norman Seaborn sooner rather than later.

And now C.J. is facing down the president, who indeed goes ballistic when she tells him that a reporter cornered Zoey on campus. As he prepares to dress down the White House press corps., C.J. does just as Sam suggested and gets in his face, telling him that doing so would turn a small story into a big story. Because he is the model of a reasonable man, Bartlet immediately back down.

And finally, Josh’s main task this episode was to interview the Bartlet nominee for assistant attorney general for civil rights, who is a) played by Dixon from “Alias” (Hi, Dixon!) and b) a supporter of reparations for slavery. Dixon pegs the amount of necessary reparations, conservatively, at $1.7 trillion. Josh barely resists doing a spit take with his coffee. And here’s what you need to know about this scene: There’s lots of reparations talk, Josh invokes Godwin’s law by bringing up his Holocaust-surviving grandfather, and Dixon points out that the purpose of America is to always try to do better. He and Dixon leave as friends, with Dixon continuing on as the Bartlet nominee.

And thus conclude the six meetings, although we were left hanging on the issue of the pandas. Will Washington, D.C., get the pandas it deserves? I hope the next episode will shed some light. #PandaLovah4eva

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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