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‘The West Wing' newbie recap: 'This isn't my regular Tuesday suit'

Season 1 | Episode 20 | “Mandatory Minimums” | Aired May 3, 2000

Happy day after midterms, everyone! As always, I wish Aaron Sorkin had written all of the election scripts that played out last night; if nothing else, the acceptance speeches would have been dynamite.

This week’s episode picks up where last week’s left off. President Bartlet’s giving a trademark barnburner speech at which he announces that he, and not the party leadership, is nominating two replacements to the FEC.

The incensed Senate majority leader immediately calls Josh (“on the cell,” Donna says with reverence) to continue threatening him with legislative reprisals. Josh doesn’t even let him start speaking, instead snapping that the senator can shove his political agenda up his ass. Language!

After Bartlet’s speech, the press hound C.J. for answers on the FEC noms, and she gives an exclusive follow up to some rando in the press corps. Even the rando argues that this interview should go to Danny, the senior White House correspondent. But things are downright chilly between C.J. and Danny after last week’s showdown, so the rando gets the interview, despite poor Danny making the world’s saddest face.

In an equally tense office, Toby stands over Sam, critiquing his work. My kingdom for a web series of just these two editing documents. (Toby: “Any time you want to use punctuation, that would be fine.” Sam: Annoyed look.)

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 10.36.56 AM

Everyone’s been tiptoeing around Josh, not just because of his appalling phone manners, but because Al Keifer, AKA the polling expert from California, AKA Q from “Star Trek,” is consulting with the Bartlet Bunch on their falling numbers, and he’s bringing Joey Lucas with him. Sam’s blunt about why they’re worried about Josh: She broke Josh’s heart, as women are wont to do.  (Geez, Sam, what happened with Mallory?) Josh insists it’s fine.

That next day, Josh shows up in what Donna announces is a really good suit. In fact, could this be his Joey Lucas suit? Josh denies any attempts to dress up, saying it’s just his regular Tuesday suit. Everybody wonders if Josh actually has day of the week suits, like so much novelty underwear.

Once they’re done discussing fashion, the inner circle all meet with Q to discuss polling issues. C.J. bars a contrite Mandy from entry, saying she’s still in the doghouse. Dang, I don’t like Mandy, but this is hard to watch.

Inside the meeting, they’re wrangling over how to handle drug offenses. The Bartlet Buch want more treatment and less prison, and they want to abolish mandatory minimum sentencing that punishes crack users (who are primarily black) more harshly than cocaine users (who are primarily white). Everyone agrees that this is horribly racist, but Q points out that all the public will hear is that President Bartlet is soft on crime. Everyone in this scenario is right, unfortunately.

When Josh learns that Joey Lucas is waiting in his office, he greets her all brusque and businesslike, warning her not to expect candy and flowers just because she’s arrived at the White House. Then this happens, courtesy of Leo.

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Josh is being sort of terrible, accusing her of being a woman and wanting to decorate her office with plants and hand lotion. Hey, now, that’s sexist and—wait, I just counted three different kinds of lotion in my office desk drawer, so carry on.

Then Joey announces that she’s not sleeping with Q anymore, and Josh stammers that she needs to be professional. “This is a place where work is done and nothing else!” She then compliments his suit. Why are people so crazy about this suit? Josh is cute as bunnies, but it’s a boxy mess. This is how you wear a suit.


Toby, meanwhile, is about to have an awkward lunch; Leo’s set him up on a date with his ex-wife, a Democratic congresswoman, to feel her out about campaign finance reform and the fight they’re about to wage on mandatory minimums. I cannot wait to meet her.

The lunch turns out to be a picnic on a blanket, although Toby remains standing and turns down Andrea’s offer of homemade pie, that monster. Andrea is smart, wry and funny, as befitting the ex-Mrs. Toby. They bicker about soft money and racist sentencing, then Toby proves himself to be my soul mate:


Back indoors, Leo’s taking C.J. to task for misspeaking during an earlier press conference. Then Danny piles on, calling it bush league, and C.J. hauls him into her office for yelling. He hits right back over his loss of access to his White House sources as punishment for publishing Mandy’s memo last week. If Twitter had been a thing in 2000, C.J. would be all #sorrynotsorry (even though she’s completely in the wrong).

Leo, meanwhile, has gathered seven seemingly random congressional staffers together to talk about the drug laws. He says all of their bosses think more money should be put into prisons, yet all of their bosses have family members who got ridiculously light sentences for their drug crimes. Leo warns that any hypocrisy from their bosses about being “soft on crime,” and they’ve’ got seven stories ready for page 1.

Josh, finally realizing that he’s been a tantrum-throwing toddler, approaches Joey with the gift of a White House coffee mug, then blurts, “I wore this suit special today. This isn’t my regular Tuesday suit.”

She’s confused about him having a regular Tuesday suit, then smiles broadly and asks, “For me?” A flustered Josh bolts from the office.

And now we’ve come to the end of the day, and one by one, the Bartlet Bunch gather in the president’s bedroom, where the poor man is just trying to get some sleep. Bartlet assures Leo that he’s the best person to talk about the benefits of drug treatment as opposed to prison, and he tells C.J. to forgive both Mandy and Danny for doing their jobs. (Can this be construed as presidential approval to commence getting it on?) (C.J. and Danny, that is. Mandy is not involved in this scenario.) (While I’m speaking parenthetically, I want to point out that the president also admits that he calls his wife Dr. Bartlet “just for the turn on,” which is awesome.) Then he gives them all a pep talk, telling them that if they do this right, people are going to respond.

Before Leo leaves, Bartlet tells him that he’s sleeping better and dreaming about having honest, energetic, important discussions with the people who matter. “When I wake up, I think, ‘I can sell that.’”

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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