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'The West Wing' newbie recap: Old McBartlet had a farm, part 2

Season 3 | Episode 3 | “Manchester: Part II” | Aired Oct 17, 2001

Before we start this week, let’s take a moment to praise The West Wing season three (so far) for all of the outdoor scenes. The first two seasons were set in hallways and offices, while the last two episodes have been all sunshine and rolling, grassy fields. Washington, D.C., is a gorgeous city, but it’s been a nice change to see our favorite White House staffers getting some vitamin D the old-fashioned way.

Anyway, as this episode of The West Wing opens, Bartlet’s campaign speech still isn’t done, and he’s working on it with his advisors old and new, all of whom are perched on and around hale bales in the Bartlet barn.

“There’s a snake over here,” C.J. says nervously.

“What kind?” asks Sam, the delightful nerd.

Josh and C.J. quietly freak out about the snake while Doug, Tami Taylor, and Toby spar on the speech wording. Bruno comes in and threatens them all with pitchforks, which isn’t as effective a motivational technique as you might think.

President Bartlet rehearses his campaign speech in a barn.

Just like last week, this episode flips between the present in New Hampshire and four weeks earlier in Washington. Four weeks ago, the Bartlets have a frosty conversation in the presidential bedroom. Neither Bartlet is happy, but they’re saving the bigger blowup over his decision to run again without her blessing for some future date TBD. I’m sure they’re both really looking forward to THAT.

Four weeks later, things are still not good between the Bartlets as C.J. tries unsuccessfully to coax Abbey into a family photo op. Abbey shoots C.J. down (and denies her some fresh Bartlet cider—ouch).

When Bartlet glimpses his wife on the farm grounds, he says in wonder, “I didn’t know she was gonna be here.” She is, in fact, introducing him at the campaign event, but oooh, but it’s still icy between them.

Anyway, C.J. is still not quite herself in this episode, and a flashback gives more insight as to why: Four weeks ago, Leo asked Nancy McNally, rather than C.J., to brief the press on Haiti. Nancy reluctantly agrees. And yep, that’d do it.

Back in New Hampshire, Toby is hilariously losing his mind about campaign signs that say “Bartlet for President.” Because, you see, Bartlet is already the president.

“I was there when he won! I saw him get sworn in. I actually rode in a limo!” Toby bellows, setting out to edit the signs himself.

The issue of a presidential apology still hasn’t gone away. Four weeks ago, we learn that Doug is for it, but Toby is against it to the extent that he invites Doug to suck something but is cut off before he can finish that thought. The world will never know to what specifically Toby was referring.

For the record, Sam is also on the “he needs to apologize” train; in New Hampshire four weeks later, Tami Taylor gently points out that Sam may be feeling that way for personal rather than political reasons. Sam wants no part of that psychoanalysis. But you ought to listen to her, Sam; Mrs. Coach is known for her wise advice.

In the Bartlet homestead kitchen, Doug is pressing his own psychoanalysis on Toby regarding lingering bad feelings toward the president: “You guys are so pissed at him, you don’t even know it.” He says Bartlet’s staff is angrier at him than even the press or the Democratic party. “You’re so pissed at him, you’re pissed at me. Because if he hadn’t lied, you could’ve run the campaign you always wanted to run.” Instead, Doug, Bruno, and Tami Taylor have to guide them toward safe, non-offensive ground, which isn’t the campaign Bartlet and his core staff wanted.

Just before the speech, C.J. approaches Bartlet and suggests that post-speech would be a good time for her to resign, following her press-conference snafu the week before. The president ignores her suggestion and barrels into his usual barrage of all the troubles still facing the country that they need to fix.

C.J. loses it.

“Don’t you dare lecture me, Mr. President! Don’t you dare do it.”

They’re both stunned into silence. Bartlet finds his tongue first and quietly tells her that he was never supposed to win, but when he brought her and Toby and Josh and Sam on board, that’s when he started winning primaries four years ago.

“It was a mistake benching you for that last press conference,” he tells her.

At that point, Charlie interrupts to tell C.J. that she’s needed elsewhere.

“I need you too,” Bartlet says simply.

So she’ll stay, then. Whew!

Bartlet is not done repairing those burned bridges, though. He and Abbey make up in the limo on the way to the campaign kickoff, charmingly debating what kind of astronaut he would have been. (One who’s afraid of heights, speed, fire, and small places.) In the end, Abbey tells him she hasn’t made up her mind yet, but at the moment, she’s leaning toward voting Bartlet.

And now, the Bartlet campaign has arrived at the school where the campaign is kicking off. Abbey walks out to deliver her introduction. Bartlet asks Bruno, Doug, and Tami Taylor to leave the classroom where they’re all gathered, and once they’re gone, he faces Leo, Toby, Josh, Sam, C.J., Donna, and Charlie and says the words they’ve all been waiting to hear: “It occurs to me I never said I’m sorry.”

The camera pans around the sun-filled classroom as Bartlet promises them that they’re going to write a new book: They’re going to run a bold campaign, one that’s full of decisions that might not be popular, but will be right.

“You know what?” he asks his assembled staff. “Break’s over.”

President Bartlet announces his candidacy on The West Wing.

And he takes the stage while the West Wing theme plays on oboe, and it’s chills everywhere. C.J. is the first to follow him out, followed by the rest of the group, all grinning and applauding.

And would you look at that? I’m learning toward voting Bartlet too.

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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