Random Thoughts on Access

Written by Toniann

  • Hey, it's the documentary-style episode! Come on, every show has one eventually.
  • To tell you the truth, the thing I was intrigued by the most in this episode, by for, was the whole idea that it was coming from the future. If you caught it, the documentarian (and who was that voice) said this footage wasn't able to be released until after the administration was out of office. Also, at the end, he said C.J. was the only woman to have served two full terms as Press Secretary. Well, that tells us that neither Bartlet nor C.J. meets with an untimely demise before then. See what I mean? Kind of cool.
  • The documentarian also mentioned that when this was filmed, Bartlet was in "the first year of his second term of office". I guess from a certain point of you that's where we're at, but it got me doing some reckoning. That means he's got three more years, bringing the series total to eight. That works, right? Two terms equals eight years, equals eight seasons. Except the show started, supposedly, about a year in. So they did manage to stretch out time a bit there somewhere.
  • Hey! That's Rickie from My So-Called Life! Wilson Cruz! He was playing one of C.J.'s staffers, Jack Sosa. How great is that? I loved Rickie. I wished I had best friend like Rickie. Angela was so lucky. And now C.J. is! (sorry, big-time MSCL nut here)
  • As a side note, too bad we've never seen any of these staffers before, except for Carol. I always kind of assumed C.J. had a big staff and they've alluded to them, but I liked the glimpse. Sometimes it almost seems as if the senior staff, plus Donna, Margaret, Carol, and now Rena, are running the entire West Wing by themselves.
  • As another side note, this would have been a great episode to bring Danny Concannon back for. Too bad.
  • Did you notice, they threw in a comment about Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt "getting cozy with the Palestinians"? I sense foreshadowing.
  • And on the tangential subject of Toby, I got a kick out of hearing how he and C.J. met. It's sort of the bare bones version, as it's obvious they developed more of a bond than just working on a failed senatorial race, but it's a nice bit of factual information.
  • Random commercial break: was the Applebee's ad national? The one with the Turtles' "Happy Together" being bastardized to, "Imagine steak and shrimp..." Ouch.
  • Donna was pretty funny in her little interview - the only one who was, appropriately. "What do I know? But, hey, you're interviewing me, so..." I also liked when she described C.J. as agile and then they cut to a shot of her taking part in some kind of impromptu pickle in the middle game in the hallway.
  • Aside from the great job the hairstylist did for the "C.J. back when" shots, I wasn't completely jazzed with them throwing so much emphasis on the Casey Creek incident, claiming that it was a huge blight on the administration and on C.J.'s credibility. So huge we never heard about it on the show before, but okay.
  • Contrarily, I applaud the consistency of having Agent Mike Casper back. Way back when he was the guy who was nervous about briefing the president ("Those walls are curved"), but they've brought him back whenever the storyline featured the FBI, and I assume he's been appointed to some sort of liaison to the president position, so that's a nice bit of continuity.
  • One other small complaint, though: yeah, I got it the *first* time they showed C.J. repeating her "I see it as my job to articulate the president's message, inform the public, and tell the truth, at least that's my goal" line, and then showed her withholding information. I also got it the second, third, and fourth time as well. And now my head hurts from being beaten on it with a stick. Little too heavy- handed for me. Once or even twice would have been enough.
  • Hearing about the "flak jacket" was, I thought, a nice little detail. It's a private thing, a small part of C.J.'s job we wouldn't know about otherwise, and I thought that tied in nicely with the comments the documentarian and the former press secretary both made about the isolationism of the position.
  • Overall? I thought it wasn't bad. All joking aside, it seems like every drama does end up doing the documentary episode eventually. So this was TWW's. As documentary episodes go, it was decent.
  • "It's about grace under fire."

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