Random Thoughts on Access
Written by Toniann
Hey, it's the documentary-style episode! Come on, every show has
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
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."