Review of Jefferson Lives
Written by Toniann
As we began with Jed Bartlet's disjointed nightmare, this episode turned
out to be largely about blame, at least within the First Family and some of
the staff. The fact that Charlie was the first one to pick up on and put
words to Zoey's internal struggle does not surprise me, but I think Jed
himself had subconsciously begun to make those connections himself. The only
thing his little girl is afraid of doing, it seems, is disappointing her
father. And old story, but a true one.
Zoey Bartlet may blame herself for what happened, but she doesn't blame
her father -- unlike Abbey. I keep reminding myself that she's been through
a terrible experience, coming so close to losing her daughter and even now,
knowing that daughter was in danger and terrible circumstances. I know Abbey
herself has been traumatized. I can't help thinking, though, that her blame
is too heavy-handed, and must be cloaking an inner blame of her own. Last
season, when Zoey was kidnapped, Abbey told CJ and Amy, "I screwed up." I
wonder if deep down, that's what still eating at her. I can't help but think
of Ron Butterfield's words to Toby after the shooting at Rosslyn: "It's no
one's fault, and was an act of madmen." But somehow I don't think there's any
way for Ron to step in and smooth the way this time. I don't know who will.
It sure as hell isn't going to be Leo.
It occurs to me that we're in the fifth season now and I don't think I've
ever mentioned that W.G. Snuffy Walden's "West Wing Theme" really is a
rather nice piece of music.
Quick exchange: Margaret asking if Secretary Berryhill was on Leo's
schedule and Leo reassuring her. Apparently he's at least learned the
consequences of making his own schedule.
If I may jump ahead, what in tarnation was with that whole "quiet for one
minute", Amy taking her shoes off, make-out session in Josh's office? Was
there a reason we focused the camera on her pedicure? (They're wonderful, by
the way, if you've never had one -- it's not just the polish, which is
aesthetically pleasing, it's just incredibly relaxing for your feet, flat or
not.) If Josh has a foot fetish, I'm not sure that's something I needed to
know. Sigh. I can't say I'm very open minded about this little office
romance part deux, cuticles aside.
When Zoey was doing her "walk", I heard calls from the press asking about
her boyfriend, and by that I assume they mean the French royal guy. Wonder
what ended up happening to Jean Claude/Jean Pierre/Jean Paul, whatever his
name was. Something about diplomatic immunity, but, what, he just got sent
back to his castle, end of story?
I'm not even going to try to hide the fact that I rather liked Charlie and
Zoey together, and not simply on a romantic level. Possibly because it was
one more thing that brought Charlie and the president together, as family,
and their scenes together are consistently one of the highlights of the show
for me. Not sure what's in the cards regarding that, but let me just say
that, if Charlie *did* want to be VP, I'd be all for it.
Speaking of Veeps, Berryhill was something of a red shirt from the
beginning, but I found the reasons we were given sort of flimsy -- how did
he go from being a lock to being an impossible sell so quickly? In other
words, how is it that both parties could have such a poor reaction to the
idea of him in the number two spot, and none of the senior staffers ever
caught a whiff of it before? Tunnel vision? Hurry up offense?
Was there anything funnier than when Debbie whispered, "Bingo Bob?"
Bingo surprised me, because cowboy boots aside (would they really aid
flat-foot arches?), he wasn't so bad. In fact, while Bartlet ended with the
crack about sweetening the deal, I found myself thinking that if there was
any argument that might sway Jed, it would be that he was a man who wasn't
content to accept the role of a mediocrity. It didn't seem to make an
impression at the time but... maybe it did, because he's going to be the
next VP. But hey, next Friday's Hawaiian shirt day.
The VP candidate interviews were rather amusing (the one guy made the
president's favorite 4th of July story boring, and that's saying something),
but I thought the best moment was when Josh and Toby ushered Starkey out,
paused for a beat, and then went to the other door and ushered in Russell.
Priceless comedic timing.
"This is my over the moon face."