Review of Constituency of One
Written by Toniann
In a nutshell, if I worked in that White House today, I think I'd consider
resigning. CJ and Leo fighting. Toby and Will. Josh and Amy, and Toby, and
well, almost everyone. Bartlet and an absent Abbey. And so on. And I thought
I worked in a negative atmosphere.
I Cannot Tell A Lie: Amy Gardner has never been my favorite character. But
her role, in retrospect, was central to the arc and the theme of this entire
episode. I confess I don't completely understand her reasoning behind
planting the story about Josh -- which, although perhaps well-intentioned, I
think in some measure set him up for the fall he eventually took. And her
actions on "behalf" of the First Lady were overstepping, plain and simple.
I'm not entirely clear on whether or not she did in fact resign, in the end.
Her words to the president seemed to leave no room for doubt on that, but he
was equally clear that he wasn't about to fire Abbey's chosen Chief of
Staff. I do give her credit for recognizing her talent as a constituency of
one, and not as someone who serves at the pleasure of anyone else. As for
Josh and Amy: well, in her own words: working in that building certainly
isn't very conducive to relationships. Having said all of that, her exit
from the White House, whether for good or just for the end of the day,
symbolized what is happening to the Bartlet staff as a whole.
Likewise, I find I can't blame Will much for choosing to go and work for
the VP. Bingo Bob is, in some ways, the sow's ear ready to be made into a
silk purse, and Toby's arguments for staying didn't convince me, and as a
viewer, I *have* been there from the beginning. We don't leave, he said, and
right now, it feels like he's talking about going down with the ship. At
least, on some level, that's what I think he's beginning to fear. I don't
know if I even understand what it is Toby wants to do right now, except that
I'm sure he's not all that happy about doing the job he has to do. Which,
from what it looks like, I can't quite blame him for. On a less interpretive
note, I wonder what this means for Josh Molina and whether we'll be seeing
more or less of him from now on.
Did Donna cut her hair ever so slightly? I thought it looked good. I
realize that it's hardly the most vital point to be made, considering,
but after an episode of complete pessimism, I'm searching for some half-full
glasses. Honestly, I sort of wish Donna had a little more to do lately than
provide ways for the plot to center on Josh or tell Ryan not to touch
things. Last season, and the one before, they started building her character
up into being more involved -- right or wrong, they went that way, and now
they're backpedaling. Make up your minds.
CJ is a woman of integrity, and I love that about her character. She also,
I will state flat-out, didn't do her job today. I'm not sure I think Leo
handled the situation well either, but putting all bias and emotion aside, I
have to say he is completely within bounds to remind her that her job is to
obey any directive the Chief of Staff gives her, and in that she failed.
Actually, the only real non-hairstyle related moments of joy in this
episode were, I thought, CJ's 15-second-straight-to-video romantic comedy
synopsis (what was that about?) and Ryan's somewhat charming attempt to ask
her out on a date. You have to give the guy credit for good taste.
Oh! And I almost forgot Margaret and the ergonomic chair. This show could
use a little more Margaret and a little less... I don't know. Whatever it is
Right about now, Charlie's probably looking back on the days of boring
history lessons and Latin and carving knives almost as much as the rest of
the staff wishes it were Big Block of Cheese Day again.
But, getting back to the fifth Beatle... In some ways, what happened in
this episode is something I almost can't believe hasn't happened long before
this. From Day One, Josh has been cocky and arrogant about the power he
sways in the legislative arena, and with some justification. But he's got a
heck of a blind spot for seeing when he's overplaying his hand, and that
came to a head tonight. I also can't help but point out that he might have
managed to keep from going completely over that cliff if he hadn't been
worked up and distracted by the situation with Amy. Regardless, though, he
was in many ways headed for a fall sooner or later, and how it plays out
remains to be seen.
Was that the worst-timed surprise birthday party in the history of
mankind, or what? This is going to make the clown from Josh's seventh
birthday seem like fun in the sun in comparison.
"Thanks for the nine million jobs -- I've got three of them and I can't make my house payments."