The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 17


Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Apr 03, 2002 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • Want a lesson in how to write a perfect script?

    This episode is a classic, mixing humour with sincere emotions and teaching a lesson about loyalty. The scenes with Charlie and his tax return are hilarious and at the same time they show Bartlet as a pragmatic politician, not just the idealistic dreamer. The discussion about the Vice-President's role in the coming elections and his possible replacement is astonishingly cold-hearted, yet realistic. When the staff are weighing the pros and cons of putting an alcoholic on the ticket, in the presence of Leo, you can't help but feel how tough life in politics can be.

    I have always felt that Vice-President Hoynes was underused in the series and in this episode he gets to play a serious role, as a martyr. Tim Matheson pulls it off beautifully, and I think it's sad that he was written out later on. Imagine the seventh series with Hoynes as the candidate...

    What makes this episode completely superior to anything else is the amount of one-liners. Were ever so many one-liners stuffed into one show?
  • ...not shaken.

    Bartlet was on fire the entire episode, he definitely earned his self imposed title of "Magic Man." He was even able to find the humor in dealing with the crash of the truck carrying nuclear waste in Idaho, which was a pretty scary scenario. I loved his joke about how he should deal with the governor.

    Bartlet: "I should set a ransom. 'I'll tell you what the radiation level's are, but first I want your electoral votes.' Or is that a bad strategy?"
    Leo: "It's pretty bad."
    Bartlet: "OK, no ransom, we'll play this one straight."

    I also loved his scenes with Charlie when they were filling Charlie's tax return. Bartlet calling in the two secret service agents to "collect" from Charlie had me rolling. It was really touching when Bartlet told Charlie he had gotten him the DVD player, any guy that works that hard for that little and still donates to charity deserves a little theater quality sound. My favorite line was in the scene when Charlie finally gives up and writes out he check for what he owes.

    Charlie: "We don't want people to save and reduce their personal debt?"
    Bartlet: "We do, but when the next guy's president."

    Even his delivery when he says, "Donnatella" as she walks into the Oval Office cracked me up for some reason, and it was pretty nice of him to set up the phone call with her English teacher that was retiring. Donna trying to convince Josh to get a proclamation for her provided some more laughs as well.

    Every time I think I have the Vice President figured out he trips me up just by being a good guy. I thought it was pretty admirable of him to fight to keep Leo in their AA meetings, granted he was the one that invited Leo in the first place, but still. His scenes with Sam earned him even more respect, I thought it was pretty selfless of him to take his name off his own bill. Realizing getting the bill passed was more important than getting the credit for it wasn't the kind of thing I would've expected from Hoynes. By the time his scene with Bartlet and Leo in the Oval happened I was wholeheartedly behind keeping him on the ticket. I also have to say I agree with his assessment of Hockey, but the funniest line to come from the Hockey discussion was Sam pitching his idea of a sumo wrestler goalie to Josh.

    Sam: "My idea's totally enviable?"
    Josh: "Well, you're a democrat, it's a pretty big club."

    A little heavier on the humor than the drama, but that's certainly not a bad thing when its being done as well as TWW.
  • The matter of vice president

    So.. they are preparing for their campaign and it all ends up with the idea maybe they should have new vice president as the last one - they have had hard times. There are many people they think but in the end, Leo takes vice president to president to let him tell that he do is alcoholic. I adore president's response: is there anyone who is not alcoholic.

    There was also the thing with Donna and her teacher and the phone call in the end - it was so beautiful and I think Donna could be proud.

    And Charlie. and his taxes.. I only think the crash thing.. it sounded like it is going to be very exciting storyline but somehow it did not worked for me.