The West Wing

Season 3 Episode 16

The U.S. Poet Laureate

1
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Mar 27, 2002 on NBC
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
106 votes
4

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Toby looks forward to meeting the new U.S. Poet Laureate; Jed fires the first salvo of his reelection campaign when he calls his likely opponent less than brilliant, and the national press just can't get enough of it; Ainsley gets promoted; Josh overreacts to posts on the message board of a website devoted to "all things Josh".moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A mind at work.

    8.0
    I loved that Bartlet was taking Toby's advice in making the election about smart and not. His slam on Richie was perfectly worded. Though what was really impressive was how Bartlet and CJ spun it so well in their favor, and I loved that Bartlet knew exactly what he was doing the whole time.



    Bartlet: "I don't know, Leslie. I think we might be talking about a .22 caliber mind in a .357 Magnum world."



    Sam and Ainsley's chemistry was as great as ever, both in their scenes arguing over whether it's better to have a genius for a president or an average person, and especially in the scene when Ainsley first returned from her vacation to Hilton Head.



    Sam: "You lose, I win! ''Twas ever thus.'"

    Ainsley: "I was on vacation."

    Sam: "Life's tough in the aluminum siding business."



    My favorite plot of the episode though was Josh getting involved with his own fansite, lemon-lyman.com. The way he gets sucked into the site was hilarious, and pretty true to life in my opinion. Every forum I frequent started with the intention of making just one post and horribly snowballed from there. CJ comparing the whole situation to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was just gold, probably my favorite moment in the episode. The scene when Josh makes his second post was great as well.



    Josh: "See I think these are good people, by and large, but they've come under the thumb of a dictatorial ruler. So, as with a small Central American country, my role is to incite the people to topple her."

    Donna: "Josh, you're way 'round the bend. Can I get you a damp towel or something?"

    Josh: "No, but do we have any Yoo-hoo?"



    I also enjoyed Toby's scenes with the new U.S. Poet Laureate, Tabitha Fortis(Laura Dern), though I've never been crazy about the actress. I was a little upset about her trying to get involved in the landmine issue, until she revealed why she cared so much about the U.S. signing the treaty. That story was heartbreaking, I can't even imagine witnessing something like that. She also won me over by admitting she wasn't qualified to dictate or influence foreign policy. Plus it was funny to see Toby so flustered by his crush on her early on in the episode.



    Everyone was bringing the funny and Toby's plot also provided some dramatic moments.moreless
  • In this episode, president Bartlet makes a candid statement about his opponent, Toby handles the U.S Poet Laureate who is becoming an activist about the use of Land Mines, and Josh ignores Donna's warnings when dealing with an fan club website.moreless

    9.5
    Toby has to talk with the US poet Laureate, and convince her to attend a party in her honor without creating a stir about the US position on land mines. We see Toby interact with the poet Laureate in a compassionate way, and it is obvious that Toby is attracted to her. Likewise, she is attracted to him.



    Josh obsesses over a website devoted to 'everything Josh Lyman.' Donna warns him against interacting with people who post on the site, but he ignores. Eventually, he gets caught by CJ who lays down the law with Josh, and points out that Donna was right about the people who use the site.



    President Bartlet cleverly finds a way to characterize his opponent, presumptive republican presidential candidate Gov. Ritchie, as stupid. The president's comments (which initially appear to have been a gaff) create week-long media attention, as well as a response from Gov. Ritchie. By the end of the episode, CJ calls the president on intentionally making the comments in order to get the whole country talking about how intelligent is opponent may or may not be.



    This is classic West Wing style, and exactly why we watch this show. Great episode!moreless
  • Something funny, something serious

    8.2
    It is funny episode.



    First Josh thinks can handle his online fan page as they seems to misunderstand him and he gets into trouble and when he thinks he is tired of it all, some reporter hears about it and mad CJ is mad...



    On the other major storyline, president is giving interviews and after one, where camera is on, he says the republic candidate is stupid and it gets days of attention and in the end, CJ figures it all out - it was all very stylish.



    And Sam and Ashley.. and of course the poet - we cannot forget her. She had such a great arguments and the thing she wanted to do and how she in the end dealt it with Toby. It was very well written.moreless
  • I love this episode so much... Toby and his poet, who is very cool, Josh and his fansite... And Bartlet's gun metaphor stab at Ritchie... Lemon-Lyman.com!

    9.5
    *The whole poet thing was great. Toby was so sweet, I love him and Andie, but he was just so cute. Anyway, the poet was very cool, I loved the scenes with her and Toby, and when she's talking about how she saw the little boy be blown up, it's so sad. *OMG, this is one of my favorite Josh story lines. Donna and CJ keep telling him people on these sites are crazy, and they are. But Josh just won't believe them. It's hysterical. The first time I saw it I could NOT stop laughing! *I love Bartlet, the beginning with the light on. It sends everyone into a frenzy and then when CJ confronts him, it's great. I think Bartlet is awesome. Yes and Ainsley is back! I love Ainsley and she hasn't been around a lot. So yeah... This was a great episode.moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Laura Dern

Laura Dern

Tabatha Fortis

Guest Star

Yolanda Lloyd Delgado

Yolanda Lloyd Delgado

Terry

Guest Star

Beth Littleford

Beth Littleford

Leslie

Guest Star

Emily Procter

Emily Procter

Ainsley Hayes

Recurring Role

Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson

Margaret

Recurring Role

Renée Estevez

Renée Estevez

Nancy

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • When announcing his discovery of internet crazy to Donna, Josh comments that they were debating whether or not he was making fun of Egyptians by referencing Sanskrit. Either Josh didn't read the posts carefully or else the people on lemonlyman.com have roughly the intelligence of every other internet troll.


      Sanskrit is an ancient language of northern India, holding a place in Indian culture like Latin has in the western world being the language of religion and academia.

    • President Bartlet received his Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame University, and Masters and Doctorate degrees from the London School of Economics.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Talking college sports.)
      Sam: By the way, my Princeton Tigers could whip your Cal Bears any day of the week.
      C.J.: At what?
      Sam: Logarithms possibly.

    • Tabatha Fortis: You think I think that an artist's job is to speak the truth. An artist's job is to captivate you for however long we've asked for your attention. If we stumble into truth, we got lucky, and I don't get to decide what truth is.

  • NOTES (2)

    • Music: Bartlet sings "Makin' Whoopee" a 1928 jazz/blues standard that debuted in the Broadway musical Whoopee! starring Eddie Cantor. It has proven very popular over the years and has been covered by many notable artists including Frank Sinatra, Dr. John & Ricki Lee Jones and memorably Michelle Pfeiffer in the 1989 movie The Fabulous Baker Boys.

    • The storyline of LemonLyman.com is a result of an altercation that Sorkin had with some posters on the Television Without Pity forum.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • C.J. (to Toby): Knock 'em dead, De Bergerac.


      "Cyrano De Bergerac" is a play written by Edmond Rostand in 1897. It is a celebrated romance in which the titular character helps a fellow soldier woo a woman they both love.Usually, it is cited to illustrate that triangular relationship, which is not the situation here, but there are several relevant parallels between the characters of De Bergerac and Toby. They are both excellent writers who have trouble with women, though Toby's "deformity" is his fatalistic attitude rather than a giant nose.

    • Josh Lyman: "It's "Lord of the Flies" in there!"

      William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" tells the story of several young boys stranded on a deserted island. It's an unflattering study of how people act as a group when they are removed from civilization. Josh's comparison of "lemonlyman.com" to this book is a comment on how the cyberspace environment creates a similar type of mob rule.

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