Sunday, May 7, 2006

Institutional Memory (TWW)

The level in which a person can connect with a television character is scary.

As we near the end of a beautiful series, the pieces are falling into place. I say this knowing that tonight I realized my connection. I have loved Leo from the beginning, appreciated his sense of history, admired his loyalty to his best friend. I have been in love with the idea of President Bartlet, what liberal hasn't felt this way? But tonight it was the merging of CJ's struggles and Toby's quirks that made me realize it is a fine combination of Toby and CJ that I connect with.

Maybe from the beginning we knew CJ longed for what she couldn't have with Danny, but now near the end when she can have it, it scares the hell out of her. She never learned how to share her life with someone, a partner, the way he wants her to. As CJ put it, she "missed the window." Since the beginning Danny has done everything he could to be with her, minus that one stunt where he didn't take the editor's position that would have allowed him to be with her near the end of the second season, and he says all the right things. Really, who doesn't want to hear: "If I'm gonna jump off a cliff and you're gonna get pushed off a cliff, why don't we hold hands on the way down?" It's charming the way Danny puts up with her, the way he keeps coming back when she is "shoving the conversation downstream," yet as we watch we can see how impatient he is becoming. But he accepts her, he knows that the consulting that should be done when she is considering a job or when she is deciding between D.C. and elsewhere, is something she doesn't know how to do. He knows that she's scared, but like he said she can be scared, but he won't let her walk away from him just because she is scared. He knows her.

But somebody knows her better...

The relationship between CJ and Toby has always intrigued me. We know they were friends before the White House, though we know no details or the depth of that friendship. We know that when her father was sick, he supported her. We know that when his brother died, she was his shoulder to cry on. We know they were both directly involved with the leak and we know that they both were hurt immensely due to it. Yet, when it comes down to it, CJ still cares deeply for Toby. Why else would she consider asking the President of the United States to pardon a man who betrayed him? Despite her courage in pursuing the option of the pardon and having the courage to speak to Toby, she is still very bitter-- evident in the best quote of the season: "You don't need a pardon, you need a frying pan to the side of the head!" Despite their banter, they miss each other.

I am CJ in the indecisive sense...the way that requires Toby telling her to "stop bouncing." And I am Toby in the stubborn, won't take the pardon, I found a typo in the Constitution sense.

My hopes for the rest of the show, we may or may not see the outcomes to everything, are that Will runs for the Oregon 4th and Kate follows him, that CJ figures out how to share her life with Danny, I hope Toby receives a pardon for the sake of his children, that Arnold Vinick does become the Secretary of State, that Santos chooses Josh or someone of that magnitude for vice president, and that CJ takes on the offer presented to her by Hollace. Wouldn't it be nice if a person offered you 10 billion for any problem you chose to take on?

Next week at 7pm you can catch the beginning of it all, The West Wing pilot, and at 8pm you can catch the series finale.

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