5.18: Access


The western weekly is sponsored by ZipRecruiter. You know what's not smart the way hiring used to be job sites that overwhelm you with tons of the wrong resumes. But now there's a smarter way at ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash west wing, ZipRecruiter's powerful matching technology finds the right people for you and actively invites them to apply. So it's no wonder that ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US number. Yeah, I was wondering what it was going to be, but it was number one, right? The best you can be. Yeah, and right now our listeners can try the number one rated ZipRecruiter for free at ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash west wing, that's number one rated ZipRecruiter, ZipRecruiter dot com. Slash west wing. Yep, it's the west wing weekly. I'm Joshua Malina and I'm Rashiq airway. And today we're talking about access. It's episode eighteen from season five. It was written by Lauren Schmidt. It was directed by Alex graves and I shared on the last day of March in two thousand and four, Lauren Schmidt, of course, our friend aka Lorne Schmidt, historic, the threat Laura. Number four. This episode is a documentary style. Unique. Take on the west wing where a camera crew from a PBS show is following around CJ for one day and the access in the title presumably refers to the access. They're given to c. j.. But I think there's also some level to about CJ's access to the truth and to the president and all the things that she sometimes left out of are we witnessing an impromptu Rops us. I'm winging it. Damn nice as episode unfolds, there's a standoff with the. FBI on an island off the coast of Washington state, and it brings up flashbacks from a time before the west wing series started a crisis that happened in the early days of the Bartlett administration, but Casey creek. This one is a weird one. It is a weird one notoriously, I think among the fandom advise for the title of worst episode of the west wing, I suppose if you were going to say, what is the worst flavor of ice cream? You could pick one? Probably it would be this flavor. No, it is still ice cream. Israel, the west wing. But if you go to Jerry's, do not get access now. Exactly. Right. Yes, not a great episode. It's conceptually flawed. I mean, it's not even. It's not that the writing is bad to me, the directing isn't bad, acting is in. It's all great as always. But to me episode doesn't really make any sense just conceptually as I watch it. I wonder why why? Why? Because because by definition as fans of the west wing, we have an all access pass. So all we get with the idea of this, hey, we'll do it behind the scenes. Look at this show that is entirely a behind the scenes. Look at the White House staff and what we get through this is restricted access. So for one episode, we get to see less than what we usually see because we're part of a film crew that doesn't have full access is just inane perhaps in anticipation t. reaction the first lines of this episode. Are why? That's the right question. Wow, that's almost too on the nose kind of is right. She's asking, why are we doing this? They should have ended it there. You know what? CJ you're right. There's no reason to do this. Well, I think conceptually this episode, I don't know for this fact, but I'm gonna speculate that this episode actually has its roots in an ER episode. The season opener from season four episode. One of season four is an episode called ambush in which a documentary crew. I feel like I've seen that episode and forgot about it. Yeah, yeah. Posts up in the hospital and they follow everyone round and there's an interesting set of overlaps in that the entire the same croon, its entirety of your mazing. I think both of these shows must be John wells ideas, but some interesting tie-ins besides just the concept, the episode guest stars, Lisa Eggleston as one of the directors of the documentary also guest stars, Nick Offerman. Plea, but the beast, one to me is the the episode was directed by Tommy Shlomi. Interesting. Wow. So a lot of shared DNA that episode, whatever you might want to say about the conceptual conceit. It was a huge, huge episode for ER. I mean, a lot of press or huge audience audience, all of that. Yeah. Well, I think so, I, I mean, I can understand then where the creative spark might have come for John, but I would have thought after a couple of minutes discussion, it would be clear that bringing a camera crew to cover CJ and her band of aids that we've never met before would be less than eliminating. I don't understand how that idea got out of committee. Right. I mean, I think it's fair. I think what you said is exactly right. I completely agree with you about the idea that the notion that a documentary crew is there to give you an inside look at what it's like to be a staffer in the White House is like, well, we've been tuned. This is season five, right? That's the premise of the show John. But one thing that I thought was interesting is that to have an episode that exists kind of outside of the world of the west wing, like we're all watching sort of within one framework of of the world, you know where we get to go behind closed doors because we're there with the characters were watching this TV show in which the characters, but this imagines a world outside of it. I think it's interesting because it gives us a chance to see how people who are not watching the west wing, get to view some of these people. Like if you didn't watch the show and and you're in the world of the west wing, what is your actual perspective on Toby Ziegler? It comes through things like this. So as a sort of an artifact of the world, I think it's really neat. I actually liked the idea. I probably would have been one of the people who voted out of committee in terms of the strength of the concept if that were sort of leaned into more, you know that this was presenting the conceit of inside access, but. Actually what it is showing what people outside of the White House or actually given and delivered except that even in that fictional world, we're told that they're seeing this after the Bartlett, administration is no more, which is also strange conceptual thing for this. It is. We have these. I think multiple super fake moments of are normally cool under fire heroes being very thrown off because a camera crew is following them, but it's clear that they can restrict the camera crews access at anytime. And as we know ultimately, they can keep them from releasing anything for years for three more years. This is supposed to come out. This isn't the first year of the second term, and we're told that this thing is going to air for the first time after Bartlett's presidency is complete. Yeah. So I mean, one just seems weird. Like, what do we want to profile of CJ crag for now? Now, and it doesn't give. That's the other thing overall, that really blows my mind about this episode. So obviously, the huge thing would be we were just gonna do this profile during the first year of the second administration of CJ crag and this incredible. We happen to be there when this incredible situation in the San Juans happens. But now three years later, we're getting the kind of report that doesn't dig in to anything beyond what they found out that another is. Now they would have three more years to have looked into what happened that day and it would be like an incredibly in-depth. They kinda yada yada, yada. It's. Thing is is you know whatever they ended it the next day and then they held onto it for three years. They didn't make it into a post mortem on this incredible national event or even just saying like, as we all know, right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, right. They're treating it as if we're finding out for the first time like we're watching it as it had no, not that happened three years ago. It's just realized it would be the equivalent of February of twenty seventeen after Trump has taken office PBS is like, and now here's a special on Josh earnest as President Obama's press secretary in twenty thirteen. Right. And you'd think, I guess that's interesting, but aren't there other things that we need to be and that it would have happened on the day that Osama bin Laden was killed. Yeah, exactly. But then there would be only just really initial information as much information as you had that day. Right. And as if they hadn't done any further work on this special in the ensuing three years, it's ludicrous. It's not credible. It doesn't Elvis. Nothing makes sense, and we'll get, we'll get into the, you know. A closer look at specific scenes and stuff on top of it. All. I think what we get is a very uncharacteristic look at CJ that I don't recognize. Yes, so then this thing is supposed to be super illuminating about this character. We love turns out to be just an offering up of a lesser unrecognizable CJ. Yeah, I think time is the thing that I found most confusing about this whole episode. You know, by dropping an episode in the middle of season five that in the voice over by the narrator says, however, for national security purposes, the release of this documentary was prohibited until the administration left office. It means that everything that we have watched and are about to watch is actually a flashback that is true in the context of the flow of these episodes. Everything like the world in which we are watching these episodes actually not concurrent with the. Administration, it's all over. If we're able to watch something from after the second very good point. They don't even mention that Leo's dead. Well, I mean, really could've ended with at least in loving memory of, I mean, Leo mcgarry there are of course things that this missed because they did do it in season five and there's some things you know the, the end, the episode with the, you know, the narrator has this line. Now this is a spoiler for anyone who has not watched me this. I have not watching where you're going, but you know, but I do know some, you know, as I mentioned to you before, I know you know, some of the major beats about what's going to happen alert spoiler alert remove the kids from the room spoiler it for the next thirty seconds. Go ahead and click your fast forward button arms j. Craig, who allowed us to share a day with her in the west wing remains the only woman to serve two terms as the White House press secretary that giving too much. We know that that's not actually true, and of course they didn't know that yet. So you can't really fault them for it, but it's evidence of how dangerous it is to have this kind of before the stories over. We're gonna tell you. How the story ends maybe in season seven, Bob Newhart will wake up next to Suzanne push it and they'll realize that access. It was just a dream a spoiler alert. Oh, sorry, doubles another thirty seconds. If you haven't watched all the way through to the end of Newhart. Yeah, so that part of the timing is weird. The idea that now everything's a flashback. The next episode that we're going to watch is a flashback, but. They didn't necessarily anyway, the other part of that makes things sort of screwy time-wise is he had this whole idea that there was a crisis in the early days. Casey creek now, Casey creek? Yes. Also really rich. We have never heard about and has never come up even in previous episodes when there have been b. i. standoff, let's just jump back for a second to the state dinner, Sean. If you remember Mendis, inexperience, there is a crisis for Mandy about, you know, in terms of what the FBI might do, what they might not do when there are hostages, Casey creek never came up in that episode. Like we've got a new crisis that apparently haunted the Bartlett presidency, but we've not heard about it yet. Right. So that's a little bit strange. And then, yeah, as you were saying, the episode kind of cuts into CJ's profile and her level of accurate because we did see her sort of at the beginning. Of the administration, and she did quite well in flashback. Right? We thought shed hit the ground running. Yeah, but now they're saying, oh, actually she was a little bit slow to figure things out, right? And even worse is the knock to a reputation that the contemporaneous CJ takes, which is she's really offer game because of this camera. She clearly by both her actions and behavior as we have observed them. And by definition as the press secretary is the most press savvy member of the entire staff, and she seems really thrown that people happen to be covering her this day. There are all these weird moments. And now all of us. Davidson. No, we don't. I'm so sorry. Right? They're all very, very badly covering this. Something is up and you think CJ would say, hey, guys, you got to turn up the camera for minute or go into Leo's office, but you can't follow me just sort of Weirs her a Plum and her Ilan why she so thrown because this camera crews following her as a crisis develops. Yeah. But just for a second back to the Casey creek part, here's what narrator said about that incident. Casey creek also haunted president, Bartlett's young, press secretary, Jay Craig's naievety about the power of her podium. Many to question her abilities to deliver the news of the nation. It would be months before she regained the confidence of the White House press corps and the Bartlett administration. Well, that didn't happen. I feel like that was a crisis that we didn't see, you know and I, it just feels like through exposition. They're just saying, hey, this thing happened and these were the consequences. We've never seen those consequences and but we're supposed to just sort of take for granted that this happened in these were the emotional stakes, but it was never earned there. There's nothing in this episode to earn it. You know that we'd get some some footage of a bumbling young, Jay, if you're going to rep con, yes, it should be something that, oh, and now understand this aspect of CJ never knew this thing happened, but it makes sense instead, it's just this thing. Well, I'm telling you this. She was terrible at her job in the early days and her hair looked like this. There's one bit of past history that we get that I think fits exactly what you're talking about the correct way. You know the appropriate way which is we find out from Toby that the way that they I started were. Together was he was working on a senatorial race, and he discovered CJ at a PR firm, and that's great because we've kind of wondered, how did they, I had like, oh, that that scratches in a little issue might have had a good to know. And actually it's a great little piece of writing and acting. I love have you said we were probably thirty six points behind when we got CJ and. With her help. I think we gained two or three points before we lost. It was very funny. I want to mention something that I that I really liked in this episode while still being the end, I guess, kind of round through the the closing credits. There were lots of little things that I that I did. Actually, I grab this episode, but they were unfortunately kind of wrapped in the pursuit of the thing that I didn't like. So it's hard to separate out. So Wilson. Cruz? Yeah, Wilson Cruz. Who is terrific people know him from my so called life. They might know him from any number of things most recently, he was in Star Trek discovery, and he was also in thirteen reasons why I really like this character and I thought he played the character really well like that first interview that he gives on camera talking about how he got the position I'm instantly. I'm like, oh, this is an interesting character. He was criticizing the the White House, and then he got a job sort of like an Ainsley style story. And then he comes in, he says. I think my job really is to protect her to help her protect the president. I just I wanted more from this character and I thought we get to go round and round and round and round with Ryan Pierce and and even Rena is there no room for Jackson to be a recurring character. And and I think unfortunately, he's only in this episode and one more episode. Yeah. No, I even liked the little sort of a gang of young helpers that Carol helps corral for CJ in that little meeting they have and they have some laughs and I like the whole vibe and I thought you don't need the episode access to meet these people. Right? Why haven't we seen them before. It's a shame and I'd like to see them in the future. So I I like that aspect as well. Also, you bring up the interviews. I thought something. One nice aspect of this episode is seeing characters with whom we're very familiar and Murph ameliorate their linguistic tics and how they express themselves. They all sound a little bit different when they're interviewed. As indeed people tend to thought it was very good writing and good acting. And I suspect there's a little bit of the some sort of lifting of the word for word rule that always existed under Aaron Sorkin, and I suspect they were given a little leeway. They kind of come up with the words and their own or to approximate a little bit because they felt like real interviews rather than a scripted moments thought that was done. Well, I agree. That's exactly what I was thinking of. When I mentioned Jack's, I interview on on camera. He says, actually went to Howard University here in DC. I wrote for the paper, the student paper there, and I was writing articles basically criticizing the administration really about their issues on gay issues and Michelle issues. And I thought any really well written script character wouldn't use issues three times in one sentence with two different meaning. I notice the same moment about the way people actually spent is the way people actually speak in. And I was wondering I was like, how, how did they make that part? So right on Josh, you aren't in this episode. There is no readily in this episode. Do you have any? I did you remember with the making of this episode at all, or resist just wrote, oh, no one week where you weren't there? Yeah, this is probably three and a half weeks that I was not there between access and the Supremes right. That was probably Josh for the month off, and I can't remember because I'm in the credits. I mean, the opening credits. Maybe I was still maybe at this point I was getting paid for episodes. I wasn't in, which means that it was a fantastic month. Because nobody likes getting paid for network and more than I. Well, that's great except for now you can't answer my questions. That's true. Although, in fairness, had I been in the episode probably would have the same recall and affiliated answer your question. I like that. I also watched a couple times just to try and figure out the performance of it. The where Donna speaks are wet in her charm, and I think that the people, the press really respect her and and so that she can keep a very strong but friendly relationship with the press. And I think that that's she says a few times on camera, and I was thinking, you know, when Dona speaks even in high pressure moments, she's usually very composed. She doesn't say, and I was wondering, is this the camera causing, you know some level of insecurity on her part? Or are they really trying to layer that in so that we really feel it? I don't know. What did you think? Do you buy those as this is just Donna or. Yeah, I took it as Donna being a little on edge, a little nervous about being interviewed for TV. One of the things that I liked so much about the end of Donna's speech there when she says that's important. I mean, what do I know? But this is my opinion. You are interviewing me the way that she trails off and kind of laughs about it. Having interviewed Geno Moloney. I thought that seemed really like her that felt very much like genuine. Yeah. And then I started to wonder if maybe they had just sort of outlined stuff and let the actors improvise. Some parts seems possible to me too. Here's the gist of what you need to say, say, hey, like not just the way she said it, but that idea, I mean, what do I know? But this is my opinion. You are interviewing me, right? That's very general. One of our episodes the first time I watched it. It was only the second time that I started to really, you know, zoom in on that the first time I was like, wow, that's the seems great. It feels like they've really made it feel like this is a different way of seeing these people which actually hints at the potential that was there in this kind of setup. In other words, I attack the entire premise. I imagined there could have been something interesting about seeing how these people act given the camera crews presence, but I just felt that was missed. We didn't really get anything extra. We got a little bit less than we normally get. We get some moments that I don't find particularly credible of people being really thrown like, oh, I gotta tell CJ that Leo on, sir, but there's a camera groom here. Yeah, which I don't find highly eliminating. In fact, I don't even buy. I think they would say, hey, CJ. You got to Leo needs to talk to you, and she would say, you guys can't come with me, right? But that there could have been something it could have been somehow more. Interesting to have this camera crew there. I actually found the mechanics of the plot really kind of hard to follow. We often talk about the show being head of us. This didn't feel like either it was a head of us or anything like that. I just didn't really get everything that was going on, you know, beat by IBI or rather might tension wandered, which is very unusual. You know, I'd be thinking about the mechanics of the show and then they then they'd say, oh, the FBI something or other number like, wait where we at in terms of who knows what about the thing and where we going with it to an extent where I think that that plotline, which is really supposed to be, it's kind of a b. plotline. But in a normal episode, it would be the plotline of the plot line. And this one is really these documentary crew is filming CJ, which relegates what would be the actual a plot line to be plotline. And I think that that story suffers from having that sort of secondary position. I agree had a similar thought like, wow, they burned this off and what could have been a decent episode. Maybe they should have just realized this is the episode. Oh, that wants to be made. And the camera crew thing doesn't really work. It didn't feel like there was so much story there that we weren't able to get to in the standoff story. No, they just they could have built out that storyline and it could've carried an entire episode. I think there's a way that this manifested for me most poignantly was. I was so happy that my casper was in this episode. You know, so Clark. Yes. Great. Always happy to see Clark now. They've very explicitly make my point of earlier, which is that he's waiting for her. I one point NC Jay's office. He needs to talk to her and he says, I don't want that camera in here. And so the door is shut and the camera crews face and normally we'd get to go into that room with them. But because we're, we have the point of view of this camera crew with restricted access. We now just have a scene that we don't get to sit. Yeah, thanks guys. You know, if you weren't here filming today, we will to see what their listen to what they're talking about. Also, as you were mentioning. We have these scenes with CJ and her staff her aides and her assistant deputies, press secretary. Yes. And it does make me feel like, why couldn't they have been woven in here? And there you know, it's not like it had to just be CJ and Carol in her office. There are many examples of sort of characters who are part of the texture of the west wing without being big parts of it. I mean, Bonnie and ginger and Ron Ostrow. There are lots of reporters who we've seen throughout the entire series of the west wing, and we've never had to, you know, spend too much time with any of them. We kind of know their faces and we know their names and, and that's it. Like there's room. I think for a recurring deputy, press secretary. Why don't we have one? Why don't we have on? And then we get Wilson Cruz and a couple of others introduced here, and he's a feels like a big name to drop in and then disappear. If we're seeing in this episode, the daily ritual in CJ. Office every morning. There's thirty people crammed in there. You know, doing a rundown, how is it? We've never seen that before and we've never seen any of them ever before. You know, it's not. I agree. Yeah, it's very odd, but I like it. And so I just wish that were part of it. Speaking of CJ support staff, though, I will say, I think my favorite part of the entire episode is when Carol gets interviewed by the documentary. Well, you know, I'm I'm split on that. Really. I love any extra time for Carol because I love Melissa fits and she's terrific, and she's terrific in this episode, but I did write down, you think Chevra has to lie to the press. Gosh, that's a tough question to answer the camera. Like that's a rookie response. I mean, that's really what Carol has to say, Carol who couldn't have CJ's back anymore. Ooh, does she li- kinda rough to answer? I'm like, wow, that answer Carol. That's a good point. I think I folded that in with Toby saying, oh, she withholds information, you know, with the rest of that and I was giving her the benefit there, but you're right on its own. She's basically saying, maybe she lies. Yeah. I mean, I would think she'd be fired for that. Right. If the interview came out for years earlier. Yeah. Well, CJ still had a job and Carol did to, I guess I was. I had skipped ahead to the end. She's best boss. I couldn't have better job. I really look at CJ as my mentor. I think that just that was really wonderful and sweet. It's the kind of thing where like the, you know, the Toby reveal that he found her for a senatorial race. This is just a piece of exposition that illuminates their relationship and other context. We wouldn't have gotten there wouldn't be necessarily a moment where Carroll says to someone explicitly CJ as my mentor, but it completely fits. And it is just nice to hear that it gives this depth to it and it doesn't feel like it's ret conning changing anything. But at the same time, enriches what we've seen before and what will come after agreed. Maybe that's why they did this stupid film grew episode. 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Rather than all of the work that I'm gonna put in to create custom CSS and all the stuff I can get everything that I need with squarespace. I'm putting myself out of work, basically squarespace makes it very easy to get creative with your website. That's right. There are beautiful. Applets and modules that you can just drag and drop in place and they just work. That's right. So if you've got a blog or a blog or something to sell some other slog any kind of lock, if you're selling logs, you can do it through squarespace, go start your website now at squarespace dot com slash west wing, and you'll get a free trial when you're ready to launch us, the offer code west wing and save ten percent off your first purchase of a website or domain. And now back to the show. On the heels of my praise for that moment. Sure. Will also say one thing that bothered me is that Carol is not in focus. Is that true? Yeah, the focus is off on that shot and I feel like that's not an accident. That was give some kind of something about the run in gutter similitude and quality of it. But that actually strikes me as false. It's a set shot where they have like they go to it a few times, lock it off and yeah, exactly. Get it in focus point. That seemed crazy to me this documentary crew that has. I mean, the guy at the beginning when CJ says when she's answering the question, why she says, why am I letting you tell me? Is that what you're asking? Me. Pitch, but probably surprised when people, except I'd seen your work exactly thinking. There are some parts of this where it's just not great documentary work like that. Get your focus right. And then to their these little moments here and there that bugged me a lot as someone who works in nonfiction, yes, storytelling a little bit. You know, I'm not a documentary filmmaker, but the idea of cross cutting your narrator and your main interview. Subjects voices is crazy to me. Odd, isn't it? It drives me nuts that the narrator hasn't finished saying his sentence. It's the narrator. So you really can you get to choose your timing? There hasn't finished his sentence and then CJ. They start CJ up on her sentence, which either feels like a huge editing mistake or or they're saying they did it on purpose. And the last word of the narrator. Sentenced doesn't really matter. Channel Fifty-three offers constant coverage of six. Eighteen hundred Pennsylvania. It was ever laid back job. Wow. So who did the narration for the documentary? It's a guy named will Lyman not Josh Bailey. There's not Josh Bailey. It's will Lyman whose voice is also heard in the dosage keys. Most interesting man in the world commercials, very nice. He's the one who says when in Rome do as he does. He is the most interesting man in the world. I think I like thirty seconds of his voice over more than our. Felt a little journey after a while. I was like anybody still watching this documentary, but it also felt like the right style for the true that kind of yes, for a bad boring documentary. One of the things that I really admired about this episode. This is pretty nerdy, but I really liked the way that they mixed will Limon's voice the q. on his voice is kind of rounded off. It's very warm and it has a kind of a vintage feel to it because a lot of the high end is is kind of rolled off, which means that it doesn't have. It doesn't have the same kind of credibly quality that you would expect a modern microphone. Modern narration to have. It gives it this kind of Walter Cronkite gravitas to just an it instantly puts it into this world that I think it gives it this credibility. I thought it was a really nice detail. So is there a sound editor to shout out? Is that who would be? I think it would be the re recording mixer there to recording mixers credited there, Dan Highland and Gary Dhiraj IRS. So shout out to those guys. All right. Well then why wasn't the FBI director replaced after the fictional Casey creek? There's not. A lot of turnover in our no. But in the realm of zero, other than Mandy, exactly. Amanda Mandy wasn't fired so much as she was disappeared. That's how the FBI director kept his job. That's right. He's the only one who knows what they did with me which end zone she's buried in and around for insurance. And then the other job that has a lot of Kern over as White House counsel. Right. Here's something that I was touched by a compelling seen, and that is CJ's having to take a brief phone call from her dad on the middle of this day. Interesting. Split decision on this then. Oh, you didn't like that. I thought it felt a little bit like too much of a visible plant and pay off kind of thing. I really liked the first part where where her dad gets mentioned or is your mother now she died. Sorry. That's okay. About your father. He's he's in Dayton, Ohio, since we know what we know. It's really nice to see her how she answers that. She says he's in Dayton, that's only when pressed that she then has to answer the question about reveal that he has Alzheimer's. She's. Originally just sort of avoiding it. Like it's the fact of her mother's death is a fact, and so she can talk about it and right, and it's not private for her, but then you can see that she has some resistance better. That's Alzheimer's, and I thought that that was really nice should've left it at that. Yes, I think maybe I agree with you. I guess alternately, I'm I like the way she played it, and I think I probably agree with you that we didn't need that extra scene, but given it, I thought it was well done. I think the other thing that bothered me about the Alzheimer's stuff is again, it's this mixed bag. I really loved when they mixed in real images of a young Allison Janney that was awesome. I, they should have resisted the urge to use that rollercoaster shot. I thought they should have resisted using it in conjunction with her talking about her dad or talking to her dad. Like it's one thing to be like, oh, I'm the narrator. I'm telling you about CJ and then you know, from her young days and you you, you get to see some young which is, but to take the audio of her call with her father and then be like, oh, and by the way, we're going to show you some images that felt manipulative. Yeah, that was laying it on a little thick and then super jamming on top of that that like what a roller coaster this job is, and she's on a roller coaster. This episode access coming after the Supremes put me in mind of when my kids were much younger and they would come home from a sleepover which they were just absolute angels and other. Best behavior and wonderful. And then back at my house, they would completely melt down and be a nightmare. That was the Supremes into access. It's like everything came together and they made it incredibly magical episode of the west wing and season five, and then it all went to in the next episode. I wonder if it's because they knew that they had such a great episode in the Supremes that they were like, this one will cover for this one. You know, we've gone a little bit of credibility here, so if we're going to sneak one in might as well do it right after everybody is thinking about how great your well, I choose to that in the sense that having made this episode that could have played it at any point. That's what I was thinking too. That could have come at any point because it's not part of the content. There may have been some reason to create this weird time warped episode that they could then use when they fall behind elsewhere in the schedule or something like that. But of course, I'm just making that up. Maybe we're gonna ask you lie. I hesitate to reach out to anybody because I don't. Want anybody. We know to listen to this episode, I know, but just to cover our bases a little bit with some data so on, I am db uses can vote on episodes and give them a rating of one to ten. So on. I am db of all of the west wing episodes. This one really is ranked last. Is that true? Or you're able to end you're able to see the order? Yes. The lowest ranked episode is access. The highest ranked episode. You might not be surprised to learn his two cathedrals two cathedrals that would have been my guess, but of the episodes from season five, the highest ranked is the Supremes Supremes. So you really do have the highest ranked episode certainly the most well, loved season five episode followed by the least loved how about that. And if you throw out the highest rate in the lowest rated you get the will presents. I think that this is a tough assignment. You know, I'm impressed in a lot of ways by how they were able to capture the basically. They had to learn how to make an entirely new show for one episode. And I think that in a lot of ways, it really succeeded in terms of like the stylistically they were able to do that. I don't like that show as much as the west wing. Yeah, no, I absolutely agree with you. And I'm sure we've torn this episode of part too much in the sense because it's still the west wing, and it's still enjoyable, and the acting is good, and the writings fine. And Alex graves is a great director, and I agree. They really did pull off a feet and I just too much of the time I was thinking to what end that conceptually it's so flawed. That is shame that the amount of effort and artistry that they put into it was put into it for these ends. One outcome that was positive is this episode was submitted as part of Alsace Janis season five best actress win. That's insane. I mean, I get it like, and by the way. To have a CJ Centric episode and be like, wow, that was that wasn't great is almost unthinkable. She's such a star. She's so great. I love CJ and I love AJ. It's just, you know, any average episode has. I think a better served CJ than this particular episode. I don't believe the CJ this episode. Here's an interesting maybe controversial observation. I think that as universally agreed upon how fantastic the character CJ isn't. How fantastic Allison Janney is the episodes that focus on CJ are actually some of the weaker ones, or at least they're all out. There polarizing access is one, the long by is another long, goodbye. They're outliers. I mean, by by design, obviously, you know, you get one written by John Robin Bates in the midst of another ninety by Aaron Sorkin or something like that. And then you get this weird time warped as you say, stylistically different episodes. So yeah, they're odd. I mean, that's also it's an ensemble show. So. When you focus solely or largely on a single character. This always it's you're, you're tinkering with the DNA of shabby love. Yeah, I think really the end of season three, you know, with the black VERA Wang. That's probably I think my favorite CJ Centric episode all the stuff around Simon Donovan where she'd go. You have the story in kind of like really top Aaron Sorkin four. You're right. That's the quintessential CJ story. There's a great little moment here. We got a cameo I believe in credited cameo when CJ pulls into work in the morning. Great, goodness rampant. That's Doug Ornstein who's the was the first AD on the show? Oh, yeah. Yeah, it's sort of funny. It seemed says super nice to see a good first. AD in Dougie is one has to sort of get everybody to task and on schedule and to see him o this miss Craig. Oh, I see. Oh, she's great those great. And then somebody is because hang on that was like, oh, that's the Doug. I know the first idea is often the person who has to yell places has to yell quiet on the set. There was a person who does a lot of yelling on keep the trains running. Yep, there was of course, the biggest IRA of the mall. In the middle of this episode when CJ does say, ever have to lie to the press. Sometimes lots of times I withhold information for valid reasons, but you can't lie. You're on the risk of damaging your credibility in front of a bunch of really smart people. And if they stop trusting you the system's broken, guess what. It's broken. Let me just the fact that she would refer to the press as a bunch of really smart people. Yeah, shows an attitude. The house paint? Yeah. Long-gone. One thing that's mentioned in this episode is the press flack jacket. Oh yes. We see the previous press secretary talk about it and that actually is a real tradition. Yes. And without giving a too much of a spoiler it will. It will reemerge on the west wing in real life. The flack jacket is not an actual flack jacket. It's a tuxedo vest that they stick notes in the pockets of there will be more dealings with the flack jacket. Oh, okay. One thing that I liked again, this felt very real was Martin Sheffield. That's this former press secretary says it one point. It is a tough job tougher. Now we have a fraternity, former press secretaries, and we get together. It was like sort of a club like there's maybe eight or so guys still kicking. And you know, before we get to the part at the end where the narrator says, oh, she's the only woman to have served terms as press secretary. Just that little variety calls it a fraternity and then it's eight or so guys, just it's just a nice moment of underscoring how much of an anomaly CJ is again, this idea of the public perception of these people. You know, we have this love of Toby despite his sort of unfriendly prickly outside. We know he's this tender hearted guy and really thoughtful and stuff, but he doesn't come off well in this like he seems like a prick, and I think it's really nice how they have underscore. You know what we're told often, which is like people think that he's an unfriendly guy. He comes across as unfriendly. And so for the public, they probably look at this guy and think of him as what we get past. This ends at this level of like. Yeah, he comes off as being kind of cold and maybe not. So charismatic. That's true. I like even before he's being directly interviewed, the first shot we have of a scene in which Toby appears that's being covered by the press occur. Just his discomfiture as portrayed by Richard is fun. You can just see him sort of. I'm the camera like Toby's not a show pony. He's not excited about being on TV and it's subtle and funny. Yeah, another person who doesn't, I think come across so well in this episode is Charlie. Surprisingly, I'm trying to remember now charleena's episode. He's trying to sort of figure out a time with Carol. Like when you know there, there's got knows what's the title of the episode is access and a lot of ways access goes through Charlie, and there's something about the way that he is protecting the president's time schedule. It doesn't really jive in some ways with my image of how Charlie interacts with his coworkers, there's almost condescending attitude. You know, when he's talking to Carol. Glac? Nope. No, for thirty three. Forty five is a conference call. Yeah, maybe he's fronting a little bit for the camera. It's just not not how I think of Charlie. Yeah, it made made me feel like he was maybe fronting maybe like acting like he was more important or something than than we've seen. He's always been so humble, and then he copped this attitude, those very not humble. You're right. It's interesting with this episode came out when it did. You know soon after this we'd get just the glut of documentary style. Comedy shows we import the office from the UK and then we'd get every show that that was sort of modeled after that both parks and recreation. But also like modern family unit became like the sort of for a while. It seemed like it was the day rigor mode for TV. Comedy was to do this like mock you mentally style show within a show kind of thing. You're right. And I wonder if this episode could have. Made after that happened. I feel like in some ways it couldn't because it would be like this is now the world of comedy. Only you can't do it as a drink, or maybe they'd see, you know, these are ways in which this works and you know where you can acknowledge the Cameron. We don't take some lessons from it because I think it's done so well in so many of those shows. This is a good time maybe to mention that coming up later, this autumn, we going to do a special episode of the west wing meekly about parks and recreation do that's going to be fun and how it was influenced by the west wing, just like our episode with Hamilton with Lynn minimum, Randa. And Tommy Cal, we're going to be doing one focusing on parks and rec, except that I'll be there. It's right. Until then though we'll be continuing on with season five. Although next week we're going to be taking a break to regroup and getting ready for this last stretch of four episodes before we wrap this one up. Well, we're almost halfway through the series. That's true. Getting close to that halfway exciting if you'd like to leave a comment for us about this episode house, what you thought of access or our conversation about access at the west wing, weekly dot com or on our Facebook page or on Twitter or Instagram? I just remember one more thing. I like that in gales fishbowl. In this episode, there was a little TV camera, and I like to think that it wasn't a little thing that was in her bowl so much as there was a little film crew. Right? Filming gale as well. Yeah. Yeah. They were just getting some some bureau under the Ciro sushi roll, boom. Also, in the meantime, you can listen to Richie's award winning podcast song explode her in which by the way, I will never overlap minority with interview subjects voice. That's right. I probably would. You know, why would you? You can give us money in exchange for goods at west wing, weekly dot com. Slash merch or even better. You can give us money in exchange for nothing west wing, weekly dot com. Slash donate. And if you'd like to look for a new podcast, check out our siblings at radio topiary dot FM, a project from PR ex, a curated collection of excellent, cutting edge, podcasts, radio, topa, dot FM. Thanks to our editors, Margaret Miller, Zack macneice, and our research assistant Nick song there the salt of the earth. Okay. Okay. What's next. Hey, listen up on September twenty. Fifth ninety. Nine percent invisible is launching a new project. Ninety. Nine percent invisible is Roman Mars is podcast. Roman Mars found radio topa of which the west wing weekly is a member. This is a special project called articles of interest, a six part series by ninety. Nine percent invisible producer, Avery truffle men. It's a longtime passion project for her. It explores what we wear and why? If you want to check it out episodes, we'll run twice a week for three weeks and you can find them within the ninety nine percent invisible feed. Avery is amazing if you don't already know that she's an incredible reporter and producer and also has one of the best voices in podcasting hands down and you'll learn all kinds of amazing facts about the clothes you and your loved ones where they'll explore questions like, why are children's clothes. So bright and loud wire jeans, blue, how come women's clothes have no pockets and how Hawaii helped create casual Friday. The stories we've together to create a bigger picture of what we wear and why. Matters. Let's listen to a clip. Introducing a new six part series from ninety nine percent invisible. It's called articles of interest and it's a show about what we wear. And so maybe the ideas about Canada. Deals about class, you hope to a piece of cloth. We'll see. Any fool can where close, but if you ain't got the attitude installed at carried off, man, you're just a close look for it in your ninety. Nine percent invisible podcast feed. You can hear all six episodes of articles of interest on ninety nine percent invisible or learn more at articles of interest dot club. Radio. Ex-.

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