"The Poet Laureate"
Episode Airdate 03/27/02

"I think you've gone around the bend."

You know how you're a Type-A personality? Yes, you…with the cell phone, PDA, pager, family, recreational activities, business affairs, personal affairs, drug habit, etc. Do you ever have a slow day? One of those days when all cylinders aren't firing? When you come into work, instead of initiating a corporate raid, firing the accounting and marketing department, demanding more stock options, having lunch with politicos, and calling your "special friend" to say that your 2:30 and 4:30 "meetings" have to be rescheduled, you decide instead to just write three plot lines instead of seven for this weeks television show that you write, direct, produce, and created.

I know the feeling. Sometimes I get out of bed at 11am instead of 10am and I don't go to Taco Bell until 2pm or 3pm just because I feel a little lazy.

I like to call this show a breather. There wasn't so much going on that you didn't have time to catch your breath. But it was a nice change of pace. A little kooky, a little wacky, a little politic-y.

The West Wing has brought us terrific cameos from delightfully well-placed actors. John Larroquette as the White House Counsel wielding a baseball bat followed by the even better Oliver Platt as his replacement (BRING BACK MORE BANTER BETWEEN HIM AND THE FIRST LADY!) come immediately to mind.

This week was no exception. Laura Dern as a folksy, left-winger Poet laureate…wow, what a perfectly harmonious character placement. Unfortunately, her character and storyline suffered from a day when Sorkin wasn't at his best. She wasn't developed well and her story went nowhere. Coming in all idealistic with dreams of being the savior of the anti-landmine treaty, yet we had no idea where she came from, who she was, nor what had created her passions. Yes, we got some clue to her land mine fetish late in the episode, but it was pedantic and expected.

We also never found out what drove Toby so madly head over heels for her in such a school-boyish way. Big missed opportunity there for developing Toby's character and for creating a potentially interesting recurring character in the form of an artistic voice and a love interest for Baldy.

That however was the only sore point of the episode.

Can I please say this now…PLEASE? WE GOT TO SEE AINSLEY! She came in from her shortened vacation, still dragging her luggage (with big red hearts on it), and she was perfectly flippant and whiney. Then later in the episode, she had that wonderfully flattering plum colored suit on and her long blond hair was soooo beautiful as it flowed around her body. That hair….mmmm. Her shower drain is so lucky.

Sam, always the wordsmith, referred to Ainsley as being "…slightly to the left of the Kaiser." Okay, she's conservative, but what's so great about her, and what makes me love her so much, is that she's independently conservative. She doesn't even pander to her own party. She has personal feelings and convictions that aren't based on any platform and she's both willing and able to back them up with truth and dignity. She stands out conservatively. I like that. I wish more people could say why they believe what they are told they think they should believe.

Oh, and when did she get a new office? She's not in the basement anymore. Did I miss something several episodes back? Damned TiVo. (all opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the editor who would gladly pander for a free TiVo. - Derek)

I'm not even going to talk about Josh and Donna sparing over the nutballs on LemonLymon.com except to note that the "dictatorial leader who wears a mu-mu and chain smokes parliament cigarettes" sounds remarkably like one of my editors (Michael Goodson). (That one is not opinion, that's fact. - Derek)


The last line.

Where CJ confronts the POTUS about whether he knew the green light was on or not?

Welcome back, Mr. Magoo!

Kully Mandon

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