LadyGhosts of TV Past

The West Wing, “Dead Irish Writers” and “The U.S. Poet Laureate”

Today we’re covering two fascinating chapters in The West Wing universe. Let’s get boozy with FLOTUS and bitch about the Internet, shall we? 

Text reads "Two Questions about The West Wing."In “Dead Irish Writers” President Bartlet is hosting a birthday party for Abby, the night before she’s about to receive her punishment from the AMA. After a drunken (and, I might add, DELIGHTFUL) conversation with CJ, Amy and Donna, Abby decides to forfeit her medical license until after the Bartlets leave the White House. Additional plots resolve around Toby and the fantastic Lord John Marbury becoming fast friends about allowing an Irish terrorist to visit the White House, Donna becoming an accidental Canadian for a few hours, and Josh pouting, as he does.

In “The U.S. Poet Laureate,” the luminous Laura Dern’s most honored poet wants to confront the president about U.S. landmine policy, Toby is sent to talk her down, and Josh discovers the Internet. That last point is one that’s been discussed many times across many sites, but the gist is this: The website Television without Pity used to be an independently owned treasure-trove of smart, snarky, periodically horrible people who liked to talk about television. Sorkin was an infrequent poster in the early days of the show, until the shit hit the fan, as it often does on the Internet. You can read a comprehensive, if relatively biased, account of how all that went down here.

Let’s get to the questions!

Selena: Do you think Abby’s decision to forfeit her license was in her own best interests, or was it solely to help the president? Or maybe both?

Sally J.: I think it was both. It kind of stinks, but it’s the whole married and on a team philosophy. It was certainly the path of least resistance.

Selena: After reading the linked article above, I’ve gone back and forth on whether Sorkin created in the spirit of fun and humor, or if he was just being petty. What do you think?

Sally J.: Until you enlightened me, I was unaware of the off-screen drama between Sorkin and his fans. I remember watching this episode and laughing so hard when it originally aired. I’d like to think it was all in the spirit of fun, because I give people the benefit of the doubt.

Sally J.: In “Dead Irish Writers,” there’s a moment that passes between Josh and Donna as they are both ready for the ball, but Donna isn’t able to go until they get the Canada thing sorted out. It’s season three where I start wishing and hoping they’ll somehow get together. From what you know right now, in the middle of season three, is it feasible that their relationship could go outside the office?

Selena: This is tricky without spoiling anything, but I don’t think so. I’m sure some people can handle a mature partnership between a boss and a subordinate, I’m just not sure Josh has given us any indication he’s one of those people. Donna could, I think, but I don’t think Josh could. As Amy has proven to us, being Josh’s girlfriend is as exhausting as working for him, I’m not sure any woman could handle both at the same time.

Sally J.: Toby has a crush on the U.S. Poet Laureate! Toby has a crush on the U.S. Poet Laureate! You’ve always wanted Toby to be your boyfriend – what do you think he sees in Laura Dern’s character?

Selena: I think it’s her idealism, her love of words, and the fact that she’s the luminous Laura Dern.

P.S.: West Wing fans should totally check this out.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

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