Friday, 17 August 2012

S01E18: Six Meetings Before Lunch

OK, I'm putting it out there - CJ's The Jackal really isn't very good. That would be OK if it weren't for the fact that they make such a huge thing of how fantastic it is.

Of all the meetings that take place in this episode by far the most interesting is the one Josh has with Breckenridge. Maybe it's just a high school civics lesson but the way the two actors deliver the lines is great, especially the increasingly tense reactions from Josh (you just know he wants to scream "what about the Jews in Nazi Germany?!" way before he actually raises it). The other meeting that I like is the one between Sam and Mallory about school vouchers. When you realise that Sam doesn't actually believe  anything he was saying it makes his argumentation even more impressive.

It was about this time during my first watch that I realised that I really didn't care much for the Zoe/Charlie plotlines at all. Zoe comes across as whiney and any time spent on her campus life is just stealing time from shenanigans in the West Wing.

On the whole I find this episode to be pretty lacklustre. Nothing of note really happens other than the potential white supremacist stuff being developed a little. I almost get the feeling that Sorkin has a bucket with all the ideas he had that weren't good enough to make into episodes, and once in a while he reaches into it, grabs three or four and says "if I put these all together it should fill a show". This is one of those episodes.

Random observations:

For the record, the six meetings are:
Mallory's meeting with Sam.
Josh's meeting with Breckenridge.
Mandy's meeting with Toby.
CJ's meeting with Zoe.
The meeting of secret service agents.
CJ's meeting with PotUS.

There are other random conversations between various characters, but these seem like the main six to me.

Episode grade: C+

So what did you all think?

Spoilers for the future follow.

Josh says in Noel that nobody shouts at the president in the Oval Office, but CJ has a good go at it here.


  1. It should be noted that The Jackal isn't really a CJ thing. It's an Allison Janney thing. She did it for the cast and crew, and Sorkin loved it, so he stuck it in the show.

    CJ didn't shout at the president in the Oval. She raised her voice, a vital distinction. For an example of CJ shouting/screaming, see the scene where Leo talks to her and Sam in the corridor and she responds, "What the hell made you think I would scream when there are people around?!?"

    1. I knew about the Allison Janney thing, and Sorkin loving it. Allegedly Allison did it so well that they had to tell her to tone it down for the show. Quite why they had to do that I don't know, but my theory is that is went down like a lead balloon and they had to come up with some reason it wasn't as good as they claimed (a bit like Matt Albie's comedy writing prowess on Studio 60).

  2. I find it a little contrived that Sam keeps holding his position on school vouchers. It doesn't make sense if he's also trying to have a date with Mallory.

    Also, Mandy's character is reduced to nothing at this point in the season. Panda bears?!