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Recap / The West Wing S 01 E 16 Twenty Hours In LA

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The Senate is deadlocked on a bill involving an ethanol tax credit. Leo asks Vice President Hoynes to use his position as president of the senate to break the tie. Hoynes doesn't want to do this, partly because he's going to get flak from the Republicans, but also because he doesn't think the bill is a very good idea in the first place. Leo argues with him, but eventually agrees, and gets the President to agree to break the tie by allowing Senators Sam had pressured to vote the other way. President Bartlet then calls Hoynes and tells him he was right.

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President Bartlet and the rest of the staff, meanwhile, are in Los Angeles for a Hollywood fundraiser, which is thrown into jeopardy when Ted Marcus, the executive holding the fundraiser, threatens to cancel if Bartlet doesn't come out publicly against a bill being introduced prohibiting gays in the military. Josh and President Bartlet manage to patch things up and the fundraiser goes on as scheduled, but Bartlet still feels testy about the whole thing. Also in Los Angeles, they meet with a citizen's group that wants a constitutional amendment against flag-burning, and Al Kiefer, a polling expert, says they can sew up the election if Bartlet comes out in favor of it, while losing the election if he opposes it (or taking a hit if he does nothing). Bartlet and the other staffers don't think the issue is a big deal, and Joey Lucas confirms the polling shows it isn't a big deal, but does say the President should tell people not to do it because so many others feel so strongly about it.

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Speaking of Joey Lucas, it turns out Josh has a crush on her, but his hopes are dashed when it turns out Joey is sleeping with Al Kiefer. Also, it turns out Charlie and Zoey are dating, and Zoey has a new Secret Service agent guarding her named Gina Toscano.

This episode contains examples of:

  • The Cameo: David Hasselhoff and Veronica Webb appear as themselves at the fundraiser.
  • Expy / No Celebrities Were Harmed: Ted Marcus is based on movie/music mogul David Geffen.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: President Bartlet doesn't let Toby ride in the limo with him to the restaurant:
    Toby: What, I'm not coming in the car?
    President Bartlet: No, and you know why? Because you made fun of the guacamole.
    Toby: No I didn't.
    President Bartlet: I could tell you were thinking it.
    Toby: Fair enough.
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  • Foreshadowing: We'll see more from the two kids eyeing Zoey suspiciously after she leaves the restaurant.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When interviewing Gina, President Bartlet tells her it's not her job to tell him if Zoey is cutting English Literature class or anything like that. After he dismisses her, he tells her to tell him if Zoey is cutting English Literature, and Gina, with a smile, says, "No deal, Mr. President."
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ted Marcus bullies Josh into securing a meeting between him and President Bartlet by threatening to cancel the fundraiser. He ends up regretting it when Bartlet, pissed off in general over a number of different reasons and not appreciating Marcus throwing his weight around with Josh, promptly demonstrates why being on the receiving end of a US president's bullying is a lot more terrifying than a movie producer's could ever be.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: From President Bartlet's point of view, the fact the restaurant makes the guacamole right in front of him.
  • Papa Wolf: President Bartlet, in the most deceptive way possible, and to Zoey's annoyance.
    • In a non-direct family way, Bartlet also gets pissed when Ted Marcus tries to bully Josh about the gays-in-the-military bill and makes it clear in no uncertain terms to Marcus that that is not to happen again.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Donna's attempts to interpret poetry and encourage Josh to call Joey come off as this:
    Donna: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Josh. Do you know what that means? It means you should take this time to gather rosebuds, because later on you might not be able to.
  • Shipper on Deck: Donna towards Josh and Joey, though it turns out she has her reasons.
  • Those Two Guys: Ed and Larry are the only staffers left whom Leo can discuss the ethanol tax bill with.
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