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Discussion Headscratchers / TheWestWing

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Jul 2nd 2014 at 5:10:39 AM •••

This seems more like Complaining About Characters You Dont Like than a headscratcher; Josh might be arrogant and might overestimate his own abilities, but that's a character flaw, not a plot hole.

  • The whole character of Josh Lyman. More often than not, he's causing trouble for the Bartlet Administration, is overly confidant of how good he is, and doesn't ever seem capable at his job. If he didn't have his support staff helping him, he would keep on ruining things. And to top it all off, he acts as if he's some god among men, able to do things and get things done, when it's someone else who saves his bacon or calls in a favor to get the job done.
    • Josh may make a lot of mistakes, but at the end of the day, his primary jobs are to staff the president, organise the white house staff's activities (Leo's job was more about handling the higher-level people, like Cabinet members, Senior Staff, etc), and beyond that, to liaise with congress. He was outstanding in the first two roles, and did a good job most of the time with the liaising (the primary exception being when he screwed up early in Season 5). Furthermore, Josh has shown himself to be incredibly politically astute... just as long as you never let him be seen in public. Most of his screwups were in side efforts (like meeting with certain people), and the real question isn't why he was kept on, but why he wasn't kept from those particular sorts of efforts. It's not like there weren't alternatives within the West Wing for those sorts of jobs.
    • OP here:I remember this bit with this rich kid intern in season 5 or 6 who Josh Lyman constantly berated, and thought he was teaching things, but it ended up that the kid was the one doing Josh's job behind his back, and Josh Lyman just praises himself to the kid about how he, Josh Lyman, did that. It seems that talking to anyone he disagreed with, at all, whether in private or in public, would end badly, and someone else would have to do the dirty work for him. As for staffing, remember the Star Trek fan? And Josh Lyman's mistake about Star Trek with the moral speech on not bringing your personal affiliations, even non-political ones to the White House? And how in the same episode someone else in the staff was proud of their sports baseball cap? So that's two out of the three, I guess he at least organized the White House's activities.
      • This troper agrees with the OP: Josh was just way too smug for someone who causes so many mistakes. And his badgering that intern who was wearing the Star Trek pin while he constantly talks about his love of the Mets just made him look petty and hypocritical. He's my least favorite character on the show (well, him and Will).
        • Josh was good at HIS job specifically. He tended to massively screw up given any job outside of the ones he was comfortable doing on a daily basis. There's a reason why he, the heir apparent, was NOT promoted into Leo's position as Chief of Staff. He's a great sidekick. A good person to have a few rungs down on the ladder; but not someone who has the capability to roll with a high pressure gig/shifting responsibilities. God help Santos...I almost wanted another season just to see Josh screw up massively as Chief of Staff without Donna to do half the work for him (plus a group of capable people working WITH him and not FOR him).
          • The fact that he wasn't promoted to Chief of Staff, though, seemed to be more so that he could go off and help with the Santos campaign (which he wouldn't have been able to do if he were tied down in such an important job with the administration) - Leo was trying to set him up to lead Santos's campaign/be Chief of Staff in the Santos administration, not snub him for any perceived incompetence.
            • Plus, maybe Leo thought that Josh wasn't ready for his job at the time of his heart attack while CJ was. Or, alternatively, he didn't think Josh should be Bartlet's chief of staff—he needed to establish a different relationship with another politician. Most of the reason that Bartlet and Leo work so well together is because of their past together—Josh needed to establish that kind of experience through a campaign with someone else (Santos.)
            • And yet, Santos does better each time he ignores Josh's advice. After a while, it seemed like he was hired so that Santos knew what course of action NOT to take.

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