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Soup Of This Day #55: Coming To Give Something To Get Nothin’

August 23, 2011

Clinton and Nixon at the White House
Nixon and Clinton at the White House. Note the wingback chairs. They look comfy don’t they? – Photo: Bob McNeely, White House Photo Office, 1993. Neither Bob McNeely or the White House Photo Office have any affiliation with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

I like The West Wing. The TV show that is, not necessarily the actual office. Although the office itself is probably nice. I’ve seen photos and they have wing-back chairs. I like a good wing-back. You can read in them, preferably near a nice warm fire on a wild and wooly winter’s evening. When you’re done reading you can drift off to sleep, just inclining your head slightly to 1 side, maybe prime someone to come in and throw a rug over your legs.

Anyhow, I like the show and today I’m off work sick so I thought I’d catch a couple of episodes while lying in bed. I have the 1st 4 series on DVD but not the last 3 but that’s ok cos we have no tv in our bedroom and anyway I had a hankering to see 2 distinct episodes, 1 from Series 5 and 1 from Series 6. So thanks to the magic of the Net and an iPad I downloaded both and settled in to watch me some quality drama.

Only it doesn’t quite work as seamlessly as that. It takes a bit of time for the download so I had some moments of reflection. Moments of reflection when doped up on cold and flu tablets are interesting. In this instance I got to noticing that both episodes were the 17th of each season. Episode 5.17 is The Supremes, a story about putting up liberal and conservative candidates for the Supreme Court. Episode 6.17 is A Good Day, about a battle to save stem cell funding plus the potential invasion of Canada. They’re both cracking episodes with, intelligent, whip smart dialogue and moments of levity amongst the madness. Could there be a trend here?

Moving on forward and Episode 7.17 is Election Day Part II, the denouement of the presidential campaign between the Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) and the Democrat Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits). Yep, great episode. Episode 3.17 is Stirred and is about a nuclear safety crisis and the choice of Vice-President on the upcoming ticket – It’s another great episode, one of my favourites. Episode 2.17 is The Stackhouse Filibuster, a sentimental journey through the procedural wonderland that is Congress and again, 1 of the best. Episode 4.17 is ‘Red Haven’s On Fire’, a convoluted look at the handling of a hostage crisis that’s not the best in Series 4 but still a good watch.

And now we’re 6 from 7, a single away from hitting for the cycle, from a new plan. See if all 7 of the Episode 17s are good then I can just get out whichever series and choose 17 and I’ll be right. No more having to look up the episode guides in the DVD sleeve or via the Net, searching for a good episode. Nope, just wack in good ol’ 17, press play and enjoy. And all this needs is Episode 1.17 to be…


Yep 1.17 is a process episode that’s not particularly memorable, more notable for setting the scene for future episodes. 1.18 and 1.15 are good. 1.21 is brilliant. But 1.17 breaks the streak of the good 17s. It’s like leaving batters stranded.

The Red Sox do that a lot. Actually this morning they saved me the trouble of a long post by stranding runners. See I tend to comment on the pitching and then Sox plays that scored. The Red Sox stranded enough runners today that they didn’t score.

Not once.

The pitching was nice – Erik Bedard is settling in ok and gave up just the 2 scoring hits. Unfortunately 1 of them was for a 3 run blast and the Sox bats did not score so in this case ‘nice’ does not equal ‘win’. In their defence the Sox are without 3 All-Stars, Ellsbury, Youk and Big Papi. Counting against them is that the good teams find ways to win with depth in their squad. There’s a 162 games and not everything goes the right way all of the time with regard injuries.

Which probably leaves you wondering how I got to The West Wing in a sports blog. The Red Sox were playing the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark and as is always the case I had Deep In The Heart Of Texas belting away in my brain. After the game and as I hummed along to my personal lone star soundtrack I recalled a moment late in the 7th Series of The West Wing. At one point in the Presidential campaign narrative the key states to win include Matt Santos’ home of Texas. He wins it and there’s a shot of him and his campaign team singing Deep In The Heart Of Texas. That scene jumped to mind and the rest was just joining the dots.

Tenuous I know but I’m gonna reference 1 more scene from the show to wrap it up here. In Episode 5.17 (The Supremes, referenced above) Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) is trying to find a solution to an impasse in nominating anyone but a moderate to the Supreme Court. Inspired by his assistant Donna’s (Janel Maloney) story about why her parents have photos of 2 disparate cats on a cookie tin they sent her (When choosing the cats they compromised and got 1 of each cat) he sets up a scheme to nominate 2 ideologically disparate but brilliant jurists. Later in a staff briefing, unable to confess where the idea came from, Josh is almost outed by Donna’s:

‘Oh my god, you’re putting my mother’s cats on the Supreme Court.’

Yeah I know it’s fiction but I reckon this is how sometimes important stuff gets done. Tenuous links. Works for me.

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