The White House Pro-Am
The Multiple Schlerosis attack scare over and forgotten, the First Lady returns to Sorkin’s fictional White House amid fresh storylines. The episode opens with Abbey Bartlet, being interviewed on a morning talk show (from the WH), with a young boy who is asking for the world to realize the very real practices of child labor outside of the US. While this is quite a serious matter, and should gain attention because of it’s corruption, the Presidents staff (ok, mainly Sam Seaborn) has a problem with Abbey’s focus on it. He tells her basically that she looks stupid by introducing it as a problem. Why? Because it isn’t a new problem, but an age old one, and it may appear as if she has just now noticed it. Sam has a fine point, of course, but doesn’t want to share the President’s media outlets with the President’s wife. This is the first time in the series that the First Lady’s office is looked down upon by the Presidents own staffers, but certainly not the last. It is the first time, also that we see Abigail Bartlet in two distinct rare forms; wrong, and humble.
Abbey’s unprofessional story is interrupted, however, by bigger news; The Chairman of the Federal Reserve dies of a sudden heart attack, which threatens the plunge of the stock market because of it. His most logical replacement is obvious, and could be appointed within moments, if not for the President’s stubborn nature. Ron Erlich could be named, publicly as the successor of the Fed-chair, but he was for a short time thirty years ago, an old boyfriend of the First Lady’s. Jed is not liking that so much. He makes that very clear. For, upon being told that Bernie Dahl has just died, and should they name Erlich, Jed snaps at Leo:
Leo: “I’m going to leak it, sir, on account in the next hour people will calm things down.”
Bartlet: (calmly) ”No.”
Leo: “Mr. President!”
Bartlet: (not so calmly) ”I’m not ready to jump into bed with Ron Ehrlich yet. I’m one of the few people in my family who can say that.” (Ouch!)
Now, that phrase can be taken one of two ways. The first is literally, and would mean that Bartlet doesn’t like Erlich because Abbey was once intimate with him, or (and most likely because it does support the rest of the storyline), Bartlet is a little pissed because everyone else (namely Abbey) have given their public support for Erlich already, and Bartlet feels, in naming Erlich that he would have done it only because his wife told him to do it. He, in fact says that much later on in this eppie. Indeed, CJ learns, when she announces the death of the Fed-Chair, that in a wire-piece it is leaked that ” ‘Unnamed people close the First Lady’ are saying she hoped the President would appoint Ron Ehrlich when Bernie Dahl’s term expired.” Since CJ was blind-sided about this info, she takes it to the President to ‘spin it’, or rectify the story before it becomes a story. In doing so, CJ must either talk to the President about what Abbey has been known to have said concerning Erlich, or speak to Abbey about it herself. Neither, one might add, sounds too appealing to CJ. Thus, she has a converstion with the President that gives us more insight into the Bartlet marriage:
CJ: (to the President) ”So, let me suggest, Mr. President, that I talk to the First Lady and ask her to clarify…”
Bartlet: (quickly shaking his head in the negative) ”No…”
CJ: ” …that her position…”
Bartlet: ”No, no…”
CJ: “ ”My husband will choose the best man for the Fed….” “
Bartlet: (shaking his head more adamently) ”Noooo…” (he’s really afraid of Abbey)
CJ: “I support whatever…” Sir!”
Bartlet: (warningly) “CJ, we don’t handle my wife. When we try, do you know what happens at theother end of this building?” (he asks kiddingly)
CJ: “You get a little punishment.”
Bartlet: “I get a little punishment. Screw it. Let’s move on. It’s not a big deal.” (but it is a big deal because he gives CJ a look that tells her that she should, indeed, handle his wife).
Bartlet doesn’t like to involve his personal life, or really his marriage with politics. Ever. With Abbey throwing her hat into the political ring, Bartlet has a fit.
While Sam is at the gym, he is confronted by Congresswoman Reeseman, who upon seeing Abbey’s morning interview decides to attach a ‘Child Labor restrictions’ amendment onto a bill that Toby and Josh think they will have passed that very night. Knowing that this will fail their bill, Sam tells Josh and Toby, who in turn direct him to talk to Abbey’s staff about their inexperience, and to the First Lady herself about persuading the Congresswoman not to attach the amendment. Sam, of course is reluctant to do so, even if it affords him the opportunity of flirting with Lilly Mays (Abbey’s annoying and over-bearing chief of staff, who is eventually replaced several times over). Working up the courage to confront the East Wingers, Sam storms into the offices, only to find himself face to face with his boss’ wife. When Sam stops short in front of Abbey, we find that his arrogant air quickly evaporates because of who she is, and her strength of will. Quickly, though, he redeems himself, and the West Wing staffers by curtly telling Abbey what she needs to know. Their staffs at war, and untrusting of one another, he tells her that she is “prone to amateur mistakes”. He asks her to talk to the Congresswoman, and is surprized when Abbey readily agrees, especially after her staff has been undermined by his staff all morning long. Abbey, by now, is sufficiently pissed because her husband has sent two of his staffers to ‘Handle her’, which is, as already stated, something that should never be done.
Though Abbey has been humbled by her husbands staffers, she does not hold a grudge. She confronts Congresswoman Reeseman, and asks her not to attache the amendment, assuring her that she can trust the President’s staff. Reeseman agree’s, much to the surprize and delight of all the President’s men, because she respects the First Lady. All is not well, however, at least not yet. The President and First Lady have yet to confront one another.
Here is where it gets interesting; we have yet to witness President Bartlet and his First Lady have a fight. Instead of easing us in with a small tiff or a featherweight argument, Sorkin tosses us into a huge Oval Office blowout. What’s the fight about? Let’s recap, shall we?
~The President is angry because the First Lady made public political comments, directly concerning a decision that he would soon have to make (though, to be fair, it was never mentioned when Abbey made her comment of being behind Ron Erlich as the Fed-Chair, so technically, it could have been anytime). The President does not like his family to become entangled with politics. Especially his wife. Especially when she is right. Especially if it concerns his wife’s former fling (I say fling here because that was what Erlich was; a small non-serious fling from her very young days before she even met her husband, but that is a completely different post). He also feels as if she is using politics to play games with him in public, which was probably not her intention in the slightest.
~The First Lady doesn’t like to be ‘handled’, by the President’s staff, which is what happens a few times in this episode, so she is angry at hinm for that.
~The President, in trying to find the “sources close to the First Lady who claim…” that she supports Ron Erlich for Fed Chair, has a meeting with Danny Concannon, a very capable reporter (in fact the most capable of them all, and the one the audience loves) if he would reveal the sources for him. Abbey is angry at Jed for doing so, because she finds Danny waiting outside of her husband’s office and she knows why he is there.
~Also, the President is a bit jealous of the ex-boyfriend aspect of the situation, which is, most likely the most insignificant detail of the entire situation, because he mentions it in the argument.
As stated above, this fight was a blowout, and it took place right in the middle of the oval office, and it was very highly entertaining (and for a moment, just a bit frightening). Abbey enters the office with a knowing look upon her face, and Jed seems a bit frightened, until she agitates him enough to where he begins to raise his voice. Here is what went down:
Abbey: “Hello, pumpkin” (This she says with a voice dripping with sarcasm, she throws her jacket onto the nearest chair as she approaches him like a lionness stalking her prey).
Abbey: “Hello, gumdrop.”
Bartlet: (now he’s nervous, he doesn’t really want to fight with her) ”Listen…”
Abbey: ”Sam Seaborn came to see my Chief of Staff today. In fact, he did it twice.”
Bartlet: “Well, your Chief of Staff is a very attractive woman. Maybe he was, you know…”
Bartlet: “Abbey, I told C.J. specifically…”
Abbey: “Then C.J. got the signal wrong.”
Bartlet: ”No, she didn’t.”
Abbey: “What?” (She really didn’t believe that he actually sent his staff to handle her).
Bartlet: “She didn’t get the signal wrong. I wanted her to send someone.”
Abbey: “Are you telling me…?”
Bartlet: “This wire thing is a problem for me. The kid on TV was a mistake. And the amendment, from Becky Reeseman…”
Abbey: “I just killed it.”
Bartlet: ” …will bring down a trade bill that’s been worked on for years.”
Abbey: “I said I just killed it.”
Bartlet: “Fine.” (he is surprized that she remedied the situation, perhaps he didn’t think she had it in her).
Abbey: “Jed, we share a bed. Why didn’t you just come to me?”
Bartlet: “I staffed it out to C.J…” (he knows that he shouldn’t have done that).
Abbey: “You staffed it out.” (now, she is gettin’ pissed).
Bartlet: “That’s right.”
Abbey: “You don’t staff me out. You don’t give C.J. signals. You don’t send Sam. And you don’t bring Danny Concannon up here. Don’t handle me, Jed!” (that last part got a little louder, because now, she is pissed!).
Bartlet: “Then don’t play me, Abbey! Don’t work me! A lot of people around here think it was Lilly Mays, who planted you have a preference for Ron Erlich!” (he pounds the desk for emphasis and out of anger- Abbey is not impressed).
Abbey: “It wasn’t Lilly Mays.”
Bartlet: “I know it wasn’t Lilly Mays. It was you!”
Abbey: “Yes! And I’m sorry about that, but I wanted Ron to know that he had my support.” (alot of yes remarks here, but at least for a moment they agree on something!)
Bartlet: “Well you put me in a bit of a spot there, Abigail. I name Ron Erlich now, which I was going to do anyway, and it makes me look like I’m taking instructions
from my wife!”
Abbey: ”Still it was wrong!”
Bartlet: (a bit confused for a second, the3y have been yelling alot for a few moments) “Are you talking about you or me?”
Abbey: “I’m talking about you. I’m talking about you sending people to me. And I tell you what else I’m talking about. I’m talking about you waiting a day to name
a new fed chair, because thirty years ago the new fed chair was my boyfriend for six months!” (of course she is talking about him, because our lovely First Lady is not usually wrong, and isn’t comfortable when she is).
Bartlet: ”I’m talking about sending me messages through the press, and staking out agendas on morning shows. We are not going to be these people, Abbey. I’m not gonna
do it! I’ll walk up to the hill right now, and I will give the Speaker of the House my resignation.” (here he gets louder with each word, and is very angry and puffed up).
Abbey: “The house isn’t in session.” (here, Abbey thinks that it’s sort of cute that he would resign before putting their marriage on the line by playing political games with her, which is essentially what he is really saying; it’s really very sweet).
Bartlet: “Do you want to see me get on the phone and put it in session?!” (very loudly and over the top, because he often gets carried away).
Abbey: (warningly, and reminding him that he is getting out of hand, trying to calm him a bit) ”Don’t raise your voice to me!”
Bartlet: “It was nine months, Abbey. Not six months. And I waited a day on Skippy, because the fed chair is a fairly important position, and I wanted to make damn
sure my decision was right.
Abbey: (yelling back) “You already made your decision!”
Bartlet: “How the hell do you know?”
Abbey: “You just said so. “I name Ron Erlich now, which I was gonna do anyway. It looks like I’m taking instructions from… my… wife!” (He did. He did alreadty say that…).
Bartlet: “Yes.” (now calmed down a bit)
Bartlet: “Yes.” (again with the yes’s!)
Abbey: “Okay. So just ease up on the high ground.”
Bartlet: “On that point I concede the high ground.”
Abbey: “Then I concede I was wrong about the thing.”
Bartlet: “No, no however. Just be wrong. Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong, and get used to it.” (one of my favorite lines of the whole series).
Abbey: “However…” (she likes to ignore his statements, remember?).
Bartlet: “Nine months, Abbey.” (he likes to be jealous in petty ways, it’s very endearing).
Abbey: “I’m still gonna kick your ass on child labor.”
Bartlet: “Abbey, please…”
Abbey: “Jed, if it was one of our girls in that factory, you’d send in the Marines.” (This, I am afraid is very true).
Bartlet: (after thoughtful contemplation) ”Yeah.”
Bartlet: “Okay. We just had our first Oval Office fight.” (it should be noted here that it shall NOT be their last).
Abbey: “Yeah.” Abbey leans against his desk, and he strides around it to join her, a sign that all is well again with the world).
Bartlet: “Did you talk to Zoey today?” (nice way to change the subject, Pres.,)
Abbey: “She went back to her dorm. She and Charlie had a fight cause the Service doesn’t want them to show up at this thing together.” (here she stares at him lovingly and happily in a very content way-they will make up later…)
Bartlet: “Maybe she’ll be so traumatized by this experience, that she’ll never date another boy again.”
Abbey: “Well, he left here a little while ago and…I’d say that in about an hour the lights will be off, there’ll be a sock on the doorknob, and who…” (mercilessly teasing her hubby).
Bartlet: “Don’t finish that sentence, I’m a man of questionable health (he now returns her loving gaze and we are officially in love once again) The Michigan women are waiting for me.”
Abbey: “Okay.” He drapes and arm around her shoulders, and walks with her to the door, while picking up her suit jacket and placing it on her shoulders).
And just like that, the war is over, with both parties returning from the battleground unscathed. But, the audience comes out of the fight with a wealth of knowledge about the First couple’s marriage. And, we love them even more! This ends Stockard Channing’s third appearance in the season and the audience is left without Abbey for a few weeks until the next season when all hell breaks loose upon the President and all of the President’s men.
He Shall, From Time To Time
The second episode that Abbey enters is one of the most crucial in understanding who she really is. Here, she is not just the First Lady in a dress armed with few pithy lines just to serve the purpose of another storyline. This time, Abbey appears to us fully, as the person that she really is, beyond the First Lady; a wife, and a doctor. More importantly, she is– sort of– the President’s doctor. For most fans, who are already in love with the President, this is where we see Abbey as heroic, and hiding a little bitty secret from the world.
This episode starts simply enough. The staff is gearing up for Bartlet’s second State of the Union address in the press room. Bartlet is rehearsing the speech, much unlike his usual king-like orator style and behaving as if he is under the weather. This, in addition to the numerous typos in the speech that Toby and Sam wrote (they spelled hallowed with a # sign and write that the country is stranger instead of stronger). See, but this is how Sorkin distracts us from what is about to happen. CJ and Josh discuss why nobody has “felt the President’s glands today”, to see if he is coming down with something, and Bartlet is not taking his daily dose of herbal meds that Abbey insists upon, and he’s feeling a bit run-down. A famous ‘walk and talk’ ensues (for all of you non-wingers that is the famous walking the halls of the White House and speaking the entire time that Sorkin impressed upon his actors), and amidst the whisperings of the Presidents health, Bartlet collapses right in the middle of the Oval office. This, of course, prompts all of the Presidents men (and CJ), or his now stunned staffers, to momentarily treat him like an invalid. The First Lady’s limo (which is headed to Andrews, and out of town, but we know not where or why, especially since her husband is supposed to be giving his extremely important State of the Union address, but, of course this is all due to suit a much larger storyline) is promptly turned around because her husband has just collapsed. Shortly after Bartlet is checked by an ‘admirable’ Navy Admiral, it is determined that “he has the flu”. Hmmm…
As the President sits up in his bed safely within the residence, he warns his body man, Charlie, that things are going to get worse; Abigail Bartlet is on her way up the stairs, and she is sure to be displeased with her hubby for waiting so long to call her to let her in on the latest circumstances. Abbey waltzes in (looking quite different than the last time we saw her, with slightly longer hair, and in a smart suit, sans cleavage), throws her bags onto the nearest chair and greets the Admiral and Charlie cordially. Here is where we grow intimate with Abigail, for her facial expressions (from this point forward during the full run of the show) are far more telling than even the most descriptive of words could ever be. After greeting all of those in the room besides her irksome husband, worry creases her brow. Her eye glasses become more than a mere ornament hung from her neck when she uses them to quickly examine the medical chart that Admiral Hackett had so carefully procured. Abbey, you see, is in full ‘doctor mode’, and in being so asks Charlie to get her medical bag for her, which he does, and the audience realizes that the First Lady is indeed a first-rate doctor (not just any doctor either, but a thoracic surgeon, which we learn far later in the series). She then asks Jed how he feels, if he is still dizzy and he answers no. Abbey sneers that he is lying (but with a glint in her eyes), and orders the Admiral to ” give him Flumadine, 100 milligrams, twice a day”, to which Jed chuckles. Abbey, asks the Admiral and Charlie to step outside so that she can administer her husbands care. The moment they are alone (much to the delight and giddiness of the audience members that are proclaimed Bartlet lovers), we are awarded with the following, and most beloved conversations of the entire series;
Bartlet: (eyeing Abbey in a most leering fashion, much to our delight!) “You’re very sexy when you’re in doctor mode you know that? Give me an IV/saline solution and 100 milligrams of Flumadine. Stat (he pauses while staring her down with narrowed eyes). I could jump you right now.”
Abbey: “I could kill you right now.” (knowing Abigail, this could be quite true, but adorable)
Bartlet: “My thing’s more fun.” (this we can not argue, but can we watch?? Please?)
Abbey: “It took you 25 minutes to call me.” (she admonishes him, and uses a light to check his pupils in her doctor-like fashion)
Bartlet: “Fitzwallace called me in the Situation Room. There was more movement in Kashmir.”
Abbey: “I don’t care if Canada invaded Michigan, Jed. You call me.” ( a direct order, punctuated with a pointed finger in his direction).
She then administers him a shot in the arm, and discusses with him how bad it was this time. Meanwhile, the audience, still stunned that First Lady Abbey is also Doctor Abbey, is wondering what she means by this time. Bartlet gives her his best guess, but is now weary, and cannot think as clearly as she would like, and worried about who is going to preside over the USA in the next few hours while he recoups. Abbey comforts him, stroking his hair, adjusting his pillow, kissing his cheek and calling him baby (awwwww!), and telling him to go to sleep, assuring him all is fine in the West Wing. Bartlet now allows himself to be lulled into a much needed slumber, content only with the fact that his most beloved and trusted confidante- his fierce lioness- is there to protect him. Assured he is asleep, Abbey falls wearily into a chair and sits in a quiet despondent bedside vigil, while worrying and pondering what she should do next. Her shoulders stoop and she seems overcome with a heavy burden, with a down-trodden look, and an overall defeated air.
It should be mentioned that this scene is peppered with countenances by both actors that project the feelings and emotions that their characters are feeling. In fact, that is what makes these two particular characters as interesting as they are; their facial expressions. Because Jed and especially Abbey (who has a very limited number of scenes-let alone lines- per episode that she is in) are given certain things to say, the words and conversations become heavier and more meaningful only with the actors themselves adding their own zest. It’s a flash in the eye, the ease of their body language, or even the stiffness of their actions that tell us what to think. Aaron Sorkin, who is the brilliant creator of the show, is known by his lack of ‘back-stories’ for his characters. He creates the name, the characters in general, then leaves them a mere shell of what they can be. It is usually up to the actor to fill that shell with a soul. Martin Sheen had weeks to hone his Josiah Bartlet. Stockard Channing, had only a lunch hour. In multiple interviews, the famed actress relates how she was plunged into the series quite quickly, and then how her role developed into one that was used more than once, then several times, and eventually turned into a near series-regular. Channing says that Sorkin wrote off the cuff (which truly is what a genius will do), and just made decisions to accomodate his want and his storylines, in deftly manners. Sorkin had lunch with Channing, asked her if she liked Abigail, and “did she want to be a doctor?” Stockard said ”sure”. Sorkin said that he was thinking about giving the President MS, and that was how she could be introduced. Thus, Doctor Abbey Bartlet was born…
Watching, one can almost feel the worry, the fear, and the anxiety that Jed and Abbey share. This is the first of scenes where the audience is subjected to a powerful empathy from this First Couple. When they are happy, we are so. When they are angry, we know it, and can tell it by the fire in their eyes. When they tease one another, we feel the warmth of their intelligent taunts. When they are…randy (that is the term they use) we are shocked by the electricity that Jed and Abbey conduct. Chemistry, is what they call it, is what weaves these two laudable players into one. We envy them, we wish to be them, we love them, and we love to watch them and be included in their most intimate of situations. This, is merely the first of many of those most epic of moments. For a mere moment to be considered an epic one, the Bartlet’s must be the initiators of it.
The second scene that Abbey graces us with is far more uplifting. The next day, Abbey sits against the headboard in bed with her husband, still in full doctor mode, and giving him a quick check-up. We see that Bartlet has bounced back and is subjecting his wife in a teasing manner as she pushes him to sit up to listen to his heart with her stethascope. Though, he is still sickly, and Abbey is insisting that he remain in bed, Jed wants out of his sick ward. This conversation is far lighter and carefree than that of the previous night:
Abbey: “Well, the good news is, your temperature’s gone down.” (she takes his temperature many, many times)
Bartlet: (hopefully) “Can I go to the office?”
Abbey: “No.” (matter of factly)
Bartlet: “Why not?”
Abbey: “It hasn’t gone down enough, and it’s gonna go back up again.”
Abbey: “‘Cause you have the flu”. (Here, she forces him to sit up so that she can listen to his breath with her stethascope. We get the feeling that they are quite used to playing doctor, because of their easy teasing banter, which is their custom).
Bartlet: (protesting her decision and her manhandling him when he is sich and can not play back, which he is all too eager to do) “Here’s the thing though. I never really saw you study while you were in med school.”
Abbey: “Deep breath.” (she usually ignores his statements)
Bartlet: “Do you even know what you’re listening for right now?” (but he does what he is told, like the good little husband)
Abbey: “Do you know how many other people I could have married?” (Ha! Take that Mr. President)
Bartlet: ”How many?”
And so it goes. Jed tries in vain to get up, after Abbey tells him that it’s not a good idea, and as he insists, she gives him her acquiese. He gets up, gets dizzy and falls back into bed, just like she knew he would. Abbey then goes on an errand that pulls us further into her conscious, and her feelings, and reveals to us even more of Doctor Abbey. The First Lady is next found in the office of Leo McGarry, the Presidents closest friend, and Chief of Staff, where she is teasing Leo’s grown up daughter Mallory. She teases Mal about having an itch for Sam Seaborn, which Mal denies, and advises her to “never go for the genius’” because they never want to sleep. This shows Abbey as a motherly type, and her ease of joking with the McGarry’s about such intimate things, while showing the Bartlet’s deep-rooted relationship with the McGarry’s. After a serious discussion with Leo, Abbey is forced to admit the truth about her husbands being ill. “He has Multiple Schlerosis, Leo.” Abbey chokes out sadly, and as a solitary tear escapes her worried, sad eyes “a fever could be life threatening”. Having been forced into the truth by Leo, it does not appear a relief to Abbey, for for relief from Jed’s MS can never come for Abbey. It reveals her weakness, for Jed’s MS is not to her what it will be to his staff. It is not a lie that causes a rift between the staff, and the mistrust of the American public, it is far more than that to her. To Abbey, Jed’s illness is her most vile opponent, threatening to steal away from her all that she holds dear; her love, her life, her soul-mate, her reason for being, the father of her children, and her lover. Jed’s MS is not a story for Abbey to spin, it is cruel fate. The MS is not a matter of business for Abbey, though it really could have been if it were forced upon another character than the President. This was because medicine was Abbey’s profession, and of all the White House inhabitants, medicine was her business. Stockard Channing is brilliant. She makes you hurt for her, and it reveals the human side of her. This scene sets up an entire backstory that will be soon brought forward. The tear sliding down her face unveils Abbey to the world.
The very best part of the show, however, is the second to last scene that the Bartlet’s share. While Jed is dressing for his State of the Union address, Abbey is reclining on the couch in their bedroom reading the speech, and insisting on taking Jed’s temperature again. This is, of course, another favorite conversation between POTUS & FLOTUS, and is as follows;
Abbey: (yelling to Jed from the couch) “I want to take your temperature one last time”.
Bartlet: (warningly) “Abbey…”
Abbey: (persisting) “I want to take your temperature”.
Bartlet: “You’ve taken it 14 times in the last three hours. You’re not taking it again.” (He then kneels in front of her so that she can button the sleeves on his shirt, which she does, I might add while still reading his speech)
Bartlet: (teasingly) ”At least not with a thermometer.”
Abbey: (chuckles) ”Jed.”
Bartlet: “I’m saying if you want to take it recreationally…” (nice!)
Abbey: “Oh, there’s something wrong with you, you know that?”
Bartlet: (dryly) “Yes, I do.”
Abbey: “Why is ‘hallowed’ spelled with a pound sign in the middle?”
Bartlet: (really not caring about anything at this point but wanting his wife, he murmurs) “I stopped asking those questions.” Then he leans forward, takes off her glasses and kisses her full on the mouth.
That is the kiss. Our favorite kiss. The kiss that is so telling about both their relationship and their feelings at the moment. They needed to kiss for several reasons. They both needed reassurance that Jed was ok. Because of his MS, we will see that he can have some pretty bad attacks, and the effects can’t be reversed. Also, they are relieved that 1) it wasn’t really a MS attack, just the flu, and 2)Everything is all good now (for the moment). Thirdly, and more importantly, we assume that their kiss promises much more for later in the evening (as it was not a simple little kiss but a steamy one), and that Jed will be proving to Abbey that he is indeed recovered. Also, it shows the audience that their relationship is also quite sexual, which laces many of the moments that the Bartlet’s share together (yay for us!). Many of the scenes that Abbey and Jed are in are strengthened by the actors portraying them. To prove my point, watch the final scene that the Bartlet’s share and watch closely their faces and the looks that they give one another. It’s astonishing. We have learned so much this far about abbey and Jed, and this is only their second episode together.
Oh, and by the way, Stockard pulls all of this off in under eight minutes of screen-time.