As the White House Turns

By Nomad
Feb 2002

Spoilers: Yes. All the way to season 3.
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. You're about to find out why.
Author's Note: This really isn't my usual style (duh). In my defence, the posters at Television Without Pity made me do it. Honest, they did.
And yes. It was me that did the graphs.
Final warning: Run. Run, now. Trust me.

OVAL OFFICE, DAY.

POTUS is at his desk, LEO is standing in front of him.

POTUS
Right, what's next?

LEO
Sir?

POTUS
I said, "what's next"?

LEO
What do you mean, "what's next"? We've only just started.

POTUS
This is a dramatic way to make us look like we're busy people, Leo, get with the program.

LEO
Sorry.

POTUS [glares]
So; what's next?

LEO
Well, um, we have some numbers here which say you swear too much, Mr. President.

POTUS
What? What kind of crap is that?

LEO
It's true, Mr. President. Some student did a study. She made graphs and everything.

POTUS
Dammit, Leo, you're telling me some college student has nothing better to do with her time than collect figures on how frequently I swear?

LEO
University student, sir.

POTUS
Same thing.

LEO
No, 'cause this student's English and she gets really pissed off with the way Americans call college and university the same thing.

POTUS
She's English? Then why on earth does she give a flying f-

The door slams open and JOSH rushes in.

JOSH [breathless]
Mr. President!

POTUS
Josh! What's wrong?

JOSH
Nothing. It's just a dramatic convention that somebody cuts you off before you can say f-

The door slams open and HOYNES rushes in.

JOSH
Mr. Vice President!

Brief pause.

HOYNES [to Leo and POTUS]
Aren't you two gonna say something?

LEO
I'm trying to remember whether I call you John in company or 'Mr. Vice President'.

POTUS
Yeah, me too.

Pause.

POTUS
So, are you here for a reason, or are you just-?

HOYNES
No, I'm doing the same thing Josh was.

POTUS
Oh, right.

Longish pause.

HOYNES
We could argue, if you like.

POTUS
No, I'm cool.

They stand around awkwardly.

* * *

COMMUNICATIONS BULLPEN, DAY.

TOBY, SAM, DONNA and CJ are clustered together.

DONNA [earnestly]
This has gone on long enough. We have to do something!

SAM [puzzled]
Do something about what?

TOBY rolls his eyes.

TOBY
Oh, for God's sake, it's a perfectly acceptable literary device.

SAM
Yeah, but how are people supposed to know what's going on?

TOBY
We're giving them a little credit and assuming they can pick it up as they go along. Unlike you.

SAM
Okay, that's it. I'm not letting you be Batman anymore.

CJ [irked]
You two, stop flirting!

SAM [defensively]
We're not flirting. We never flirt.

DONNA [helpfully]
You called him "baby".

SAM
I didn't mean anything by it! You called Josh "baby" once!

They all look at him pointedly. He shrinks down into his shirt collar.

SAM [plaintively]
I don't flirt with Toby.

CJ
You flirt with everybody.

SAM
That's not flirting. That's just my movie idol looks and strong sexual chemistry.

CJ [snorting]
Sexual chemistry? You don't have chemistry, you just have a love interest of the week. Josh and Donna have chemistry. Me and Toby have chemistry.

SAM [injured]
I do too have chemistry! I have chemistry with Ainsley!

CJ
And Josh. We know all about you and Josh.

SAM
It's not my fault! Everybody has chemistry with Josh!

DONNA
Except his girlfriends.

CJ
This has gone on long enough. We have to do something.

DONNA [turning towards her]
Didn't I already say that?

CJ
I know, I just get this urge to repeat bits of dialogue for no particular reason.

DONNA
Somebody should say something to Josh. I vote CJ does it.

CJ
Why me?

DONNA
Because you kick ass.

CJ [nodding]
That's right. I do. Yeah, let's go kick some ass!

TOBY is beginning to shuffle away from the rest of them.

SAM [to TOBY]
Where are you going?

TOBY [mumbles]
I have to get out of here. I'm suffering an acute case of CJ-worship, and I have to run before I'm forced to admit to having human feelings.

He sidles rapidly away.

CJ [yelling]
Come back! I'm tall and elegant and cool, and I have a great laugh! And I'm really good in bed!

People appear in various doorways and stare at her. SAM turns to face her.

SAM
Why did you just yell that?

CJ
I used to think it was some kind of grand conspiracy to weaken my position by making me a sex object, but now I think I'm just doing it to piss people off.

SAM
Did you ever think maybe you're over-analysing?

CJ
Yeah, but that's what Aaron Sorkin says, and what the hell does he know?

* * *

OVAL OFFICE, DAY.

POTUS is still at his desk, and LEO stands beside him. JOSH and HOYNES have gone, but this is the West Wing so we don't have to have an explanation where or why.

Through the doorway we see CHARLIE get up from his desk and leave. POTUS immediately stands up and starts to tiptoe after him.

LEO
Mr. President...?

POTUS
Shh. I want to see where he goes.

They follow CHARLIE through the corridors of the White House and go down to the basement, where he disappears into a door marked 'Plot Exile'.

LEO [looking over his shoulder]
Shouldn't your Secret Service Agents have followed us?

POTUS
It's dramatic licence. [He regards the door curiously] I wonder what's through there?

LEO
I wouldn't, Mr. President.

POTUS [frowning]
Why not?

LEO
Don't you ever watch horror movies?

POTUS
Oh, like you even own a TV.

He yanks the door open. CHARLIE stumbles out, looking startled.

CHARLIE
Mr. President! You can't come in here, you're the main character!

POTUS
We don't have a main character, this is an ensemble piece.

LEO
Yeah, but some of us are more ensemble than others.

POTUS [turning to LEO]
You realise that made absolutely no sense?

LEO
It doesn't have to make sense if it sounds good. Just ask Toby about 'could care less'.

POTUS
Yeah. I've been wondering, considering I'm a trivia-minded grammar geek, why I haven't corrected him about that.

LEO
Probably because you're too busy swearing.

POTUS
Dammit, I don't swear!

CHARLIE clears his throat. The President turns back to him.

POTUS
Charlie, who else is in there with you?

ZOEY emerges. POTUS looks shocked, whilst LEO sniggers.

POTUS [warningly]
Zoey...

ZOEY
It's okay, dad.

She holds open the door and ABBEY and ELLIE troop out, followed by a woman in her thirties and a teenage girl.

POTUS [to the woman and girl]
Who the hell are you?

WOMAN
I'm your other daughter, Liz.

GIRL
And I'm your granddaughter, Annie!

POTUS
Oh. I was wondering what you two looked like. Anybody else in there with you?

DANNY comes out.

POTUS
Danny! What are you doing in here?

DANNY
I was getting in the way of CJ and Toby's developing romance.

POTUS
It hasn't developed very much.

DANNY
I know. At least I got to kiss her.

POTUS squints through the door.

POTUS
Who's that in there, right at the back?

A short figure emerges. It is... dramatic chord... MANDY.

POTUS
Mandy! I thought you'd disappeared from my adminstration with absolutely no explanation?

MANDY
I did. But now I want Josh to take me back.

The entire crowd shudders in terror.

* * *

JOSH'S OFFICE, DAY.

JOSH is on the phone. SAM appears in the doorway.

SAM
Josh...

JOSH
Shh! [into phone] Amy- Yeah, but, Amy- I know, I just, Amy- [he looks at the silent phone, and then hangs it up]

SAM
So what were you guys talking about?

JOSH
I don't know. She kept saying "don't talk to me".

SAM
So have you tried, I don't know, not talking to her?

JOSH
Yes, but that wouldn't fit in with my aura of complete romantic cluelessness.

SAM [whining]
You never come to me about your romantic cluelessness anymore.

JOSH [shrugging]
I thought it would be a bit uncomfortable, what with all the unresolved sexual tension and all.

SAM
Unresolved? What about the time we-

JOSH
Sam! You know the rules! You can get as slashy as you like in the subtext, but you're not allowed to actually say anything.

SAM
This is like the swearing thing, right?

JOSH
Yeah.

SAM
How is it less rude to communicate the swear word by implication than actually say it out loud?

JOSH
You got me. Hey, did you know that the President swears more than any two of the senior staff put together?

SAM
Really?

JOSH
Yeah. Some student with no life did graphs.

SAM
Wow, that's geekier than me.

They leave Josh's office and go out into the bullpen, where they stop dead, hypnotised by the sight of an incredibly perfect beautiful woman. With really good hair. This is MARY SUE.

MARY SUE [perkily]
Hi! I'm Mary Sue Perfect, and I'm here to be the new-

She slumps suddenly to the floor. DONNA appears behind her, brandishing a heavy file triumphantly.

JOSH [shocked]
Donna!

DONNA [shrugging]
Trust me, it's better this way. [yells] Margaret!

MARGARET comes running, and skids to a halt as she sees the incredibly perfect beautiful woman slumped elegantly on the floor. With her really good hair.

MARGARET [rolling eyes]
Oh God, another one?

DONNA
Yeah. We should get the Secret Service to do something. They're everywhere these days.

MARGARET
The Service are no good. Half the time they give them jobs.

DONNA [snorting]
Yeah. Like you could really throw yourself in front of a bullet and take that kind of care of your hair.

They pick up the incredibly perfect beautiful body - with really good hair - and drag it away.

* * *

WHITE HOUSE BASEMENT, DAY.

The crowd has dispersed, again with no explanation, except for MANDY ('cause nobody wanted to get left behind with her).

CJ, DONNA and SAM suddenly arrive. They stop short, shocked by the sight of her.

CJ
Mandy! You're not... you're not back, are you?

The others look scared.

MANDY
I've decided I want Josh back! Never mind the obstacle of our complete lack of chemistry and the fact that we hate each other! And what are you three doing in the basement?

SAM
It was a plot necessity.

DONNA
It goes easier if you don't sweat the small stuff.

Suddenly AMY appears. CJ nods her head towards her.

CJ
See, look, here comes another one.

SAM
It's not very convincingly plotted, this, is it?

DONNA
It's a clever parody of Aaron Sorkin's tendency to leave plot points hanging and under-explain things.

SAM
That or it's just not very well thought out.

AMY
Where's Josh?

CJ
How did you know to come down here?

AMY
I have this psychic sense that tells me where the action is. It's how I manage to steal everybody's screen-time.

SAM
Well, that explains a lot.

AMY [to SAM]
Hey, it's not like you were doing anything useful with it. Go abolish the penny, crackplot boy. I have to go make out with Josh.

DONNA points towards the 'Plot Exile' door.

DONNA [innocently]
Hey, Amy, Josh is through there.

AMY [laughing]
Ha! As if I believe Josh would ever be in there? Don't you know he's Aaron Sorkin's alter ego?

DONNA
Is that why we all fancy him?

SAM
Well, that's a weight off my mind. I thought it was just me.

CJ
Oh, can it, Sam. Everybody in the entire world who's written about you thinks you're bisexual anyway.

SAM
I know! Is it something about me?

AMY, CJ, DONNA & MANDY
Yes!

SAM
That's it! That's it, I've had enough! You always mock me, and, and, I'm the one who always trips over things, and I'm never allowed to have a proper long-term love interest, and people always write Evil Sam Fics and, and, and- [he points accusing at AMY] and you stole my screen time!

DONNA [points at AMY]
You stole my complicated unrequited-only-not-really boyfriend!

MANDY [points at AMY]
You stole my personality!

MANDY launches herself at AMY, and they roll around the floor, fighting. They roll through the door marked 'Plot Exile', and DONNA quickly slams it shut.

DONNA [triumphantly]
Great! [to the others] I'll stay here and guard the door, you guys go find a padlock.

CJ
Two padlocks.

SAM
And some concrete.

* * *

JOSH'S OFFICE, DAY.

JOSH has just heard the explanation from CJ, DONNA and SAM ('cause I'm too lazy to write it). TOBY's there too. Because he has some lines later. Josh looks completely stunned. In a cute way.

JOSH
So Amy, she's really... she's really gone?

DONNA
Rolled through the door of 'exit with no explanation', baby.

She does a little victory dance that looks way cooler than Josh's lame attempts.

Josh pulls a puppy dog face. And looks cute.

JOSH
Well, um... which one of you is gonna be the hurt/comfort one, then? It's in the rules. I lost a girlfriend, you gotta come comfort me. Who's gonna comfort me?

DONNA [sadly]
None of us, Josh.

JOSH suddenly looks small and sad. And cute. Did we mention cute?

JOSH
So you're... you're all leaving me?

They all nod slowly, looking sad. Because he's so cute when he's miserable. JOSH turns desperately to DONNA.

JOSH
Donna...?

DONNA
I'm sorry, Josh, I've, I've found somebody else.

She looks distressed. Because he's so cute when he's miserable.

JOSH
And you, Sam?

SAM nods.

CJ
And me.

TOBY
And me. I'm sorry, Josh, I can't- I can't take the pain anymore.

They all look surprised.

CJ
Really?

TOBY
Under my prickly exterior, I'm a sensitive guy.

CJ
No you're not.

TOBY
I know. What's with people, insisting I'm a teddybear underneath? I'm really not.

Everybody looks back to JOSH. Because it's all about Josh. And he's cute.

JOSH
But... who?

DONNA
We've found a guy who knows how to appreciate people.

SAM
A guy who's cranky on the surface, but has a heart of gold underneath.

CJ
Plus, I've always had a thing for older guys.

DONNA
Hell yeah.

SAM
And me.

Suddenly the door opens and LEO comes in.

LEO
Hey, why the hell isn't everybody at work?

JOSH extends a hand to point at him, looking shell-shocked.

JOSH
You!

FADE OUT.
ROLL END CREDITS.


What can I say? You were warned.