Tuesday, May 09, 2006
CJ and Danny
I really like the TV show The West Wing. I’ve watched it faithfully for the last eight years and think it has some pretty good writing. I’m sad to see that it wasn’t renewed, but am happy it’s going out on a high. On last Sunday’s episode there was a rather touching scene (well, it touched me at least).
To give you the set up, the characters in the scene are CJ Craig (short for Claudia Jean) and Danny Concannon. When the series started, CJ was the Press Secretary to the President and Danny was a reporter. They developed feelings for each other, but didn’t really act on them because it could be construed as a conflict of interest as far as CJ’s job was concerned. Over the span of the show, Danny and CJ have become close, but still maintain their jobs, which makes their relationship somewhat complicated. CJ was promoted to Chief of Staff a couple of seasons ago, and lately she and Danny have become much more serious.
Sunday’s episode dealt primarily with CJ as she decides what she is going to do now that the president she works under is leaving office and a new administration is coming in. In previous episodes she has been asked to serve on various boards, and in this episode she is offered a lucrative position by a philanthropist who offers to give her $10,000,000 to fix whatever problems she deems he should use the money to fix. She is also practically requested by the President-elect to serve as an advisor to him for at least two more years in the White House.
The important thing to know is that CJ is a bit of a workaholic and has kind of put her relationship with Danny on the back burner. Danny gets her out of the office for twenty minutes to talk with her and she brings up the fact that she’s probably going to take the job with the incoming president. Danny is surprised that she didn’t discuss this with him, and she is surprised that he thinks their relationship is at that level. Danny reminds her that the two of them are not getting any younger and asks if she even sees a future with him. She doesn’t answer, but he reads on her face that she doesn’t and they part on somewhat angry terms.
Later CJ visits her friend, Toby, and in talking with him, she realizes she wants to take time off to learn to cook and ski and have a real relationship, but she is scared that she can’t do it. The next scene we see her at Danny’s apartment. After a Secret Service agent checks the place, CJ and Danny have the following conversation:
CJ: I missed the window, that’s what’s going on here. I missed the window to figure out how to do this.
Danny: How to…?
CJ: …Share my life with another person, how to be a partner or whatever condescending way you put it this afternoon.
Danny: I wasn’t trying to…
CJ: I don’t know how to do it. Maybe at one point I did, maybe I never did, but it’s over now. It’s too late. This and skiing, it’s too late. It’s not gonna happen.
CJ: You said yourself it’s not an accident that this hasn’t come together. This is who I am. I’m good at my job, Danny. I’m good at working. I’m not good at this.
Danny: You’re right. You suck at it. You’re gonna need a tremendous amount of training.
CJ: You’re not gonna…
Danny: I am, actually.
CJ: Train me?
Danny: Well, I’ll call it something else. That sounds bad, but we’ll deal with it.
CJ: I don’t need training.
Danny: (jokingly) No, of course not.
CJ: That’s not funny.
Danny: No, it isn’t. You’re gonna get good at it. We’re gonna get good at new things.
CJ: You don’t know that.
Danny: I do.
CJ: Don’t make it sound like it’s nothing.
Danny: You didn’t miss it.
CJ: What if I did?
Danny: You didn’t miss it.
CJ: What if I can’t…?
Danny: We’ll figure it out. All of it. (she sighs, scared) You can be scared. That’s okay. But you’re not gonna walk away from me because you’re scared. I’m not that scary.
CJ: (after a long pause) So, um, do you want me to take one of the board of directors’ jobs? It’s only a couple of hours a week…
Danny: Where the hell did that come from?
CJ: I’m trying. You want to be involved? I…
Danny: I want you to do what you want. Take the job at the White House. I just want you to talk to me about it. I want us to talk about what it will mean and how we’ll make it work. I want us to talk like we’re going to figure it out together. I want us to talk…because I like the sound of your voice. I just want to talk.
CJ: (after a pause) Franklin Hollis wants me to take ten million dollars and go and fix the world.
Danny: That sounds like fun. Does that sound like fun to you? (she nods) Do you want to work at the White House? (she shakes her head, crying)
CJ: There’s a typo in the Constitution.
Danny: Well, someone should look into that.
CJ: Toby’s gonna deal with it.
Danny: Okay. What else?
I guess I was moved by the scene because I know and like the characters and know how much they love and care about each other, and I’ve been rooting for them to get together. I guess you really have to see the show and this episode and understand the characters better to really get the nuances and get the full effect.
The scene also reminded me a bit of my relationship with Jonah. Certainly there are big differences between CJ and Danny and their relationship and mine with Jonah, but there were certain parallels. I felt Jonah was more the Danny character and I the CJ character. CJ’s afraid to take a big step in her life and Danny’s kind of the voice of reason. The two really love and care for each other. I’ve always been very independent and somewhat of a commitment-phobe, and my job has always been extremely important to me. But I also know I love Jonah very much, and I think we’re at a good place in our relationship.
School has ended for the summer, and I still don’t know what I’m doing as far as work. I’m still waiting to hear from a theater in Utah that I worked for before. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll stay where I am and get a job here.
Jonah just got offered a very lucrative job here in town. He’s very happy about it and so am I. His current job has not been very satisfying, and Jonah hasn’t been very happy there. This new job will be much better for him, I think. If anything, at least it will be change. Jonah is worried that with our schedules we won’t be able to see each other. I’m confident that things will work out. We’ll make it work…just like CJ and Danny.