Commander in Chief, Episode 1:2

It's a brand new season, folks. Time for the recaps! Not quite TWoP-worthy, but my personal thoughts while watching the best (and some of the worst) TV has to offer.


I was running a little late, so I missed half the eulogy for the late Prez. It was given by Speaker Bastard, so I’m not crying. He skates right up to dissing Mac, which is what I’m calling President Mackenzie Allen. I reiterate my wish that The Bastard wasn’t quite so obviously a black hat, but since he’s a SMART black hat, he’s an entertaining black hat, and therefore he can stay. He’s not quite up to Lionel the Magnificent Bastard of SMALLVILLE, but then this show also lacks the HoYay. And Kryptonite.

Limo. The First Fam talks about which Veep to appoint, and the First Gentleman tells the kids they have to keep family business private now. I know he’s the First Gentleman because the subtitles told me, and that’s going to get real old, real fast. The subtitles, not his amusing title as First Gentleman. His name is now FG.

The Bastard meets briefly with the Chief o’ Staff, who refuses to leak info and really needs a nickname. Chief o’ Staff tells him Mac wants to pick her own Veep, thanks. Bastard: “You tell the girl…” I hate. So. Much. That I miss hearing the rest of his sentence. She’s an adult woman with teenage children and the President of the United States. She is not a girl.

Limo arrives home. The big house. Somewhat cream-colored, excess columns. Becky the Whiniest Teenager in Washington bitches aboutt how long they’ll be. The First Gentleman is already freaking a little, but holds it together to pull them into the House.

Press gaggle. The Press Secretary brings up the War Powers Act, which strikes me as a bit of a problem.

Annoying Blonde introduces the family to the staff. She’s the first of a disturbing number of skinny blondes in this episode, and most of them get on my nerves. AB… Abby. Okay, we have a nickname. You’ll remember her, she’s the one who spent all of last episode dissing Hillary Clinton for having a brain and using it while being First Lady. Yes, it was funny, and yes, it established that Abby is a conservative flunky and not exactly devoted to women’s liberation, and that this show is trying VERY HARD not to be that damn librul WEST WING. We get it already. Independent. Gotcha.

Hallway. The Chief of Staff yells at the Press Secretary for being a bastard to the press. “I need to know the President has your loyalty,” he sez, and the Press Secretary says, “The President is dead.” Whoops! He’s also resigned. Let me get this straight – he resigned, THEN did the Gaggle? Hate. You’ve got to wonder, with all this hate for Mac in the dead Prez’s staff, what role did she really play? Honestly, these people are acting like children, not trained political operatives. Oy.

Residence. Abby gives a history lesson. No one cares, because they’re all too freaked already.

Sitroom. The flunky following Mac can’t go in. This show moves too fast. I must type faster.

Hill. The Bastard is freaked about “Warren Keaton,” whom his aide named Jane tells him is Mac’s pick for Veep. He plans a deep-background bullshit on a Tucker Baines as Veep. And this, children, is why we should never use not-for-attribution quotes without a second source. Let this be a lesson to you.

Chief o’ Staff tells Mac he had to encourage the press secretary to resign. She takes it in stride, and reminds him to talk with her before fiiring anyone at this level.

MAC: This business where I’m not sure what I’m doing from minute to minute, I should just get used to that, right?

You and me both, Madam President. My fingers hurt.

Residence. The valets moved them all into their rooms, but Becky is freaking out because of it. She’s searching insanely through the drawers.

The Democratic caucus presents their suggestions for Veep. Mac holds the line at telling them graciously to go to hell. Goood thing they’re venal too. Note to the writers: If we wanted to watch that damn librul WEST WING, we’d…. go to the shelf and pull down the Season 2 DVDs. In-de-pend-ent. Got it.

Mac chats with Jim. Jim! The Chief of Staff has a name. Good, now I don’t have to come up with an amusing moniker for him. Jimbo says Keaton doesn’t want the Veep job. Mac still wants him, even though he apparently hates Mac’s guts. Keaton won a war without losing an American life and is an economic genius. So, who is he supposed to be? I’d say Colin Powell or Schwarzkopf, but neither was an economic genius.

Residence. The Littlest Daughter says she doesn’t think the furniture is the sort you sit on, which makes me smile. Becky is still freaked andd tells her dad there’s soomething missing from her room, CDs or something. Dad asks a question, but she walks it back, and we know what’s missing because we saw the promos. Dammit. Stupid promo people.

Oval Office. After a quick chat with the Russian Prez, Mac asks someone I don’t remember seeing before to be press secretary. She’s a speechwriter, another skinny blonde, and she’s taking the job. She walks right out into the gaggle. Please, don’t let her be milquetoast. She gives housekeeping, then they start jumping all over her. It’s not dreadful, but poor Press Secretary is somewhat outmatched. I miss CJ badly.

FG’s office, and Abby is going over his wardrobe. He really wants to be involved in policy, having been chief of staff until three days ago. Abby reminds him he’s only allowed to wear American designers. Hee! A friend drops by to suggest a Veep, and at FG’s hesitance, asks the dreaded question: Exactly what the hell does the First Gentleman do when his wife is running the country?

FG sneaks down into the kitchen to chat with Jimbo. “You are the first spouse, people will try to take advantage of you.” He tells him to stay “in his lane.” Jimbo does not have a future in motivational speaking or career counseling, people. Poor FG.

Quickie scheduling meeting, and Mac yanks Jimbo out to tell him she always has dinner with the family. I like that they’re trying to establish her as a committed mother as well as Prez, but let’s face it – dinner with the family often isn’t possible when you work in the news business, much less leader of the free world. Still, I’m glad she actually has a family and cares about them, unlike the excess-baggage treatment poor Murphy Brown’s baby received.

Not-CJ comes scrambling in with The Bastard’s backgrounder on Tucker Baines. Mac is pissed. Not-CJ apologizes, and Mac reassures her it’s not her fault. Of course it’s not – she’s been on the job twenty minutes. Oh, and Keaton canceled the call. Not-CJ says they didn’t ask for confirmation, and I call BULLSHIT. Yes, they run with rumors in Washington, but they ALWAYS call for confirmation as well. Nonsense. There’s no way a story like this hits TV without them at least calling for a reaction quote. Once again, a major political show has zero reporters among their advisers. P.S. I’m available.

Commercials. Geez, first quarter and I’m already on page three. Yikes.

Jimbo says the General has yanked out for real. Mac ducks out of the meetingg to say goodnight to the family. She kisses the Littlest Daughter, who has had an ice cream sundae courtesy of the 24-hour room service. Heh. She bumps into the teenage son, who is my favorite kid so far and whose name I keep forgetting.

Lawn. Becky is freaking out, trying to get someone to come get her – like she’s that dumb? - and tells her Secret Service agent that her diary is missing. We knew this was coming because we saw the promos. Stupid promo monkeys.

Mac and FG say hi. He encourages her to kick the staff home, and she gives him a rundown of the ugly day. He says Keaton will be a nightmare confirmation, so they should go with the Republican list. He also encourages her to play hooky and rest. I don’t like his work ethic. She leans back and is instantly asleep – then the phone rings. We can’t hear what’s said, but gets downstairs in a hurry.

The staff tells Mac about the missing diary. They’re concerned about sensitive information in it, and Mac says “there’s only one place to go.” Well, duh.


The staff is grilling Becky. They want to know about sex, drugs, embarrassing things about her mother. Slight problem – Secret Service isn’t in the business of political control, they’d be concerned about protection details, security breaches, not political cover, but who cares? Becky is increasingly freaked at the barrage of questions, and continues to duck specifics. Mac steps in and tells Becky to be completely honest – and not a word will get back to her. Good for Mac. I like that she recognizes the rift between her and her daughter, and accepts it without ignoring it. I like that she still manages to be a good mom despite her daughter’s general teenagerhood.

Press Gaggle. Not-CJ screws up and tells the press she did not leak the Veep name. Outside, FG consoles her with the pep talk. Another flaw – the crew is a little too perfect, but I’m sure their hopeless mistakes will hit us soon. Also, they need a Toby. No grouches on our team!

The Bastard meets with yet another skinny blonde (the one who told him about Keaton in the loooong teaser) and Oklahoma Governor Tucker Baines. I know because the subtitles told me. They talk up Baines, blowing smoke up his ass. Bastard hints that he’s in with Jimbo. “Good man, one of us.” Uh, no he’s not. We like him. Skinny Blonde, who we will find out is named Jane, moves them along.

Jane meets with Jimbo. He’s pissed. He doesn’t take ultimatums, and Jane pushes him toward Baines.


Jimbo tells Mac for the ninth time that Keaton is a lost cause, and Baines is a solid choice. Mac wants to know why Bastard wants someone who is clear competition in the next election. That’s because Mac is smarter than Jimbo.

Becky tells her twin brother that he’s in the diary too. He’s furious. “The next time you want to bitch about your life on paper, bitch about your life, not mine.” She says she’s sorry. So, what was in the diary about Twin? My guess: he’s gay.

Press Gaggle. Not-CJ is asked about the rescue of the Nigerian woman, and as always, the press is harping on it as a woman’s issue. Not-CJ finally stands up for herself by detailing the torture the Nigerian woman would have faced: “The president wasn’t acting as a representative of women. She was asking as a representative of the human race.”

The Post reporter- who is redhaired and is therefore Danny, despite being a Hey It’s That Guy – says there was an out of-court settlement Baines was involved in. Dammit! I knew they should have smacked him down right away. And yeah, I should have seen it coming, but I had only a brief thought of it. And see? Danny asked for a comment. Danny’s cool likee that.

Grace and her son? Grandson? Are running around the halls. I wonder if there’s a point to keeping her on for a while? She serves no purpose.

Not-CJ and Jimbo say in his first year as governor, Baines settled a sexual harrassment suit. Oops. Man, The Bastard is good. Mac is pisssed beyond all recognition and picks up a phone. “Call General Keaton. Tell him his commander in chief is calling.” Damn skippy. Keaton better be good or I’m gonna kick his ass myself. Also: Go Mac.

Commercials. Damn, I am more emotionally involved in this by the second episode than I am in the Santos-v.-Vinick nonsense STILL being dragged out by WEST WING ad nauseum.

Morning. Little One gets a doughnut replaced with an apple. HA! After some silliness, we find out that she had the diary. And declares that Becky is a virgin, and wants to know what that means. The guys scramble. Hee! Mac first scoolds Little One for reading the diary. Damn, we don’t get to see Mac explain what a virgin is.

Keaton is obnoxious with a Palestinian aide, speaking in Arabic. Damn. I hate him already.

Oval Office flashback to a debate. Keaton is obnoxious, patronizing, dismissive of the American people and generally not what I want.

Keaton starts off with, “This is not going to happen.” He opposes her on Israel, school vouchers… and being Veep. “The vice president is chairman off useless.” She calls him on his bullshit and points out that they complement each other. I like that she stands up to him, but I’m not sure why she liked this guy. He lacks charm.

Gaggle. They stand up for Mac. Good for you, folks. She introduces Keaton, and I hope he’s less of an asshole for the rest of the series. HA! The Bastard is pissed as hell. He’s going to keep Keaton from being confirmed. Yeah, give it your best shot, Deep Throat.

Later this season: The kids misbehave. Mac says, “What a town. You can’t even trust the backstabbers.” HEE.