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July 25, 2014

Commander in Chief: Rubie Dubidoux and the Brown Bound Express

by Sarah Gilbert, posted Nov 16th 2005 4:25PM

geena davis in her yummy glen check pantsuitBig changes this week in Commander in Chief make me wonder: is someone at ABC reading TV Squad? If so, welcome, guys! And thank you so much for (a) giving us an interesting title (even though I'm not entirely sure what it means) and (b) updating Geena Davis' wardrobe. THANK YOU. When I saw her in the yummiest-of-all-possible-yummy navy blue oversized glen check pantsuit with a delicious ivory silk shirt, I thought, this is a woman president's suit.

Despite these lovely changes, the writers saw fit to make an even bigger deal of Vince's HIV status. Evidently, despite my beliefs to the contrary, HIV-positive is not over as a political scandal. To whit, a question by a fictionalized member of the press corp:  "does the presence of an HIV-positive man on her staff put the president in any danger?" hahahahahahaha! You're kidding, right? Is this a satire?

The theme of this episode was "mutual assured destruction" as both Mac and Nathan Templeton decided whether, and how evilly, to use the damaging information they'd both fished out on their foes. In Mac's corner: a reel of film from a 1960's speech in which Templeton played to a racist crowd. In Templeton's corner: the knowledge that Vince (special assistant to the commander in chief) was gay. And not just gay, but HIV-positive. This is a problem why, you wonder? I wonder, too, but evidently Mac sees it as an issue because Vince didn't report it. Which (as he notes) he has absolutely every right not to.

The most interesting development tonight had nothing to do with the AIDS stuff, but everything to do with Jim Gardner and "that chick from Species." Evidently, her loyalties lie not with her boss, Templeton, but with her lover, Gardner. Dastardly. And, in the end, she's fired, setting up a perfect opportunity for Donald Sutherland to look pained. Loved that.

And I also loved the scene between Templeton and Mac, the "mutual assured destruction" scene. There's actually a lot of great dialogue here.

Templeton: "You know what they say, it's a contact sport. Wear a cup. Or... whatever you'd wear... chest protection or something."

Mac (about to cue up the tape): "Well, you may want to put on a cup for this."

Templeton (when she says they might be able to be friends): "There are no friends, only enemies and allies. This will not put me in your pocket, but it will put me in your debt."

Awww....

Finally, I want to talk Dangerous Minds for a minute. For some reason the writers have determined that Horace is some kind of troubled kid in need of a teacher of a different race to save him (I guess we're actually turning Dangerous Minds on its head - instead of a rice white woman saving the poor black high schoolers, we have a poor black woman saving the rich white high schooler). But this scene is just played terribly. When Horace is confronted with evidence of his plagiarism, his sullenness comes across as if he's trying really hard not to crack up. He just doesn't do the apathetic, rebellious teen thing well. When the next scene launches into full-on rap music, I yelled at the TV. It's lovely music, and could be very evocative in a different show entirely. Here, it's just so, so, so clichéd.

Finally, a stupid line from Mac's new weekly press conferences (which are weekly TV series gold, I might add): "My daughter would say it's awesome." Don't adults say that these days?

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Presley

Does anyone know where I can find a video of this episode #8 on the web? For some reason my Tivo did not record this episode and I would like to see it. Thanks!

December 21 2005 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Patterson

Now what is going on with these t.v. series. Now we have a substitute for Commander in Chief. Am I missing something? My T.V. guide didn't even know of the change. Thank God for DVD movies, I am about thru with T.V. and the idiots that do the programming. This one had a very excellant rating ????????

December 13 2005 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Judy

My favorite remark of the whole night? When the president and her husband were caught in a private moment as their younger daughter walked into their bedroom. Kind of grinning and bearing it, Mac shrugged her shoulders and said, "POTUS Interruptus." I cracked up.

November 20 2005 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

What the hell was with Horace in this one? He went from the nice kid in the family to snotty asshole about the cheating thing. It was so far off from how the character'd previously been presented. Gah. Did enjoy Nathan's squirming when presented with the video, though.

November 17 2005 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bonn

What song is playing on Horace's stereo when he is confronted in his room by his dad and his dad turns it down to talk to him and then horace tells him to turn it back up? I have no clue how else to find out the name of the song or the artist, so HELP

November 16 2005 at 8:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bonn

What song is playing on Horace's stereo when he is confronted in his room by his dad and his dad turns it down to talk to him and then horace tells him to turn it back up? I have no clue how else to find out the name of the song or the artist, so HELP

November 16 2005 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
K. Corey

Rubie Dubidoux! How about some Rubie Snacks while we are at it? Oy! I just finished writing a dissertation about this on my blog, so Im going to paraphrase myself: Uh, no sir, I don't like it. Not yet. Rod had fit, now he has a cabinet position as Secretary of Strategic Planning? Nora is in Noraville (i.e. gone without a trace). Horace is a selfish essay cheating SOB after all, any and all JFK Jr. comparisons are now gone. Becca is the vulnerable type all of a sudden, getting used by a popular jerk and she is actually surprised and hurt by this? Jim, who I was just beginning to like is back to being an SOB because Rod pitched a fit and got a real job from the POTUS. Worst of all, now I have to feel sorry for Templeton because suddenly it comes to light that he has a sweet and beautiful diabetic wife? The whole Vince storyline seemed contrived. Where is this going? I hope this convoluted mess becomes less so soon.

November 16 2005 at 6:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elizabeth

I meant "touch" not "tough". Also - the title of ep had to do with the name of the daughter headed to Brown after her parents gave the prez the film of Templeton. Another way to tell Rod Lurie isn't head of the show - this is the first episode without "First" in the title.

November 16 2005 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
elizabeth

I could really see the Bochco tough in this ep. Not that I'm a Bochco fan, but this episode had no flashbacks and was a different style from the past eps. At first I wasn't sure if I liked it much, but overall it was a good episode. And next week, Zach joins the cast and makes the press secretary fall in love with him. Goody.

November 16 2005 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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