This episode of the West Wing represents the lowest point so far for the Bartlet team, but perhaps the highest point so far for the series. Josh and Hrishi are joined by The Honorable Patrick Murphy (@USAMurphy), Under Secretary of the Army. While he was a Congressman from Pennsylvania, Secretary Murphy helped overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
We noted the unusual music cue (with its arpeggiated synthesizer part) at the end of the episode. Some astute listeners pointed out a musical similarity to the start of "Baba O'Riley" by The Who, and others pointed out that the final chapter of the episode on the DVDs is called "Out Here in the Fields," a lyric from that song. (And also read that "Out Here in the Fields" was the working title of the episode.) So, we asked Music Supervisor Ann Kline if she remembered what the deal was. She said:
Oh, I DO remember. Aaron was listening to Baba O'Riley when he was writing that episode, and he wanted to license the song for the end scene. It was odd, because there is usually no problem licensing it, but the use was flat out denied. I never could get an answer on why. The show was still new, and Pete Townshend didn't know what it was yet. Aaron wasn't super disappointed though, he really thought Snuffy captured the feel he wanted.
When they couldn't get the rights to the song, the title must have changed to "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet." (Eventually, Aaron was able to use the song for another climactic moment — but in The Newsroom.) Thanks to Ann and all of our brilliant listeners for making the connection.
[ download ]