Volume 1, Issue 1
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The Sterling Review - Next Question
By Johnny Betts

Episode: Next Question
Rating: 7.2
Share: 12.0
Timeslot Ranking: 1st
Overall Ranking: 33rd

The ratings dropped a little bit, but "Mister Sterling" is still going strong. It was watched by about 7,682,400 households. That's roughly 11 million viewers. I'm not sure how exactly they calculate that number. Official estimates say 12.2 million people watched the Pilot. So that's not a big drop-off. As long as it stays steady and continues to win its timeslot then it should be fine. Let's get on with the review. Who will Senator Sterling stick it to today???

Next Question. We pick up exactly where the previous episode left off. Bill is being bombarded by questions. His position on the Middle East? Since this is his first day on the job he doesn't feel qualified to answer that, but rumor has it that he supports the whole Virginia/Carolina area. What makes Bill think he's qualified to be Senator? Welp, according to the Constitution he meets the criteria. He's over 30, and he's a resident of the state. Yeah, but does that make you qualified? What if a high school dropout who had only pumped gas his whole life wanted a computer programming job with Microsoft? When they asked him why he thought he was qualified do you think he could get hired by saying, "Welp, I'm of legal hiring age, and I've never been arrested. BOOYA! You may hire me now"??? Don't think so.

Chandra! Laura (the cute reporter chick) asks if the people of California have the right to expect more experience, and Bill rightly explains that the people of CA have the right to expect that he'll dedicate himself to his work. Good point.

An old fart of a reporter asks Bill if he'd have gotten the job if his name had been "Bill Smith" instead of "Bill Sterling." Unprepared to answer this question, Bill stutters and stumbles trying to come up with an explanation. This causes his dad to yell at the TV in frustration, "NO NO NO!" Easy pop, you're knockin' on death's door as it is; getting agitated like that is a good way to kick the door wide open. He turns off the TV in disgust and decides he'll catch a flight to Washington. Ever heard of picking up the phone?

Bill finally says the whole name question is one the Governor should answer. Meanwhile, the Governor is chillin' in his CAB and telling everyone THEY need a better answer to that question than Bill. The Governor rides around in a cab? Man, I figured of all people the Gov would be cruisin' in a limo.

The questions continue. Why didn't Bill tell the Gov he wasn't a Dem? BECAUSE HE DIDN'T ASK! Apparently the Gov is upset that Bill didn't think it was worth mentioning. You know, Gov, maybe YOU should've thought about asking a few more questions before making him your replacement. Sheesh. What sort of dog and pony show are they running here?

So Bill reaffirms that he's an independent (in case there are new viewers this week), and Jackie steps in and tries to stop the questioning. But as Bill's leaving, Laura mentions an article he wrote for the Yale Law Review in which he advocated legalizing marijuana. She wants to know if he still supports that position. Bill corrects her and says the article (which he wrote FIFTEEN years ago) advocated decriminalization, not legalization. I've gotta admit, that's not really a position I understand. It's still illegal, but people can't be prosecuted? If people aren't scared of being prosecuted then what's the point of it being illegal? Ah well, we'll get back to the issue at the end of the review.

Old Fart Reporter asks Bill if he ever used drugs. For some reason Bill stumbles on the word "used." Smooth Bill, the press won't jump all over that or anything. Jackie hurries up and whisks him away before more damage can be done. She tells him that when she says "no more questions" it's the reporters' job to keep asking questions, but it's Bill's job to not answer. Bill's answer? "Got it. Wanna go back out there and try it again?" I'm guessing the answer to that would be "no."

The Majority leader and some no-namer are discussing the whole Sterling drug issue. They think he must've been a real pothead to stumble on the question like that. They laugh at his amateur status. You know Maj leader (whose real name I don't feel like looking up) he must not be too much of an amateur because he took YOUR position on the Finance committee! Got anything to say about that? Didn't think so. Face!

The Maj leader is confident that the press will soon find all his dirty laundry and all his crack-smoking friends will be on Larry King tomorrow. Yep, the Maj leader is a wee bit bitter. Rumor has it they were desperately trying to get in touch with Robert Downey Jr. to see if he was good friends with Sterling. Alas, Downey couldn't be reached.

Speaking of bitter losers, there's Arthur the mean former CoS dude. The Maj leader needs his help. Arthur denies being fired. He claims he'd never work for an independent. Riiiiiiight. Sorry Arthur, but 12.2 million viewers saw you get canned!

Gov Marino and his son are talking. The Gov seems to think Bill is a dead man walking, but the son is a little skeptical. After all, if Bill became an assistant DA then he must've undergone an extensive background search. The Gov seems to think this means they'll be able to nail Bill for perjury. I doubt that.

The Gov wants his son to run against Sterling regardless of the fact that this means he's having his son run against the person HE just appointed to the Senate seat. The Gov just brushes this off as not knowing he was a non-Dem drug addict. Yeah, that'll go over well with the people. "Ladies and gentlemen. I know that I appointed Bill Sterling to the Senate seat, but that's because I didn't know he wasn't a Dem, nor did I know he was a drug addict. And come on, how could I have known that kicking little puppies was a hobby of his? However, you can trust me when I say you should vote for my son for Senate! Honestly, I run a well-oiled, well-researched machine!"

Marino and son are at some kind of CA Dem Party convention. The mayor introduces the Governor. As they're shaking hands, the mayor asks how the Gov screwed up the Sterling thing so badly. The Gov fakes like he doesn't want the mayor to die when he flashes a faux grin and announces to the crowd, "I love this guy!"

Here comes Tommy. He's disheveled. He told his wife he'd be home an hour ago, but Jackie wants him to track down "the Senator's law review order." Been there, done that. He's halfway through it. Or wait; did she say law review ARTICLE? That'd make more sense. I'm not rewinding the tape to find out. Anyway, how bad is it? According to Tommy, he won't be losing any votes in Berkeley. That bad, huh?

Buck vs. Peon Jackie wants Peon to get every response to the drug question that every Senator and candidate has made in the last 10 years. Peon claims that will take him about an hour. Please. Unless there's a database with that information quickly available then it'll take more than an hour. You're not just gonna hop on Google and find the info that fast. And yes, I'm fully aware that somebody will most likely email me and say, "Johnny, you dolt, of course they have a database with all that info in it!" Yeah? Well I want proof!

The plan is to take Bill out on the town to the Potomac Grill to show everybody that he's still standing. Then they'll triple team him on the drug question.

The Maj leader wants Arthur to be the Executive Director of the DSCC. The Maj leader's brother held the position, but that was before the best fundraiser in the Senate became available! The Maj leader is in a bind, you see. The Republican Senators are raising more money than the Dems, and this especially hurts when the Dems are running against incumbents. The Maj leader desperately needs Arthur to save his butt. Man, can Arthur look any creepier? They did a good casting job of this sleazeball.

Bill wants to know where they're going. Tommy says it's the best steakhouse in town. Bill replies with, "Whoooa. Vegetarian." NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! SAY IT AIN'T SO! WHY, JOSH, WHY?!?!?! VEGETARIAN?!?!?! REAL MEN EAT STEAK!!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPP... oh, he was just joking, he says steak sounds great. WHEW! But hey, that was a great acting job on Josh's part! He had me going there for a second.

As they get in the cab, Jackie tells the "Senator" that he needs to drop the jokes about how they don't know much about him. Bill wants her to stop calling him Senator, but Jackie figuratively SPITS IN HIS FACE and calls him Senator again and tells him to get used to it. Ooooooh. Bill FIRES HER ON THE SPOT and asks the cab driver if he wants to be his new Chief of Staff. Tommy tells him that he's starting to go a bit overboard so Bill re-hires Jackie. Well, maybe that's not exactly what happened. But it's what SHOULD have happened.

Jackie explains that Bill is not the same person today as he was yesterday, and it's her job to never let him forget that. All across America several female heads just simultaneously swayed back and forth, several fingers were snapped, and if you stuck your head out of your window at just the right second you could hear "You go girl!" harmoniously coming from the mouths of several million female fans. It was a touching moment.

Bill and the gang arrive at the steakhouse. Apparently Bill recognizes somebody there named Papa Razzi. I think he was an old Italian pizza maker whose pizza shop was near the neighborhood where Bill grew up. Don't quote me on that though. I knew a Mama Razzi once. She made some good Italian food, but one look at her Tom Selleck mustache and you instantly lost your appetite. Bill wants to know if they're there for the food or the photographers. Jackie says both. You can tell Bill isn't comfortable with all the cameras flashing around him, and hey, who can blame him?

Looks like Arthur and the Maj leader are having dinner together discussing how they need a strong Dem to run against Sterling. The Maj leader wants Arthur to fly to CA and find him a winner. They seem to think Sterling will pull more votes from the Dems than he will from the Reps. The Maj leader isn't too concerned though. He feels that Sterling won't be able to run by the time the press gets done running him through the ringer. Yeah right. Did he ever watch "The Young Riders"? All Sterling has to do is slip into Wild Bill Hickok mode, pull out his ivory colts, and all will be well.

Bill asks Tommy where he's from. Tommy gives him a nice, short answer: Baltimore. However, when Bill asks Peon where HE'S from, well, Peon goes on and on and on about being from Miami, starting as a receptionist, being good with computers, being promoted, etc, etc. He would've kept going, but he was interrupted by the waiter who brings a bottle of champagne, compliments of the Maj leader. Poor Peon. He does provide some humorous moments though. He reminds me of a little yapping Chihuahua that doesn't know when to shut up.

Kicking Bird IT'S KICKING BIRD FROM DANCES WITH WOLVES! In case you don't know, that's Graham Greene. He's playing Senator Jack Thunderhawk Jackson. His last name is "Jackson"? Seems a bit odd. How many Indians do you know with the last name of "Jackson"? He introduces himself to Bill. Apparently Bill is honored to meet Thunderhawk. He's read both of his books, plus he really liked him in "Dances With Wolves." Bill starts to ask him what sort of mental lapse he had when he agreed to do "Wolf Lake," but T-hawk interrupts him and tells him to come by his office tomorrow.

As Thunderhawk leaves, Tommy mutters "traitor" under his breath. It seems Tommy's been a little bitter towards T-hawk ever since he joined the Republican party. Bill asks when this happened. Peon says 1990. Tommy says no, it was 1988, then he corrects himself and says it was '86. Bill offers Tommy a little advice, "Get over it." Hahaha.

There's Daddy Sterling on the plane. He's basically taking pills and keeping his mouth open a lot. Why in the world does he always look like he's in major pain whenever he takes a drink of water? What's up with THAT?? Seriously, he takes a sip of water and then makes a face that would make you think he just got shot in the gut while watching R. Kelly baby-sit the Olsen twins. The stewardess asks for his autograph. He agrees, and then he relaxes and opens his mouth a lot more.

As Bill and the gang get in the cab, Bill asks if there's any good music around. We then switch to a pool hall where Bill is at the jukebox playing some CRAPPY music. Hey Bill, PUT ON A LITTLE CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL! Come on, he'd look a lot cooler jamming to a little "Born on the Bayou" instead of the slow bluesy stuff he chose. Man, Bill snapped his fingers for a split second, and I got VERY scared. I closed my eyes, said a short prayer that Bill would not start dancing, opened my eyes and was happy to see that he was NOT dancing. Thanks God, I owe ya one. If you've seen Josh's little jig in "Picnic" then you understand my concern.

Bill and Tommy play a little 9-ball. And thus begins the drug question ambush. Peon points out that 43% of Senators have admitted to using illegal drugs, and almost all the Senators born after WWII have admitted to it. Jackie tries to joke that it's almost mandatory for CA candidates to admit it. Nobody laughs.

The Brolin Mullet Check out Josh Brolin playing pool! He sinks TWO shots in a row, and ladies and gentlemen THAT WAS NOT A STUNT DOUBLE! Nope, the camera was on him the whole time, and that's clearly Josh sinking those shots. Most actors would have a professional take the shot but not Josh. Josh also did some of his own skateboarding stunts on "Thrashing." He does it all. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say he's pretty much the Jackie Chan of network television.

Why is Mister Sterling so good at pool? Because the little hustler had a pool table when he was a kid. Why doesn't Bill take off his tie or roll up his sleeves while playing pool? I guess he's trying to give Tommy some sort of advantage. That's the kind of sportsman he is.

It's Tommy's turn to attack Bill on the drug issue. He says to make sure you're not specific about what drugs you've used; be as vague as possible. This begins a funny conversation. Jackie says to let everybody think you did pot. Cocaine is harder to let slide, and when she mentions crack, Bill incredulously says, "Crack?!?" Peon then asks, "You've done crack?" Hahaha.

Bill seems a little offended that they might possibly think he did crack. The truth of the matter is they don't know what to think because they don't know much about him. Bill decides to let them in on the truth: he has NEVER done an illegal drug. They're all surprised. Jackie says, "Well you certainly can't say THAT." Why not? He can't tell the truth? I suppose if he says that it'll cause the press to look closer at his past, and they want to avoid that.

Bill's on the phone talking to his girlfriend. He seems to be getting a little upset. He's trying to explain that he can't come home this weekend, but it seems she's putting up an argument. I don't know, but it sounds to me like she's probably being a TOTAL WAINCH! He warned her that this wouldn't be easy. I mean, it's been what, one or two days and she's already complaining? Wainch.

He's gotta let her go because his dad's waiting in his office. Bill isn't too happy to see his father though, especially since his dad's not supposed to fly for another two weeks. Jackie and Tommy both wet themselves when they find out Daddy Sterling is there. They want to meet him, but their excitement wanes when Daddy Sterling closes the door and asks Bill what kind of idiots he has working for him. Hahaha. They should've known he'd get asked about his name! Apparently that's the only question pop's worried about. He claims the drug question is easy by comparison.

Growing Pains sans Mike So daddy's here to give some advice. He says Bill should say his father had nothing to do with him getting his job, and the quote he should use is, "I love my father, but I'm my own man." Bill is losing his patience. He doesn't want his father's advice. Maybe not, but if I were a betting man, then I'd bet my last Joanna Kerns 8X10 (circa "Growing Pains") that Bill will end up using that quote before the episode is over.

Outside the office the Sterling Trio (Jackie, Tommy, and Peon) are talking. Tommy doesn't believe Bill has never used drugs. Jackie feels he just had to have smoked pot. But Peon points out that at dinner he didn't drink any champagne. Their curiosity is piqued.

Back in the office Bill is laying the smack down all over his father. "This is not how this is gonna work! I'm gonna do this job MY WAY, not your way!" BOOYA! You go Bill! Stick it to pop! But be careful, he could die at any moment. What's his dad's response to all this? He stands there with his mouth open for quite a while breathing really heavily. Man, that's not a good sign. The guy gets out of breath just listening to his son talk? If his character is still alive by the end of the first season then I'll be fairly surprised.

So dad gives up. He's tired of trying to help. QUITTER! Daddy Sterling takes his ball and goes home. A no-namer starts to ask if that was Gov Sterling, and Bill interrupts him and says, "Yeah, that was him." He slams the door, and Jackie wisely decides this isn't the best time to ask him about his drug past.

Bill obviously has some issues with his father. And why did Daddy Sterling insist on referring to Bill as "boy" five times? Bill should've stood up and said, "I'm not your boy!"

Arthur the mean former CoS is sitting poolside with a millionaire playboy. He's trying to convince him to run for Senate. They need a self-financing candidate, and it's going to cost between $60 and $70 million to run. Arthur doesn't think Gov Marino's son will be able to afford it. Just then some woman walks over carrying a couple of cantaloupes. Oh, I'm sorry, that's actually Jenna Jameson in a bikini. Holy cow. I'll have to say THOSE things are probably self-financing. I'm sorry, I'm not sure I even know what that means.

Jenna Jameson is playing herself, but the playboy dude claims she's not a porn star anymore. I think dude just lost his shot at running for Senate.

Let's switch over to Sterling's office. He shows Jackie a card trick. Seems he taught himself magic when he was a kid. He didn't have anybody to play catch with, so he had to find something to do. Growing up in the Governor's mansion can make a kid very weird. Now he just does card tricks to relax. Does it work? He's getting there.

Jackie and Bill go for hotdogs. She wants to know if he's in AA. Real smooth Jackie. Just because a person doesn't have a drink means you should automatically assume they're a recovering alcoholic? Hey Jackie, ever heard of a little thing I like to affectionately refer to as TACT?!?!?! Sheesh. "Are you a recovering alcoholic who has a history of beating women and children?" "Excuse me?" "Well, I noticed you weren't drinking alcohol so the logical conclusion is that you have a disturbed history of boozin' it up which probably led to you beating on women and children, and now you're trying to put all that behind you."

Instead of introducing the side of Jackie's face to the back of his hand, Bill takes the high road and explains that he has an occasional drink now and then, but he's not a big fan of champagne.

Jackie obviously has the hots for Bill and starts asking if he has a girlfriend. Come on, Jackie, get your claws out of the guy! Bill pretty much assures us that his girlfriend is about to be written off the show when he says, "Yeah, but it's a new thing." I.E. goodbye Angela, helloooooooooo Laura!

Back to the drug issue. Jackie says he simply can't say he never did drugs. Supposedly it'll make him look like another lying politician. So she thinks he should actually be another lying politician and make up a story about how he did some things in college he regrets. Does this make sense to anybody? "You've gotta lie so they won't think you're a liar!"

Needing to be true to himself, Bill says he loved every minute of college. It was the only place where nobody knew who his dad was. He's gotta say something, so he has an idea. Bill's next speech is an intense piece of acting by Josh. How about telling the press that he's sorry to disappoint them, but he's never done drugs. Oh, he's been to parties where dope was passed around, but he never took it. It's not that he wanted to be a good boy, no, he actually wanted to be a bad boy. But he wasn't gonna break the law. He wasn't gonna run a stop sign with a couple of joints in his pocket and give his father the pleasure of coming to the station - no wait, he wouldn't have come - of having his staff come bail him out and "fix it" and make him feel lucky that his dad was Governor. Bill refused to put himself into a position where he had to "thank daddy" for saving him. It was never gonna happen. When he asks Jackie how that answer is she says, "Needs work."

No way. It's an awesome answer, and I think it's the one he should've gone with. Very passionate answer. Unfortunately they had to start playing some sappy music during Bill's little rant, but other than that it was probably the best scene of the episode.

I can't tell you how cool it would have been if they'd had a flashback of young Bill at a party with Mike Seaver and Boner where all the kids were going to the bathroom and doing drugs. The scene fades to black and comes back to present time where Bill tells Jackie, "I didn't go to the bathroom." If you watched "Growing Pains" then that joke killed. If you didn't, then you're probably about as confused as Roseanne at an all-you-can-eat Tofu buffet.

Bill goes to see Graham Greene. I'm sorry, I mean Senator Jack Thunderhawk Jackson. It's a very eccentric office including furniture that Thunderhawk made himself. Bill likes a painting of an Indian, so T-hawk gives it to him, says his father painted it. It's an old Indian custom to exchange gifts.

T-hawk seems to think Bill's gonna be in office for a long time. Bill balks at the idea. In fact, he doesn't even plan on running for Senate when this term is up, but T-hawk repeats his comment. I see what's going on here. The writers are trying to send subliminal messages to say that "Mister Sterling" should remain on the air for a long time! Slick.

Bill, not being aware of ancient Indian customs, failed to bring a gift. No problem, T-hawk has something in mind that Bill can give him. NASTY! Oh, he just wants Bill to co-sponsor a bill that will forbid state government from controlling access to tribal lands. Uh-oh. T-hawk lights a peace pipe and starts to smoke it. Is he gonna try to get Bill to smoke it????

T-hawk's all about restoring sovereignty to Indian reservations, and Bill's right there with him. Hahaha, T-hawk says something in Indian and Bill responds with, "Sorry?" Turns out T-hawk was just saying "thank you."

T-hawk wonders aloud if Bill's staff has figured out an answer to the drug question yet. He says just to tell them he hasn't used as many drugs as Senator Jackson. Then he turns his pipe to Bill and asks, "Smoke?" Oh no. Is T-hawk trying to trick Mister Sterling? Is Bill being framed?? Is there an illegal drug in the pipe?!?! Is this a little Indian doobie?? WILL EVERYTHING COME CRUMBLING DOWN ON BILL?!?!

Bill and Jackie Bill's talking to Jackie. Apparently he smoked the pipe, but he doesn't know what it was. It didn't smell like pot or tobacco. Man, why would he smoke it? I'm thinking that wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do, especially with the drug question looming ominously over his head. I understand that he didn't want to offend Thunderhawk, but shouldn't he at least have asked what was in it first? I'm sure Senator Thunderhawk would've understood.

But that's all water under a capsized boat now. Jackie says it may have been peyote. She asks Tommy what peyote smells like, but he doesn't know. Haha, Tommy wags his finger at Bill and says, "You smoked peyote." I think it's funny that they are just SO desperate to nail Bill on some sort of drug usage. THEY'RE AS BAD AS THE PRESS! Why is it so hard to believe that there are some people out there who haven't done illegal drugs? They've must've done some major drugs themselves and the only way they can relieve their guilt is to assume everybody else in America has done drugs too.

Bill doesn't know what he smoked, although Jackie says "they" think it might be peyote. I think YOU think that Jackie. Why? I don't know. You just kind of threw that out there as a possibility. Still, I thought it was funny how Jackie acted like they had a real reason to believe it was peyote. Isn't it a little stereotypical to just assume that because T-hawk's an Indian then they had to have smoked an Indian substance? If Bill had smoked something with an Asian Indian would Jackie have said, "We think it was curry"??? I wonder about Jackie sometimes. Since all this went down in Thunderhawk's office they're gonna try to see if maybe it was legal in that context.

Meanwhile, Daddy Sterling is talking to the Maj leader. He claims he's tried to get through to Bill but has had no success. The Maj leader has a son in rehab. He says the press back home wasn't too harsh about it though. It didn't really affect his poll numbers, in fact, he thinks he picked up a couple of sympathy votes. Man, what a jerk. Are the poll numbers all these people think about? WHAT ABOUT THE SOUL OF YOUR SON?! WHAT PRICE FREEDOM?!?!?!?! I'm sorry, I know that made no sense.

Arthur's now talking strategy with Gov Marino and son. Will they both be able to run for office at the same time? It'd be an expensive affair. Arthur continues to stress the need for a self-financing candidate, but the Gov claims he won't be able to find anybody tough enough to run against his son. Why's that? His son looks like a wimp to me. He's constantly making excuses and comments about how they're gonna get in deeper scandal. But the Gov seems to think his son owes it to him to run for Senate. Whatever that means. What if he doesn't want to run for Senate? He should take his life in a direction that will make him miserable just to please his dad?

According to some religious freedom act, peyote can indeed be smoked legally in a ceremonial act. And Bill's meeting with Thunderhawk was sort of a ceremony. After all, T-hawk gave him a painting! Jackie and Tommy let Bill know that about 15 or 20 Senators also have a painting from T-hawk. Maybe they were painted by his father, maybe not. Hahaha, apparently T-hawk knows what he's doing when it comes to wheelin' and dealin'. Tommy starts to explain that T-hawk has always gotten a vote on something in exchange for a painting, but Peon comes in to describe the side effects of peyote.

Muscle Tension? Nope. Hallucination? Nope. Auditory distortions? No, Bill hears Peon just fine. Nausea? Negative, he's feeling pretty good. Loss of sense of reality? Well, he is Senator! Turns out that it can't be peyote because peyote isn't smoked. It's either eaten or used to make tea.

Daddy Sterling is ready to leave. The Maj leader tells him which way to go to avoid the press, but of course once the Maj leader turns his back Daddy Sterling heads straight to the press. Looks like he's gonna try to do things HIS way.

While daddy's stirring up trouble, Jackie has to explain to Bill that T-hawk's bill is aimed at one reservation that wants to run a nuclear waste plant. Bill doesn't like the idea of breaking his deal with T-hawk, but before they can discuss it any further some no-name office worker interrupts them. Looks like Bill's dad is doing a press conference on C-SPAN. They tune in.

Daddy Sterling is just blatantly lying all over the place! He claims that he tried to persuade Bill to be a Dem just that morning. Bill rightly says that "no he didn't." Old Man Sterling goes on to say that Bill insists on doing this job HIS way, not daddy's way. He's a "true independent."

Jackie and Tommy are having spasms over how great they think this is. This was just what they need. They even go so far as to refer to this as "brilliant." Brilliant? Sure, it was a good idea, but it's not a move that I would classify as brilliant. They're acting like the senior Sterling just discovered a cure for cancer or just wrote a Sterling Review or something of equivalent brilliance. But the cold truth is he merely identified his son as a true independent. Smart political move? Sure. Brilliant? Not exactly. We're not talking about the theory of relativity here.

Jackie says it looks like Daddy Sterling just separated himself from Bill. Bill agrees. He still doesn't look too happy. Does he wish his dad hadn't said anything? It's hard to tell, but it's obvious he still has father issues. And what exactly is Bill learning from his dad here? How to lie to the press?

Back to the drug issue! The AP wire can't find anybody who claims to have done drugs with Bill, but all the papers are clamoring for an answer. Today's the day to say something.

Bill and Tommy Tommy wants to know why Bill repeated the word "used" when he was first asked about drugs. Bill claims he went into "lawyer mode" and locked on the word "used" because he's used drugs as evidence in court. Riiiiiiiight. I don't buy that. I think Bill would've understood what they meant by "used." But maybe that's just me. Come on, Bill, you can do better than that. Lawyer mode? Is that like saying it depends on what the definition of "is" is?

It was Bill's first press conference though, so what do you want from the guy? GIVE HIM A BREAK ALREADY! Come on folks, he'll get better at this. Tommy says Bill now has to let T-hawk know that he has to remove his name from the bill because he didn't understand the "full implications" of it.

So Bill goes to see T-hawk and says exactly that. T-hawk recognizes that Tommy must've drilled this into the impressionable young head of Mister Sterling. But T-hawk's cool with it, after all, every Senator breaks deals. It's sort of a Senate tradition. He advises Bill to write his speech on an index card so that he can use it the next time he goes back on what he says. Hahaha, T-hawk delivers these lines with poise. It's gotta make Bill feel pretty guilty. I've gotta say that I would've found out EXACTLY what the bill was before I agreed to co-sponsor it.

Bill doesn't feel good about doing this. But T-hawk says nah, don't worry about it, no need to feel bad about it, he'll get better at breaking deals the more times he does it. T-hawk goes on to explain that the Senate has passed 371 Indian treaties and has broken every single one. He knows the nuclear waste bill is a terrible idea. But it has no co-sponsors, and the fact of the matter is it has no chance of passing. It will probably never even come to a vote.

It's just a harmless piece of paper. T-hawk isn't really going to try to give them what they want. He just wants to make them feel represented. He starts smoking the ol' peace pipe again. This time Bill decides to ask what's in it. Just a little Indian tobacco and desert sage. T-hawk thinks it smells like home.

Bill's out on the "mall" soaking in all the ambience. Is he lost? Nah, he's just taking a walk. Jackie comes looking for him. Bill asks her where she's from, and she says Fresno. They then have a discussion about what home smells like. I'm from Memphis, and I'd say it smells like Barbecue. If Bill had asked an Arkansas Senator that question then "home smells like one big cow turd" would've been a likely answer. Trust me, I've been through Arkansas, it doesn't smell good. My apologies to all Arkansas residents reading this, but come on, you know it's true. They don't call it "The Natural State" for nothing! They SHOULD call it "The Call of Nature State," bwahahaha. I think I just lost all two of my Arkansas fans.

Bill wonders where everybody is. Apparently they're all inside "governing." Doubt it. I'd say they're all inside trying to outdo each other. Does Jackie want Bill to go inside and govern? Well, they've gotta deal with the drug issue first. Uh-oh, sappy moment alert. Cue the cheesy music. Bill wants to know if they ever get to govern. Jackie says yes, HE does, and when he does it's all worth it.

Heading towards the press conference, Tommy asks Bill how T-hawk felt about him removing his name from the bill. Mister Sterling drops the bomb that he's gonna co-sponsor the bill. Jackie and Tommy almost have simultaneous heart attacks. Bill tells them it has no chance of passing so back off; he's not gonna break the first promise he made to another Senator, especially not "the Indian guy from 'Dances With Wolves.'"

For some reason we see a quick shot of Daddy Sterling on the plane. If he DOES die, then I'm begging the writers to please, please, please refrain from playing Mike and the Mechanics' "The Living Years" in the background as Bill reflects on the regrets he now has.

Josh in the Goonies I'm sorry, but could someone please tell me if it's possible for Corey Feldman (who starred in "The Goonies" with Josh) to possibly lose any more dignity? Just watch that new "Surreal Life" TV show with Webster and you'll see what I mean. I didn't even recognize Vince Neil. When I first saw him I asked aloud, "Who's the fat old guy?" Anyway...

Press conference time! Bill doesn't need talking points; he knows exactly what he wants to say. He goes right out there and tells the press, "It's none of your business." The question has nothing to do with how he does his job. He starts asking the reporters if they've ever done drugs. He says it's a silly question, but governing the greatest country of all time is serious business. Maybe if they started asking better questions then we might get better Senators, and we could make the country a better place. For some reason "God Bless America" did NOT start playing softly in the background. And for some reason we did NOT see an American flag waving in slow motion behind Sterling. I'm as baffled as y'all are.

Bill asks for a serious question. The Old Fart Reporter asks if he favored the legalization of drugs because of his own experience with them. Bill lays the smack down and says he NEVER supported the legalization of drugs. He favored decriminalization, but that was 15 years ago, and now that he's had a chance to see what effects drugs have on people he has changed his mind.

He asks the reporters if THEY have ever changed their mind on anything. BOOYA! Go Bill! Stick it to the reporters! So no matter how the reporters try to reword the drug question Bill will ignore it and say "next question." Jackie signals that it's time to wrap up, but cutie Laura asks about why Bill's father failed to convince him to become a Dem. Bill says he's not going to discuss private discussions he's had with his father. I guess that means he doesn't want to reveal that his father lied about that discussion.

It's Old Fart again, and he asks Bill if he has any reaction to what his dad said during his press conference. HERE IT COMES! Bill steps up to the podium and has just one thing to say about his father, "I love my father, but I'm my own man." I KNEW IT! The end.

Hmm, I wonder if this episode was a subtle stab at James Brolin? I wonder if this episode was one big message that Josh was sending to Mr. Streisand? I know *I'm* tired of hearing "James Brolin's son" attached to Josh's name, so I'm sure it gets old for him also. Wow, I'm glad I figured out that double meaning because it makes the episode all the more interesting.

It was a good episode. I hope we see more of Senator Thunderhawk. It looks like the writers must've seen my review and answered my call for more eccentric characters. So let me just take a moment to thank the writers for rea... "But Johnny, wasn't this episode filmed BEFORE you wrote your first review?"

*Johnny sits in silence for a moment*

Why does everybody have to try to smother my dreams with an eider down pillow? WHY?!?!

Still no word from Josh Brolin or Chandra West, but I'll definitely keep everybody updated.

I still think Bill should've gone with his "I was never gonna put myself in a position to thank daddy for saving me" answer. I just think it's a more truthful and more passionate answer than "it's none of your business." But what do other people think? Well, I decided to get my 8-year-old brother's opinion on the subject.

Johnny: What do you think of Mister Sterling?

Andrew: I don't know.

Johnny: Do you think Mister Sterling is a good Senator?

Andrew: I don't know. I haven't really watched it.

Johnny: Well let me ask you this. Mister Sterling was asked if he ever did drugs. What do you think his answer should've been?

Andrew: No.

Johnny: It turns out he's never done drugs, but his answer was "it's none of your business." What do you think of that answer?

Andrew: It's good I guess.

Johnny: So you think it was all right for him to answer the question like that?

Andrew: Yeah. That's probably what I would've said.

Johnny: Really? You would've said that instead of "no"?

Andrew: I don't know. I guess I would've said both.

Johnny: Ah, I see. There's an Indian Senator on the show that asked Mister Sterling if he wanted to smoke his peace pipe, do you think he should've done it?

Andrew: No, he might have gotten germs from the Indian.

Johnny Betts: Good point. Thanks for your help, Andrew.

Andrew: Can you look up Scooby Doo for Gameboy on cheatcc for me? I can't get past level 3.

There you have it, the wisdom of a child's innocence. Oh, and before I forget, I have to thank my 15-year-old sister, Amber, for making that Mister Sterling/Johnny Betts ad that appeared in the last review. I never thought she would read the review, so I neglected to give her credit. She did read the review though and won't stop whining until I give her credit. So thank you, Amber, for you work and effort. Now stop whining.

Episode 3 focuses on the various opponents that are hungry for Sterling's Senate seat. Will Sterling step up to the plate and bring home the runs, or will he get nailed in the head by a Randy Johnson splitter? Find out in ... DUHN DUHN DUHN ... GAME TIME!

In the immortal words of John Fogerty, "They came and took my dad away to serve some time, but it was me that paid the debt he left behind. Folks said I was full of sin because I was the next of kin."

As always, this is just my opinion, you could be wrong.

Thanks to the following pages for the pics:

The NBC Mister Sterling page
The Buck Stop
The Graham Greene Tribute Page
St. James' Place
Copyright 2002 Madlib Productions, All Rights Reserved

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