Hello, and Happy Memorial Day. On super American holidays, I like to acknowledge something that I believe to be really American, and by that, I mostly mean The West Wing. Luckily, today is both a truly American holiday and it is Richard Schiff‘s birthday, which means we are acknowledging arguably the best Sorkin character of all time!
EINTKILF Toby Ziegler
1. Veterans should be respected, regardless of class. Anyone who watches The West Wing probably has “In Excelsis Deo” in the list of their favorite episodes because A) Sorkin does Christmas very, very well and B) Toby is boss in this episode. Toby receives a call to come identify a body because (as it turns out) the homeless man had been wearing his donated coat at the time of death. Toby becomes fixated on finding the man’s family–he tracks down his also-homeless brother–and eventually uses his political connections, arranging a proper military funeral for the man.
President Bartlet: Toby, If we start pulling strings like this don’t you think every homeless veteran will come out of the woodwork? Toby: I can only hope so, sir.
Toby is so wonderfully Toby in “In Excelsis Deo,” and Schiff won an Emmy for the episode, and it always makes me cry.
Oh, and C) Mrs. Landingham. Another great reason.
2. Buying the love of your life a house does not guarantee anything. Toby and his ex-wife Andy have a pretty depressing relationship, if I am being honest. I am always bummed out watching Toby love Andy, and watching Andy–such strength and strong will!–stick to her guns on not taking him back. While Andy is quite pregnant (like literally full-term) with their twins, Toby buys her a house in a supreme effort to get her to remarry him. In what is probably the saddest scene ever (no, you guys! “Casino Night” is not the saddest episode of a show!), Andy tells Toby that she will not remarry him because he is “too sad.”
Andy: You’re sad. And you’re angry and you’re not warm. You take forever to trust someone.
Heart…breaking. Still. Every time.
Toby is sad, and now I am too.
3. But then also: babies come with hats. So then Andy goes into labor and Toby meets his twins, Molly and Huck, and it is the sweetest. He tells them that he didn’t know that babies come with hats (this is a bad lesson: babies don’t actually come with hats), and also that they crack him up because they don’t have jobs, they can’t walk or talk, they don’t have money, but they have hats.
It’s all good with a hat.
4. The best cure-all is throwing a ball against a window. It is also the best way to get someone to come to you. Will: What are you doing? Toby: I throw a rubber ball against the window, that means you come to me. Will: Really? Toby: As my frustration grows, so does the velocity of the ball against the window.
Some people squeeze stress balls. Toby throws them.
Also, there is a Twitter account for Toby’s ball because this is a beautiful world.
5. You have to come to a verb eventually. We all know that Toby and Sam have potentially the greatest work relationship of all-time, right? I mean yes, there are an endless number of phenomenal co-worker relationships on The West Wing alone, but Toby and Sam are just something else. Any scene with the two of them interacting with one another is so endearing this little heart can hardly handle it.
Toby: Sam, you’re going to come to a verb soon, right? Sam: Okay, you know what this is called? Toby: Bad writing? Sam: Imagery. Toby: Well, you say potato.
Sam is a fantastic writer, but since Toby is his mentor, we should be listening to Toby. Come to a verb, you know, eventually.