TITLE: I've Grown Accustomed to Donna Moss (1/1)
AUTHOR: Laurel A. (email@example.com)
RATING: PG (couple of words you can say on TV only
SPOILERS: Brief specific references to minor details
from In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part Two, The
Portland Trip, The Stackhouse Filibuster, and 17
People, but I think that's it, honest. I think.
ARCHIVE: Sure, just let me know.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters. They
belong to Aaron Sorkin, NBC, et al. Which is probably
a good thing, because I am betting Brad Whitford
wouldn't like having to sing Broadway songs on TV,
although maybe he would a girl can dream, can't
SUMMARY: Josh wakes up from an extremely weird dream
involving musical theatre; Donna and CJ are being
Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf; and the President calls
Josh "Gerbil Boy".
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS & OTHER STUFF: I had this idea to do
"Bad and Cheesy Song Fic" over the summer when we will
be faced with re-runs for several months. But, since
we have had SO much time on our hands waiting for new
episodes these days, this one just sort of happened.
And, like a bad car accident, I had to watch it write
itself. Thanks to Michelle for encouraging Bad
Broadway Fic! Now, on with the show......
So, I am lying here in my bed at 6:11 in the morning
trying to piece together the events of the previous
night. I know, it sounds like something really smutty
happened, and as much as my sexually frustrated mind
and body wishes that were so, it unfortunately isn't
I am really still waking up and my head is foggy from
the dream I was just having which, I think, involved
me dancing with Donna on some sort of Broadway-like
But I'm really wondering here are two things. The
first is, what would prompt me to have such a "girly"
romantic dream; and two, what exactly was going on in
that dream, because I have just woken up to the fact
(both literally and figuratively) that I am in love
with Donnatella Moss.
Ah wait, last night is starting to come back to me
(wavy Wayne's World flash back effects here)...
We are riding in the Presidential limo, the big one
that can seat like an entire baseball team, including
the coaches and the "John 3:16" guy with the rainbow
wig. I am sitting next to a window, Sam is on my
right, and Donna is on the other side of him. How
come they always seem to sit next to each other?
Anyway, Toby, CJ, and the President of course, are all
there as well.
We're on our way to the Kennedy Center to see the
American College Theatre Festival finalists perform.
This has become an annual tradition because President
Bartlet considers it a "golden cultural and
educational opportunity" for the staff. While it is
usually a pretty uneventful, if boring evening, at
least we get away from work for a few hours. However,
this ride to the theatre was about to turn into a
battle of the sexes.
Donna normally delights in attending these theatrical
field trips; drama was one of her 78 assorted minors
after all. She and the President usually drone
happily on about Shakespeare or the newest play by Tom
Stopford, or whatever ever his name is. But, since we
are on our way to see My Fair Lady on this particular
occasion, we are getting quite the feminist lecture.
Donna is has rallied the female members of our party
into something of a Women's Crusade. CJ is playing
Susan Faludi to Donna's Naomi Wolf and they are tag
teaming us guys pretty well.
"Even though Lerner and Loewe wrote the musical in
1955, when it was the social norm for men to go to
work and for women to stay at home to raise their 2.5
children in the suburbs, the fact that the youth of
America is performing this chauvinistic piece of
propaganda from the dark ages of the feminist movement
is repugnant," Donna haughtily informs us all in a
really long run on sentence.
"The youth of America?" Sam questions as he gives a
"You just watch it there Sparky," CJ jumps in from her
seat just opposite me "Donna's right, in Pygmalion --
the play that My Fair Lady is adapted from for all you
literary nudniks in the audience -- Shaw is attempting
a critical look at social hierarchy. Pygmalion ends
with Eliza rejecting Higgins and building a life with
the less socially powerful, but besotted Freddie. She
opens a successful flower shop and is the matriarch of
"Score one for the sisterhood," Donna cheers her on.
"Sadly, Lerner and Loewe mutilated Shaw's ending.
They've got Eliza bringing Higgins his slippers!" CJ
says capping off her tirade.
Too bad Ainsley isn't here to help out Sam and me.
After hearing her go off on the ERA, I am sure she
would have something to say in defense of these Lerner
and Loewe guys
But, just when I think we are going to get a break
from the Sister Suffragettes, Donna continues on, "In
My Fair Lady, Henry Higgins takes Eliza on as a pet
project; as if she were a trainable dog. Betting
money on his ability to alter her behavior no less!"
CJ picks up the rallying cry saying, "And to make
their misogynistic female/male paradigm even worse,
she loses what ever sense of self or self worth she
had as she is brainwashed into thinking that she likes
being trained. Not to mention the disgustingly
predictable ending where she falls in love with the
"You go girl!" Toby sneers from his relative position
of safety sitting next to the President on the other
side of the limo. Meanwhile, it is slowly dawning on
me that Donna must have told CJ what I said about her
dating those losers. This means they might gang up on
me, and now I'm getting really worried.
"Plain and simple, it's just a bad image to present to
young women, and men for that matter. It is as bad as
Pretty Woman," concludes Donna.
I choose that moment to let my wise cracking mouth get
away from me and make a remark about not wanting to
see Professor Higgins on stage with a gerbil.
Donna reaches over Sam and smacks me on the arm, hard.
But, just in time to save me from a real beating, the
President finally speaks up in that fatherly, I Am The
Leader Of The Country way that he has.
"What the story celebrates is not romance but
intelligence. It is about being liberated from
ignorance and set free to realize your potential. The
story is about optimism; it's about possibilities.
Possibilities for everyone, not just those with social
and economic status."
"Shaw, and indeed, Lerner and Loewe, pose that a poor
person, when given the same opportunities as the upper
classes, will achieve admirably. Something this
administration firmly believes in, I might add."
All of us in the car get the Presidential stare from
him after that last sentence as he continues, "As for
you ladies over there yes, I called you ladies, you
are women also, but as I am a gentleman, you are all
ladies to me -- Eliza returns to Higgins in the end
not because he has reformed his attitudes, but because
he has defended them. She respects his stubbornness."
"And even though the show isn't really about romance,
Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle are just about
the most romantic couple you will find. Pay
particular attention to Eliza singing I Could Have
Danced All Night. The song begins by referring simply
to a dance of joy for life, but it subtly becomes
clear that it's Higgins himself she could have danced
all night with."
"These two people fall in love with their heads,
instead of the usual parts. So, take that Gerbil
Boy." He says this last part directly to me and while
I can't believe that the President just used the
phrase "Gerbil Boy," I am more concerned with how I
can prevent this from becoming my new nickname around
the West Wing.
Before I have a chance to rebut the rodent comment,
Donna jumps in, "But, Mr. President, Higgins hardly
even notices Eliza as a woman, much less as a person,
until she is gone and isn't there to bring him his
slippers. To him, Eliza is just part of an experiment
that turns into some sick co-dependent relationship,"
Donna concludes in defense of women everywhere, or at
least I am sure that's what she is thinking.
Just then the limo slows down and we are at the
Kennedy Center, thank God. Since we are running late,
we hustle in and find our seats with out any more
skirmishes in the battle of the sexes.
The show, just as I had suspected, is horrible. Not
that I don't appreciate a good musical, but I'm really
more of a Rodgers and Hammerstein man. But Jesus,
don't tell Sam! With his "I was Recording Secretary
for the Gilbert and Sullivan Society" thing, he might
want to, you know, go see some dinner theatre or
I try to occupy my self by reviewing my strategy to
knock down the Republicans' latest attempt to expand
oil drilling off the California coast. And I admit
it, I am feeling triumphant that I am have managed to
sit between Sam and Donna and am sneaking the
occasional peek at her. She is, of course, continuing
to fume over the content of the show, and rightly so.
But, her silhouette looks amazingly soft and beautiful
in the glow of the stage lights.
Then we get to the part at the end where Henry Higgins
sings I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face and I start to
freak out. I realize that I am Henry Higgins and
Donna is my Eliza Doolittle. I don't mean that when I
hired her she was selling flowers and has stage make
up on her face that's supposed to be soot or grime
from the street or something. But, I realize that my
attitude towards her is kind of like Henry's.
After I hired her, I began to view her as someone I
was molding, shaping, and training. I was going to
take this young, naive, Midwestern little girl and
impart my Beltway wisdom to her which would, no doubt,
make her a wiser and better person. God, I am such a
pig! I guess I wasn't completely able to tune out her
Uh oh (wavy Wayne's World flashback effects here as I
return to present time), my dream is coming back to me
more clearly now (wavy Wayne's World effects start to
fill the room again signaling the start of the dream
sequence this time...)
I find myself wearing a pretty regular button-down
shirt, some horrible ascot tie and a tweed blazer with
elbow patches. I am smoking a pipe, and sitting in
some kind of library place. To my horror, I realize
that not only do I know the word ascot, but I also
have no pants on. What's up with that always
happening in dreams although this is different,
because usually when I have no pants on in a dream, I
have shown up completely unprepared to a meeting with
a Senator or the dream is of a totally different
nature, and I am not even going there.
Anyway, just as I am taking all this in and wondering
whose clothes I have on and just who might be wearing
my pants, I hear music start to play. I look over to
where it's coming from and see some guy holding a
white stick gesturing at a bunch of college-age kids
playing musical instruments. Ah, he must be the
conductor. He frantically waves his stick at me, and
it is at that point that it hits me. I am Henry
Higgins and I am supposed to be singing.
I open my mouth to tell the conductor guy just what he
can do with that white stick of his, but instead of
"shove that thing up your ass," coming out, I start to
sing. The music takes hold of me and I seem to
automatically know the words and it all feels kind of
fun and natural. I am singing my heart out, and as
real as it feels, I am still me, so I'm also giving
the audience some commentary on the side.
I've grown accustomed to her face
She almost makes the day begin (Although if she
brought me coffee, that would make it begin so much
I've grown accustomed to the tune she whistles night
and noon (Some damned Yo Yo Ma piece no doubt)
Her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs
Are second nature to me now
Like breathing out and breathing in
I was serenely independent and content before we met
(okay, except for that bad Mandy phase)
Surely I could always be that way again and yet
I've grown accustomed to her looks, accustomed to her
Accustomed to her face
I'm very grateful she's a woman and so easy to forget
Rather like a habit one can always break and yet
I've grown accustomed to the trace of something in the
Accustomed to her face
All of a sudden the music shifts into the tune of I
Could Have Danced All Night and Donna appears at the
top of some stairs on stage left in a single
spotlight. It reminds me of those school pictures
from the 70's where they superimpose your image over
your own shoulder from a different angle. But, it all
feels some how supernaturally normal in a freakish
Donna starts to descend the stairs; I meet her at the
bottom, taking her into my embrace as we dance across
the stage. She feels so good in my arms and I forget
for a moment that I am Henry Higgins and she is Eliza
Doolittle and that we are supposed to be in this awful
sexist show. Although, I do become suddenly and
painfully aware of my lack of pants and I think it was
about then that I woke up and realized that I have
become accustomed to Donnatella Moss.
Note: Most of the analysis of My Fair Lady comes from
a detailed review by Roger Ebert and can be found on
the Chicago Sun Times website (www.suntimes.com). I
also found bits and pieces of information from lots of
different websites, none of which I wrote down, so if
I used something that you thought up or wrote, thank
you and I give you full credit. And wouldn't that be
amazing if I happened to use something from a
particular website about My Fair Lady and the author
happened to read Josh and Donna fan fiction! If that
is the case, you had better e-mail me because that has
got to be THE best "small world" story I have ever