I don't know how it could be possible, but, if you've somehow managed to go through your life without becoming a fan of the best Press Secretary in the whole wide world, I'm about to teach you a thing or two. There is the one iconic West Wing moment that will make you a CJ Cregg fan. I mean, there are loads of moments throughout the series that would convert even the most hard-hearted person into a CJ Cregg fan, but those of us who are already feeling the Cregg love can point to one specific moment that just shines above all the rest. In a single two-and-a-half minute clip, you get everything you need to know to fall in love with the iconic character played by Allison Janney. (Or fall back in love, as the case may be — but why would you ever stop?)
And the best part is, it can be watched entirely on its own, with absolutely no knowledge of the series. All you need to know is that CJ Cregg lip syncs to the song "The Jackal" by Ronny Jordan — perfectly-timed laughs, spins, hand gestures, and all. This moment comes along in Season 1, Episode 18, so it's far enough into the show that we know CJ well enough to know that this moment is completely out of character, but early enough on that it serves as a great reminder that she can still surprise us. And will likely continue doing so for the entirety of the show. (Spoiler alert: she does.)
It's just a beautiful moment of a woman who's extremely good at her job and very highly-ranked in the government celebrating this other thing she's good at — lip syncing the hell out of "The Jackal." The way the other characters like Leo McGarry and Toby Ziegler stop everything and shut up to watch is indicative of the kind of respect that CJ demands and receives around the White House.
It's just the perfect moment of everything that's wonderful about this character coming to a head, and it's made even better by the fact that the reason Aaron Sorkin put it into the show is that he saw Allison Janney performing it for Richard Schiff for fun in one of their trailers and had to have it onscreen. So that ease and joy that Janney is moving around with come from her own life, and infused into the character as well, forming the perfect portrait of not only why CJ Cregg is the best, but why no one could have played the classic role like Allison Janney did. If you watch no other CJ Cregg moment for the rest of your life (although, what kind of life would that be?) then make this the one you stick with forever. It's as perfect as she is.
Image: Warner Bros. TV