When you have a show as great as The West Wing is and was (aka, very great), and that was on for as long as it was (seven seasons), it can be hard to choose a favorite character. Between the CJ Creggs and the Jeb Bartlets and the Toby Zieglers and the Charlie Youngs of the show, some of the secondary characters with less screen time can slip through the cracks. Which is exactly what I think happened to Deborah Fiderer, who's one of the The West Wing's best characters and unsung heroes. Deborah — or "Debbie", which is what she goes by for most of the series — is, of course, played by Lily Tomlin, and joins the series for Seasons 4 through 7 to replace Mrs. Landingham as President Bartlet's private secretary.
But oh man, you guys, she does so much more than that. Debbie is this bright light of shining feminism and just pure... competence; being good at your job has never looked more appealing. Because what else is important after that? She's witty, intelligent, and capable, and once you get beyond that, why would it matter if people liked you or not?That's just not one of her priorities. And as a result, I've never loved her more. Here are just a few of the reasons that Debbie Fiderer is the greatest person ever.
1. She Legitimately Doesn't Care What People Think Of Her
As I said up top, Debbie is really not worried about what you think about her, and if you don't like that, you can take your business elsewhere.
2. But She Sticks Her Neck Out For Other People When They Deserve It
She really went out on a limb to get the world's perfect man Charlie Young hired at the White House, ignoring the son of a Democratic Party contributor to give the job to the more qualified applicant. (Or non-applicant, in Charlie's case.)
3. She Refuses To Be Intimidated
Even when recommending Charlie got her fired as a Personnel Aide, Debbie stopped short of giving President Bartlet any details about it during her interview to be his secretary. If he'd heard the story from her, it likely would've made him sympathetic to her situation, but Debbie wanted to get the job on her own merit, and that impressed Bartlet even more.
4. She's Like, Really Funny
The witty repartee between Bartlet and Fiderer never ceases to amuse.
5. She Is A Class Act
POTUS himself said so after discovering that even in a letter when she suggested that arsenic be put in Jed Bartlet's drinking water to make a point, she still referred to him as President Barlet. Classy, even when she's committing a felony (i.e. wishing harm to a sitting President).
6. She Is Always Utterly Herself
This woman doesn't seem to have a dissembling bone in her body; when she takes one too many doses of her anti-anxiety medication before her interview, which is something you wouldn't want your interviewer to know, that's the first thing out of her mouth. Along with the fact that she used to be an alpaca farmer and a professional gambler.
7. She Kills It At Poker
Oh, did I not mention this earlier? She used to be a professional gambler, so she cleans up whenever she plans with other White House staff members. #BBHMM, indeed.
8. The President Is Her First Concern
The only person who does more to ensure that President Bartlet's MS doesn't flare up due to exhaustion is his wife, Abbey Bartlet. (Another love of my life.) Fiderer establishes a tight schedule for him with enforced naps and a new telephone system, and stands by it even when he protests. Brass balls on that woman.
And there you have it. Can Debbie Fiderer be my mom now please?
Images: Warner Bros. Television (7); Giphy (2)