West Wing
100,000 Airplanes

Episode Report Card
Deborah: B- | Grade It Now!
Sam, Sam, the Sunshine Man

After the commercials, Sam arrives at the Oval Office with his first draft and hands it to POTUS. Jed takes it and reads it to himself as he walks over and sits down in one of the side chairs. He says, "This is good." Sam replies, "You know we can't do it." Jed knows. Sam says, "We'd need to line up experts who can face the press, and in just two weeks..." Jed knows. Sam rambles, "Sloan-Kettering, Dana-Farber, the Cleveland Clinic, UCLA...." Jed adds, "We'd want to include the Society of Clinical Oncology." Sam: "And the NCI." Jed: "The OMB would have to score it. We haven't identified the offsets to pay for it." Well, no, but then, you only had this brainstorm a few hours ago, and yes, perhaps you can't do it for the State of the Union, but hey, isn't there an election coming up? A convention or two? Why not do it then? Start now. No need to abandon the whole idea, is there? Jed says, "We can barely tell them what the 'it' is." Sam continues, "Clinical trials under Medicare and Medicaid...Science and Technology Democrats...the pharmaceutical companies...." Jed sighs. "It was a good idea, though." Sam quietly says, "We have other good ideas." Jed grumbles, "So we don't get water from a rock. We just do our thing and take our chances." Sam thinks so. Jed stands up, commenting, "We're going to have to do it awfully well this time." Sam reminds him, "We've done that before." Suddenly, for no apparent reason, the visual portion of the TV broadcast disappears for a moment, as Jed dismisses Sam. I am thrown into utter panic, until the visual portion returns fairly quickly. I wonder briefly what it would be like to recap with only the audio but am grateful not to have to find out. ["I did that once." -- Wing Chun] Sam leaves. Jed slowly wanders back to the chair behind his desk.

Back at the party, Kenny calls C.J. away from the people she's chatting with. She joins a sizeable group of staffers in the hallway near Josh and Donna's area; the staff has gathered to hear what Joey Lucas has to say. Joey announces, "Something happened at the half-hour mark. They remembered why they liked him in the first place. The breakdowns are being handed around. But the really good news are the panel backs." I suddenly realize that Kenny's in love with Joey. And really, why wouldn't he be? She's great. She continues: "Sixteen Democrats, sixteen Republicans, and twelve Independents were asked identical questions two days ago and one hour ago. Two days ago, 48% said he was able to handle his job effectively. Tonight that number's 59[%]." There are murmurs of relief and delight from those assembled. But forty-four people constitute a meaningful sample? She's got more: "'Trustworthy': 60% up from 41[%]." Toby says, "Give us the real one." Everyone holds their breath as Joey says, "'Strong leader': 69%." Everyone erupts into cheers and shouts; Josh lapses ever-so-briefly into a little victory dance that is all too reminiscent of both Ed Grimley and Chandler Bing. These are not, suffice it to say, characters known for the serpentine funkiness of their moves. He walks over and gives Joey Lucas a big smooch on the cheek. Toby and Sam shake hands. Josh hugs Donna and gives her a light peck on the cheek. C.J. gives Toby several vigorous smooches on his cheeks. Kenny hugs Joey. Josh grabs C.J. and hoists her aloft. Sam high-fives Larry. See, I really do know which is which now. Everyone's whooping and clapping, and then POTUS comes in, with Leo on his tail. Jed puts his arms around Toby's and Sam's necks and says, "Somebody get these guys some pie!" Everyone laughs merrily. C.J. asks for a copy of the panel backs, because she didn't get one. Kenny zooms off. C.J. goes back to her office, passing Toby on her way, who exhorts her, "Dance with me!" She tells him to hang on, as she rushes back to her office to drop off some papers. I'm crushed that we don't get to see them actually dancing.

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West Wing




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