West Wing
100,000 Airplanes

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

Sam lapses into an anecdote: "Here's something interesting. In 1940, our armed forces weren't among the twelve most formidable in the world, but obviously, we were going to fight a big war. And Roosevelt said the U.S. would produce 50,000 planes in the next four years. Everyone thought it was a joke. And it was, 'cause it turned out we produced 100,000 planes. Gave the Air Force an armada that would block the sun." Lisa asks if he still has what he wrote that night. Sam: "About curing cancer?" He goes to his laptop, calls it up (extremely quickly, I might add...maybe he was reading it before the speech and lamenting its excision?) and makes a gesture of turning the laptop slightly toward Lisa, to invite her to read it. She sits down opposite him, requesting that he read it to her. Sam complies: "Over the past half century, we've split the atom, we've spliced the gene, and we've roamed Tranquility Base. We've reached for the stars and never have we been closer to having them in our grasp. New science, new technology, is making the difference between life and death, and so we need a national commitment equal to this unparalleled moment of possibility. And so I announce to you tonight that I will bring the full resources of the federal government and the full reach of my office to this fundamental goal: we will cure cancer by the end of this decade." Sam looks sadly at his screen. Lisa comments, "That was nice. I'll pass the notes along." Nice? Maybe she could have picked a less hackneyed adjective. She leaves. Sam says nothing. We see Sam's screen, as he selects the text he just read and deletes it. The camera lingers briefly on the empty screen, and then swings around to show Sam's dispirited expression. Control-Z, Sam.

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West Wing




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