West Wing
Ellie

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Smoke 'em If You Got 'em

Previously on The West Wing: the President announced a Blue Ribbon Commission to study the long-term future of entitlement programs; we met Toby's ex-wife, Congresswoman Andrea Wyatt; during a press briefing, Danny didn't miss a chance to take a cheap shot at C.J. about drug policy.

The camera pans across a desk filled with framed pictures of a woman with her child, receiving some sort of plaque from POTUS, wearing a lab coat and standing by a patient's bedside, etc. We hear someone reading questions about marijuana use. We see a table at which three people sit, two with laptops. One staffer is reading questions to the woman featured in the photos and the other staffer is typing in her responses. It's the Surgeon General, played by Mary Kay Place, and she's hosting an online chat. It's Wednesday night. She's wearing a Stanford sweatshirt and looking quite casual and comfortable. She answers a question about whether marijuana use affects fertility and the reproductive systems. One chat participant ("Pixeladd") asks about the relationship between marijuana use and cancer. She states that there are no conclusive studies, but that there does seem to be strong evidence that pot smoke can be a factor in acquiring respiratory illness. She says, with a chuckle, "If Pixeladd wants to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without throwing up, he should put the bong back in the closet behind the Allman Brothers albums, where it belongs."

The camera moves behind the guy pitching the questions, and the screen goes dark for a moment and comes back up on a different computer monitor. We hear Donna calling out to Josh, and muttering to herself, "What the hell kind of name is Pixeladd?" (I predict we will have someone posting with this name on TWW forums sooner rather than later.) Josh wanders over and says, "I'm done?" She says he is. He announces, "Efficiency, Donna! Efficiency and professionalism and we're out of here at 9:00 on a Wednesday night!" A little shout-out from Aaron Sorkin to himself. Donna points out, "It doesn't hurt the President's in Tokyo." Well, let's wait and hear what Tokyo has to say about that. Josh replies, "Yeah, well, there does seems to be a little less work to do when he's in a different hemisphere, but nonetheless..." Donna says, "Efficiency and professionalism." Josh adds, "With a healthy dollop of leadership skills. The well-placed, well-worded memo. Nobody goes off the reservation. Everybody does their job. Turn off your computer. Let's go." Donna's still reading the chat and not really looking at Josh, but handing him stuff anyway. She says she wants to stay and watch this, and that she thinks maybe he should, too. Josh asks what it is; Donna explains that the Surgeon General is doing an online chat, and that she's currently talking about decriminalizing marijuana. Josh, with his coat already on, walks off-screen saying, "See you tomorrow." Donna keeps reading the screen. It only takes a moment before Josh comes back and sticks his head in, saying, "What's she talking about?" Donna reads the last question, "'Do you favour the decriminalization of marijuana?'" Josh leans over next to Donna and reads the answer, "'It's not for me to say. I can tell you marijuana poses no greater public-health risk than nicotine or alcohol....'" Donna continues, "'...And doesn't show the same addictive properties as heroin or LSD.'" Josh: "'Yet bizarrely to many of us in the health-care profession, the law categorizes it as a Schedule One narcotic, while putting a government seal on a pack of cigarettes.'" Josh's voice is choked as he reads the last bit of that sentence. Donna pauses a second and turns to Josh, "Yeah, somebody didn't get your memo." Cue the credits.

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West Wing

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