West Wing
Take Out The Trash Day

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Take Out The Trash Day

There's a peculiar shot of the overhead lighting fixtures, courtesy of Ken Olin. Fishboy finds C.J. sitting on a staircase, and asks what she's doing. "Nothing," she says. After a pause, she says, "If you call Mr. and Mrs. Lydell in St. Paul and ask them why --" "Don't!" Fishboy interrupts. "Don't leak me a story. I've seen this look on the face of four other press secretaries before you. You've got a story in the trash this week that's a story, you want it out there, and someone said no." C.J. asks, "Four other press secretaries and you never took a free lead?" Fishboy says, "I always took a free lead. Not from you." When C.J. asks why not, he explains, "Twenty minutes from now you're gonna remember [that] you're a professional, and you won't like me anymore." If that's true, I wish she'd give him the story. Fishboy says that if there's a story he'll find it. C.J. says that he won't: "We've gotten very good at this."

Leo is watching a press conference in his office when Karen Larsen enters, carrying her box of White House souvenirs. Leo says, "I wanted to meet you, and I wanted you to meet me." He asks what went through her mind when she read his personnel file. "My father drank a lot," Karen says. "So did mine," Leo nods, "In fact, he died from it. He came home late one night, very drunk. My mother was yelling at him. I'm not sure about what; I heard the yelling downstairs from my bedroom. She came upstairs, and he went out to the garage and shot himself in the head." Karen asks if that's why Leo drank and took drugs, and Leo says, no, he did that because he's an alcoholic and a drug addict. Leo says, "I haven't had a drink or a pill in six and a half years, which isn't to say I won't have one tomorrow." Karen asks what would happen if he did. Leo says, "I don't know, but probably a nightmare the likes of which both our fathers experienced. And me, too." Leo explains a bit more about alcoholism to Karen, who seems to know very little about it for someone whose father was an alcoholic. Karen finally says, "You're not like what I thought you would be like." Leo asks again what Karen thought when she read his personnel file. Close to tears, she says, "My father used to...You have all these important decisions to make in your job. Every day. All the time. Decisions I can't even...People's lives." Leo leans back and says, "Karen, what you did caused a lot of problems. For me, for the President, for a lot of people we don't even know. But I'm not sure it wasn't a little bit brave." He asks if she liked working at the White House, and when she says she did, he says, "Okay, then why don't you go unpack your carton, and you and I will give each other a second chance." Karen happily heads back to her desk, apparently unaware that none of her co-workers will ever speak to her or trust her again. Leo turns back to the TV, where C.J. is dutifully dumping the trash: "Chad Magrudian has submitted his resignation to the Vice-President's office, putting an end, I hope, to that affair. We expect the President's appointees to the Board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to be confirmed early next week. And I have a note here that Jonathan and Jennifer Lydell won't be able to be at the bill signing ceremony this evening. There was some family business that required them to go back to St. Paul."

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West Wing

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