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Episode 1x18: Six Meetings Before Lunch

Read the Transcript Here

Pithy IMDb Blurb:
The morning after Mendoza's confirmation, various staff members are brought back to earth by difficult meetings.

Summary:Thursday, 9:45 P.M.

Senior staff and their support people are celebrating, champagne is being poured but Toby stops them because they are tempting fate. Mendoza is about to be confirmed as the next SCOTUS justice, but there are not 51 votes yet, and Toby will not have them tempting fate. They've had very bad luck for the fifteen months that they've been in office, Toby will not let premature excitement put the kibosh on his day of jubilee, no sir.

Donna informs Josh that Mandy wishes to speak to him about a panda bear. Josh is not entirely sure what a panda bear is, and needs a disambiguation between pandas and koalas. Oh Josh. Mallory arrives, angry about Sam. Very angry. As Sam comes to join in watching the vote, Mallory punches him in the shoulder.
Mallory: Sam!
Sam: It's my day of jubillee!
Mallory: I despise you and everything you stand for.
Sam: All right, my was a little bit better a few seconds ago, but that's all right.
Mallory: How could you write that position paper?
Sam: Which position paper?
Mallory: Don't play dumb with me.
Sam: No, honestly, I am dumb. Most of the time I'm playing smart.
They'd continue to fight, but the 51st vote is cast. They've just put a justice on the highest court of the land. Toby triumphantly pops open the champagne... and credits...

Thursday 11:30 PM. Leo brings Josh a problem. The nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Jeff Breckenridge, supports monetary reparations to the descendents of African slaves, he's got a pull quote on the topic on the dust cover of an upcoming book. This is going to hold up Breckenridge's confirmation in the Senate Judiciary committee. Leo needs Josh to meet with Breckenridge and see what's what. Josh protests that it's more in Toby's area, but Toby, Leo says, is fried, after the Mendoza fight.

In Sam's office, he's resumed fighting with Mallory. He wrote a position paper in favor of tuition vouches, to enable parents to send their children to private schools with money diverted from public school budgets. Leo gave the paper to Mallory who is (remember, she's a teacher) predictably appalled. There's some very cute back and forth about office hours vs. after hours, and whether or not they're actually dating, but before they can really get into a discussion (or a decision not to discuss), they're summoned (though Mallory doesn't go) to the Press Room.

Where C.J. Cregg does "The Jackal." Enough said.

Afterward, Danny finds C.J. in her office (shaking her bum) and is sad that he missed her performance. He brings her the news that David Arbor was arrested outside of a frat party -- where Zoey Bartlet was one of the guests.

Friday morning, C.J. and Carol work on the spin for the arrest story, or non-story. Mandy comes to find Josh to talk about the panda. She wants to get a new panda bear from the Chinese government to replace the recently deceased bear at the National Zoo. Josh foists her off on Toby.

On the Georgetown campus, Zoey is ambushed by a reporter, asking questions about the David Arbor arrest, and why she was at a party with a drug dealer. Gina, her Secret Service point woman, puts the guy hard up against a refrigerator, but that doesn't stop Zoey from telling him that she didn't even know David would be at the party.

Jeff Breckenridge arrives to meet with Josh. They discover that Breckenridge worked at the law firm where Josh's father worked and have an awkward moment when Josh says that his father is dead. They get down to business: Breckenridge wants back pay for African-Americans whose ancestors provided unpaid labor as slaves. Backed with calculations from a leading economist, the figure has been pegged at $1.7 trillion.

Charlie comes to see C.J. to inform her of Zoey's ambush. C.J. points out that the "reporter" is a writer for a right-wing fundraising newsletter. Charlie asks C.J. to get ahead of the "drug dealer" story, as Arbor just buys in quantity for his personal use, and Zoey and his other friends are trying to get him help, and Zoey was at the party to return Arbor's car keys, which they'd taken from him when he was too impaired to drive. We also learn that C.J. once drove her boyfriend's Porsche into a pond.

Toby frightens Margaret with his chipper attitude. He's unusually happy, even singing as he walks the halls.

Mallory has made an appointment and come to see Sam, to discuss the vouchers issue. She makes the standard pro-public school arguments with Sam, regarding his position paper. She's vehement, and clearly disgusted with the provisions Sam's come up with. Sam continues to argue his points in the paper, easily supporting his points, with passion even. Mallory points out that Sam's being pretty snotty for someone who wants to date her, Sam protests that it's office hours!

C.J. checks with Danny to see how far the Zoey quote has spread. She finds out that Zoey lied to the reporter about not knowing Arbor would be at the party.

Breckenridge schools Josh on Special Field Order 15, which parceled out 40-acre plots to newly freed slaves, along with mules, an order rescinded 4 years later. Reparations are nothing new. Josh points out that 600,000 white men died fighting slavery. Breckenridge challenges the assertion and Josh is about to say more, but backs down.

Mandy snags Toby, who is still unnaturally happy, dishing out praise to her and his assistants Bonnie and Ginger. It is the day after his day of jubilee. He's a little concerned about his mood himself. Mandy brings up the Lum Lum the panda issue, and Toby immediately goes back to his normal, surly self.

Zoey arrives at the White House. After some banter with Charlie and a rather hot kiss, she reports to C.J. who has summoned her. C.J. confronts Zoey about the lie, and Zoey lies to her. Oops, bad form, Ms. Bartlet!

Zoey's Secret Service detail is being briefed by Ron Butterfield. White supremacists are targeting Zoey and Charlie, threats have been received. Research about the threats leads Gina to suggest that they're looking for two fifteen year old boys. More research will be done. C.J. comes and wants details from Gina about the frat party Zoey attended. Gina refuses to give any information, as that could cause Zoey to lose her confidence in Gina and undermine her security. C.J. is unhappy.

Sam zings Mallory that she attended private schools all her life, and that liberals don't ever have a problem with anyone wanting a private school education unless it's poor people. Mallory wonders when "liberals" started being the opposition side in Sam's arguments. C.J. interrupts with a question about the Zoey situation. Sam's only advice is to keep the President from getting involved. He asks how to handle Mallory, C.J. tells him to invite her to argue more over lunch.

Mandy and Toby discuss the vagaries of panda life. She thinks that it's advisable to ask the Chinese government for another panda to symbolize the commitment to the U.S.-China relationship. Toby says that they might also symbolize this by not running over their citizens with tanks. There's the good old Toby! Frustrated, he asks why Mandy's brought this to him, she reveals it was Josh, and that she got played. Now Mandy's unhappy.

Mallory comes to ask Leo for permission to have lunch with Sam, as she always asks for permission when having lunch with fascists. Leo reveals that the position paper was opposition prep, for the upcoming debates. Sam actually is a vehement proponent of public education. Now she's thrilled to have lunch with him.

Charlie enters the Oval Office to inform the President that his lunch was cancelled, as the gentleman has been rushed to the hospital. The President is reading Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington. It's a book of French maxims that Washington translated in his youth.
President Bartlet: "When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even, without putting one on the other or crossing them. Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half-dressed." What a tight-assed little priss he must've been!
Charlie assures the President that he could take Washington in a war.

C.J. brings the Zoey story to the President. As Sam predicted, the President goes ballistic and wants to address the press. C.J. talks him down, vigorously, and he capitulates.

Breckenridge and Josh are still at it. The reparations to Japanese-Americans held during WWII are brought up. Breckenridge reminds Josh that he is a civil rights expert. Josh points out the practical point that raising $1.7 trillion for African-American reparations would require selling Texas and the U.S. Navy. Breckenridge says that tax deductions and scholarships would suffice. They continue to go back and forth and back and forth.
Breckenridge: You got a dollar?
Josh: Yeah.
Breckenridge: Take it out, look at the back.
Josh: (Removes dollar from his wallet.)
Breckenridge: The seal, the pyramid, it's unfinished. With the eye of God looking over it and the words annuit coeptis. He, God, favors our undertaking. The seal is meant to be unfinished because this country is meant to be unfinished. We're meant to keep doing better. We're meant to keep discussing and debating and we're meant to read books by great historical scholars and then talk about them which is why I lent my name to a dust cover. I want to be your assistant attorney general for civil rights. I will do an outstanding job for all people in this country. You got any problem with me saying all that to the committee?
Josh: No.
Breckenridge: Good.
They decide to go have some lunch.
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