The West Wing: The Lame Duck Congress   Rewatch 
November 7, 2014 9:18 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Josh, Toby and Sam want the President to consider calling a lame-duck session of Congress to try to pass a test-ban treaty, and C.J. leaks news of this to Danny---who initiated the story in the first place by asking if the White House was "considering" calling the session. Meanwhile, Donna goes on the warpath over carpel-tunnel syndrome; Sam and Ainsley teach each other a thing or two; and a Ukrainian reformer shows up---drunk---at the White House, demanding to see the President.

A wily President Bartlet considers the extraordinary option of recalling the Senate from a winter holiday to push through a ratification of a new nuclear test-ban treaty -- despite the lame-duck status of many Senators who will not return in the next session -- while the drunken Ukrainian leader, Vasily Konanov thunders through the White House demanding to see the President. Elsewhere, Toby is shocked to hear that even if the Senate returns, the White House might still lack the necessary votes; Sam learns something when he grudgingly works with new Republican assistant counsel Ainsley Hayes; a stubborn C.J. argues against allowing reporter Danny private access to the President for a series of exclusive stories; and Donna is on a mission to get the President to back legislation on repetitive stress injuries.

Airdate: November 8, 2000 (I admit I was stalling a week so the dates would line up.)
Director: Jeremy Kagan
Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin, Story by Lawrence O'Donnell, Jr.
Yeah Count: 57
Margaret is also a treasure.
posted by ApathyGirl (3 comments total)
The new Republican-era consultants are providing more than political balance. They bring with them behind-the-scenes anecdotes from previous administrations. Fitzwater, for example, who had an extraordinary 10-year run with Reagan and Bush, has already detailed an insider's version of Boris Yeltsin's first visit to the White House. Yeltsin was in Parliament at the time, challenging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He wanted to meet President Bush, but the president thought Gorbachev would take offense if he received Yeltsin in the Oval Office.
"Yeltsin refused to come in the building, in effect, unless he could meet the president," Fitzwater recalls. A compromise was struck: Yeltsin agreed to meet Bush in the national security adviser's office, "so he could say he met the president and we could say he never got into the Oval Office."

Sorkin loves the anecdote - and says it may show up in an episode.

"Inside The West Wing's New World"
by Sharon Waxman
November 2000
George Magazine

posted by ApathyGirl at 9:22 PM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

"One thing that I share with Ainsley is that I love to eat. I eat all the time," says Procter, who inherited her father's fast metabolism but also runs, bicycles, dances, and weight trains for insurance. "It was in my second episode that [Ainsley] was eating a lot and eating everybody else's leftovers, and I just sat there dumbfounded, thinking, 'There's no way that he knows this about me.' My family called me and said, 'Now, did you tell him that?' It's just kind of known in my family, if you haven't finished it, I will eat it."

"West Wing' conservative branches out"
by Virginia Rohan
May 18, 2001
Bergen Record

posted by ApathyGirl at 9:23 PM on November 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great tags.

A fun little episode. The Ainsley-being-hired plotline gets a cute little capper. And she finds out that this is the real world and they fire real bullets. She also does that thing (it's going to come up again later) where she calls Sam the master. It's a bit of a running gag, but I never thought Sam was quite that prone to ego, the way, say, Josh is.

It's also a conclusion to the seemingly-dropped but really in-limbo Danny and CJ relationship. They have stupid good chemistry.

There's a nice stretch of episodes coming up: light, frothy. But there are big issues looming on the horizon....
posted by aureliobuendia at 12:50 PM on November 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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