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Recap / The West Wing S 01 E 13 Take Out The Trash Day

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Leo's past alcoholism and drug addiction is the dominant story of the episode in three different areas. Josh and Sam go to Capitol Hill, where Congressman Joseph Bruno questions them about Josh's investigation into Leo's past. Eventually, it's agreed the investigation will be dropped in exchange for President Bartlet putting a sex education report away until after the midterms (more on that below). Meanwhile, Leo gets a visit from Simon Blye, a newspaper columnist whom he considers a friend, but who in essence tells Leo to resign. Finally, Donna and the other secretaries tell Josh and Sam who leaked a story about Vice-President Hoynes' advance man playing golf on the public's dime, but the two of them and Toby figure out the women who leaked it - Karen Larsen - also gave Leo's medical file to Claypool. Sam fires Larsen, but when Leo finds out she did it not for any political gain, but because her father was an alcoholic, he invites her to come back to work, and she accepts.

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C.J. is upset when she finds out the parents of Lowell Lydell are reluctant to come to Washington when President Bartlet signs hate crimes legislation; it turns out, much to C.J.'s surprise, Lydell's father thinks the President isn't going far enough with the bill or with gay rights in general, and she's forced to send him home earlier than planned. Also, the sex education report everyone's skittish about basically argues for comprehensive sex education, and C.J.'s upset when she finds out about the deal made to bury it. As a consequence, she almost leaks a story to Danny about the Lydells, but Danny stops her, saying she'll hate herself in the morning for it.

Also, Toby meets with congressional aides about PBS funding.

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: Again, it's assumed (by Mandy and President Bartlet, among others) that Mr. Lydell was ashamed of his son for being gay, but that's completely not the case; he wants to know why President Bartlet hasn't done more for gay rights:
    Mr. Lydell: Lady, I'm not embarrassed my son was gay. My government is.
  • Beware the Nice Ones/Tranquil Fury: Sam's indignant fury at Larson when he fires her is all the more terrifying since he never yells.
    Sam: Karen, look at me. (Beat) Were you the one who leaked Leo McGarry's personnel file to Lillianfield and Claypool?
    Karen: Oh…
    Sam: What?
    Karen: Mr. Claypool is a family friend-
    Sam: Cathy! (Cathy opens the door.) Take her back to her office and stand there while she cleans out her desk. (He walks to the door, then turns over his shoulder to Karen.) Security's going to throw you out of the building in fifteen minutes.
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  • Fair Weather Friend: This is what President Bartlet thinks of Simon Blye. Unfortunately for Leo, he's right.
  • Finding Judas: The subplot about finding out Karen Larsen was the one who leaked Leo's records to Claypool.
  • Hypocrite: The staffers meeting Toby about PBS claim to be admirers and watchers of the network, but in a kind of simpering, insincere way. True enough, when one of them fails to identify Fozzie Bear correctly and shows no interest in being correct, it suggests that they're actually just bean-counters who don't really care about what they're talking about, and are just looking for things to cut.
  • Idiot Ball: Congressman Bruno accuses Josh and Sam of carrying this:
    Bruno: I'd like to run hearings on the two of you being stupid. But I don't have that kind of time.
  • One Of These Is Not Like The Others: At least, according to C.J.:
    Toby: I was raised on Sesame Street. I was raised on Julia Child. I was raised on Brideshead Revisited. Their legacies are safe in my hands. (C.J. laughs) You've got a problem?
    C.J.: (still laughing) You watched cooking shows?
    Toby: I watched Miss Julia Child.
    C.J.: Okay.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Congressman Bruno. He has some choice words for Josh and Sam over their handling of the drug investigation, but he's eager to cut a deal to spare Leo embarrassment, while removing the sex ed report from the agenda.
    • Also Leo. While talking to Karen Larsen, he figured out that she didn't do it to make political gain, but because she was terrified of an alcoholic being Chief of Staff in the White House and he quietly admonishes her that what she did caused a number of troubles for the White House, but he admits that it was very brave of her.
  • Running Gag: Sam is obsessed with the town in Alabama that wants to make the the Ten Commandments the ruling laws of the town.
    • Strange Minds Think Alike: Whenever Sam brings up this fact to anyone (particularly Leo and Toby), they want to know how Alabama would enforce "coveting they neighbor's wife".
    • The president's day is mostly occupied with him being forced to talk about bananas, which he mentions every time.
  • Serious Business: Toby gets very protective over the funding of public television broadcasting (particularly Julia Child). He gets particularly irate when the (slightly snotty) staffer doesn't show appropriate respect to the Muppets:
    Staffer: Toby, hang on, there's one more thing — producting licensing for Big Bird dolls and Fuzzie Bear toys—
    Toby: Fozzie Bear.
    Staffer: [Dismissive] Well, whatever.
    Toby: [Sharply, with a Death Glare that would kill a rhino] It's Fozzie Bear, not Fuzzie Bear.
    [The staffer looks like he regrets getting up that morning.]
  • Shaped Like Itself: "I'm a woman in her prime, Josh. I'm a prime woman."
  • Shout-Out: To Les Misérables when Josh, Toby and Leo are discussing Josh's testimony about Leo's drug abuse.
  • Title Drop: Donna, of course, is the one to ask Josh, "What's 'Take Out The Trash Day'?"
  • Too Much Information: Josh tells C.J. Congress wants to stipulate all sex ed classes are "abstinence only", and C.J. quips she wouldn't have any trouble passing such a class. Josh gets a look as if he'd rather not have heard that.
    • Also, when President Bartlet is reading the sex ed report, he keeps crossing words out and saying, "I won't say that".
    Mrs. Landingham: Would you like to share what's in that report, sir?
    President Bartlet: With you?
    Mrs. Landingham: Yes.
    President Bartlet: No.
    Mrs. Landingham: May I ask why not, sir?
    President Bartlet: Because I'd rather not be in therapy for the rest of my life.
  • You Just Had to Say It:
    C.J.: The President will sign the bill with 15 pens, and I guess someone on my staff wanted you to know that.
    Danny: C.J.
    C.J.: Tell me you don't have a question about the pens.
    Danny: C.J., I have a question about the pens.
    C.J.: (sighs) Yes, Danny?
    Danny: Josiah Bartlet has 13 letters in it, how's the President gonna use 15 pens?
    C.J.: You know you were the only one in the room doing the math on that, right?
    Danny: I, I just...
    C.J.: Only one in the room.
    Danny: My readers expect a little bit more.
    C.J.: (goes through her notes) 15 pens, 13 letters, they must have stuck something in here about... Yes... he's gonna... interesting... he's gonna literally dot the I" and cross the "T"s.
    Danny: Thank you.
    C.J.: Freakboy.
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