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Recap / The West Wing S 01 E 17 The White House Pro Am

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Directed by Ken Olin

Written by Aaron Sorkin, Lawrence O'Donnell, & Paul Redford

Bernie Dahl, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, dies. President Bartlet waits a day before naming Ron Ehrlich to replace him, but Danny quotes a wire piece saying sources close to the First Lady are saying Abbey's pushing for Ehrlich. C.J. and Sam try to figure out if it was someone from Abbey's office who leaked it, even though President Bartlet sent mixed messages as to whether he wanted it checked out. Turns out he did want it checked out (he even asks Danny for his source), and it turns out Abbey herself was the source of the leak, which leads to their first Oval Office fight.


Abbey also goes on TV with a young teenage boy who's in charge of a group called "The Children's Crusade", dedicated to fighting child labor. Inspired by this, Congresswoman Becky Reeseman wants to attach a child labor amendment to a trade bill that's going to comfortably pass, even though Sam points out the bill will die if she attaches it. Abbey is eventually able to talk the Congresswoman out of doing this by promising her a shot at a Senate seat opening up, but Abbey goes on to tell Bartlet she's going to keep bothering him about child labor.

Elsewhere, President Bartlet tells Zoey she and Charlie can't go to a new club opening because the Secret Service has security issues with it. Charlie gets upset about this and walks out on Zoey during lunch, but when Danny points out how much pressure she's under, he goes to her dorm room and apologizes. Also, Toby very reluctantly goes with Josh to meet with three Congressman to get their support for that trade bill.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Brick Joke: When Zoey comes to her father's office, he chides her about not taking more math. At the end, when Charlie comes by Zoey's dorm room to apologize, he brings her a math book that the President told him to bring. Also, Gina tells Charlie she likes it when Zoey stays in and watches videos, so Charlie brings those at the end as well.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Just stand there in your wrongness and be wrong."
  • Foreshadowing: When talking to Charlie about the Secret Service warning him off from attending a club opening with Zoe, and Charlie's sulking about it, Danny points out that the people making these threats "may be heavily armed, but I wouldn't put a lot of money on their marksmanship. One of these days they're going to miss her and hit me." As later episodes will show, he's wrong about the targets, but not about the results...
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  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Josh wants Toby to do this with him at the meeting; Toby would rather that Josh play good cop and he play the cop who doesn't go to the meeting.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Abbey thinks Bartlet is delaying naming Ehrlich because 30 years ago, she went out with him for six months. Bartlet corrects her that it was nine months.
  • Henpecked Husband: Bartlet spends the entire episode getting his staffers and Danny to 'handle' the First Lady because he doesn't want to be the one to get into an argument with her.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: After Toby basically belittles the Congressmen he and Josh are meeting with:
    Josh: This, right here, this is why you have a reputation as a pain in the ass.
    Toby: I cultivated that reputation.
  • The Klutz: Poor Sam.
    Congresswoman Reeseman: I heard the "ow" and the "clang", and I figured it must be Sam Seaborn.
  • Mama Bear: Why Abbey feels so strongly about child labor.
    Abbey: Jed, if it was one of our girls in that factory, you'd send in the Marines.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: At separate points in the episode, Donna, Charlie, Zoey and even Leo talk about a book called When My Grandmother was a Child, which describes life 100 years earlier.
  • Shout-Out: When Josh suggests to Toby they play Good Cop/Bad Cop, Toby says, "This isn't Hawaii Five-O."
    • Also, Danny refers to the people threatening Zoey because she's with Charlie as the Hardy Boys.
  • Stepford Smiler: Abbey when she realizes President Bartlet is attempting to use Danny to figure out who was responsible for the leak. She does it again when she and Bartlet meet up at the end.
    • Bartlet himself has a rather queasily desperate smile on his face throughout much of his conversation with Danny when he's trying to get him to squeal on the source, and thus help him avoid / be better prepared for the inevitable awkward conversation he's facing with Abbey.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Leo clearly does not have high hopes for the outcome of Bartlet's little chat with Danny:
    [Before anyone has said anything]
    Leo: I'd just like to say right off the bat that I strongly urged the President not to have this conversation, so I'm just a guy sitting here.
    Bartlet: We'll note with surprise your total lack of conviction, Leo.
    Leo: [Grimly] Note it well, sir.
  • Too Much Information: When Danny tells President Bartlet he gave Charlie advice for him to patch up his quarrel with Zoey, Bartlet replies, "You're coaching my personal aide on how to best score with my daughter? Yes, Danny, that does make me feel better". Also, there's this:
    Abbey: She (Zoey) went back to her dorm. She and Charlie had a fight cause the Service doesn't want them to show up at this thing together.
    Bartlet: Maybe she'll be so traumatized by this experience, that she'll never date another boy again.
    Abbey: Well, he left here a little while ago and, I'd say that in about an hour the lights will be off, there'll be a sock on the doorknob, and who...
    Bartlet: Don't finish that sentence. I'm a man of questionable health.