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Recap / The West Wing S 01 E 18 Six Meetings Before Lunch

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After a three month process, the Senate confirms Judge Roberto Mendoza to the Supreme Court. The staff celebrates, and then it's back to work the next day. Josh reluctantly meets with Jeff Breckenridge (Carl Lumbly), the nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, whom some leaders have a problem with because Breckenridge supports slavery reparations. The same night Mendoza gets confirmed, Zoey goes to a party where David Arbor, the son of a major Democrat Party contributor, is arrested for drug possession. Zoey tells a reporter who confronts her on campus that she didn't know Arbor was supposed to be there, but when Charlie tells C.J. Zoey brought Arbor's car keys to the party (that she had taken from him earlier), C.J. realizes Zoey was lying. She manages to kill the story, but when she has to tell President Bartlet, he goes ballistic until C.J. manages to talk him down. Also, Leo gives Mallory a position paper Sam wrote in favor of school vouchers, and incensed, she makes an appointment to see him and argue him about it, only for Leo to reveal Sam was merely writing opposition prep (he's actually in favor of more public school funding) because Leo was trying to have fun with them. Finally, Mandy wants the White House to buy a new panda bear for the National Zoo.


This episode contains examples of:

  • Author Catch Phrase: Sam tells Mallory, "And believe me, if you haven't seen C.J. do “The Jackal,” then you haven't seen Shakespeare the way it was meant to be done." Casey describes something in a similar fashion on Sports Night.
  • Continuity Nod: The fact Sam and Mallory haven't really been on a date yet, and once again, Leo having a little fun with them.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Following the coda with Mendoza being confirmed to the Supreme Court, the episode mainly focuses on six meetings between the main characters that occur over the course of one morning. The episode ends with Josh offering to buy lunch for the man he's been meeting with throughout the episode.
  • Foreshadowing: Josh's father dying during the Illinois primary becomes important later. So will the white supremacist group Gina is tracking.
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  • Gratuitous French: Averted; Zoey and her friend Stacy are practicing for class.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: Leo telling Mallory that "Yes, you may go have lunch with the fascist."
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title is inspired by a line from Through the Looking Glass, where one character talks about having believed six impossible things before breakfast.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Parodied.
    Mallory: Don't play dumb with me.
    Sam: No, honestly I am dumb. Most of the time I'm playing smart.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Toby during his "Day of Jubilee" after Mendoza gets confirmed:
    Margaret: Hey there, Toby.
    Toby: Hey there, Margaret.
    Margaret: Are you okay?
    Toby: Yeah. Why wouldn't I be okay?
    Margaret: You don't usually say, "Hey there, Margaret."
    Toby: (giggling) What do I usually say?
    Margaret: You usually growl something inaudible.
    Toby: Not today.
    Margaret: I see.
    Toby: You, on the other hand, should turn that frown upside down.
    Margaret: I'm sorry?
    Toby: Let a smile be your umbrella, Margaret.
    Margaret: Okay, now you're scaring the crap out of me, Toby.
    • Then there's this:
    Mandy: You got two seconds?
    Toby: Madeline, you are charming and you are brilliant and for you, I have all the time in the world.
    Mandy: (to Bonnie and Ginger) What's with him?
    Ginger: It's the day after his Day of Jubilee.
    Bonnie: We've never seen him sustain a good mood this long.
    Toby: Bonnie, you are dedicated and you are beautiful. And Ginger, you are other nice things.
  • Papa Wolf: President Bartlet really does not like it when reporters try to talk to Zoey on campus.
  • Revealing Cover Up: Discussed - C.J. tells the President that right now only 4 people know Zoey lied to the reporter about knowing David Arbor was at the party and none of them are talking. But if the President goes barreling into the Press Room and unloads on them for a reporter getting in Zoey's face on campus, he's going to make it a big story and then she can't do her job of protecting either Zoey or him.
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  • Sarcasm Mode: After Edgar Drum, a reporter, ambushes Zoey and Gina blocks him:
    Edgar: I have to say if this is how the Secret Service behaves in the Bartlet Administration, it's a sad state of affairs.
    Gina: We're all going to have to learn to live with your disappointment.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Josh and Donna's conversation about her penmanship.
  • Self-Plagiarism: Josh mentions that Breckenridge used to be at the same law firm Josh's father worked at; Breckenridge warmly remembers Josh's father and asks after him. Josh mentions that his father died during the Illinois primary, and a crestfallen Breckenridge says he's sorry. Sorkin used a similar scene in A Few Good Men.
  • Serious Business: You never bother Toby when C.J. is doing "The Jackal".
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: In the White House hallway, Zoey playfully accuses Charlie of being afraid of being affectionate with her in public. Charlie admits he doesn't want to be affectionate with her in the same vicinity as her father, but he denies it otherwise. Zoey's response is to push him against the wall and kiss him.
  • Stealth Pun: Leo to someone on the phone, "We're really going to make a federal case out of a book jacket? I mean we're *literally* going to make a federal case out of this?"
  • Tempting Fate: Lampshaded at the beginning by Toby when he sees everyone celebrating *before* Mendoza gets confirmed:
    Toby: Everyone in this room let me have your attention, please. The law of our land mandates that Presidential appointees be confirmed by a majority of the Senate. A majority being half plus one for a total of what, Ginger?
    Ginger: 51.
    Toby: 51 yea votes is what we see on the screen before a drop of wine is swallowed! Because there's a little thing called what, Bonnie?
    Bonnie: Tempting fate?
    Toby: "Tempting fate" is what it's called. In the three months this man has been on my radar screen, I have aged 48 years. This is my day of jubilee and I will not have it screwed up by what, Bonnie?
    Bonnie: By tempting fate.
    Toby: By tempting fate! These things take patience. These things take skill. These things take luck. In the 15 months we've been in office, what kind of luck have we had, Ginger?
    Ginger: Bad luck.
    Toby: What kind of luck?
    Ginger: Very bad luck.
    Toby: We've had very bad luck.
  • Title by Number
  • Waxing Lyrical: Toby is feeling so good during his Day of Jubilee, he starts singing "Put on a Happy Face".

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