West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Episodes * #18 "Six Meetings Before Lunch"
Written by Aaron Sorkin,  Directed by Clark Johnson
Broadcast: April 5, 2000
Takes Place: late March 2000 (Toby says they've been in office 15 months & Mendoza's been on his radar screen for three months)
Query: How Can Zoey Go to a Frat Party at a College which Doesn't Have Fraternities?
Queries: Is the explanation of the symbolism on the dollar bill accurate?
Query: Why does "Six Meetings Before Lunch" sound familiar?
Query: Is George Washington's Rules of Civility still in print?
Note: If you are looking for the song, "The Jackal" from this episode, see bottom of this page.
Jefferson Memorial ©2001-www.arttoday.com

Major meetings include:
  • Sam and Mallory on school vouchers
  • Josh and a nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights on a comment he made about reparations for slavery
  • Mandy and Toby about new panda bears for the National Zoo
  • CJ & the President on Zoey lying to a reporter and then to C.J.
In addition there are several minor meetings (the number six may have been meant to cover exactly two of these or may have been meant more vaguely and covered them all or see the alternative explanation from Chris Kelsey at the end of the list):
  • Mandy and Josh about new panda bears for the National Zoo
  • CJ & Zoey on why Zoey lied to a reporter
  • The Secret Service agents among themselves
  • CJ and Zoey's Secret Service agent, Gina, on Zoey
  • CJ and Charlie on Zoey and her friend who takes drugs
  • CJ & Danny on what Zoey told the reporter
  • CJ & Sam on how CJ should deal with the President and how Sam should deal with Mallory

The night before, the Senate is voting on the administration's Supreme Court nominee. Everyone is sure Mendoza will be confirmed, but Toby won't let celebrations begin until the moment they get that 51st vote:
"There's a little thing called. . .'Tempting Fate'. In the three months since this man has been on my radar screen, I have aged 48 years."
Toby tells the group that things take time and patience and luck:
"In the 15 months we've been in office. . . . We've had very bad luck."

At the celebration, Mallory attacks Sam, who doesn't seem to know what she could be upset about:
"Don't play dumb with me," she says.
"Honestly, I am dumb. Most of the time I'm playing smart."
Turns out Leo has given Mallory a "Position Paper" Sam wrote on school vouchers. When Sam asks Leo why he showed the paper to his daughter, Leo replies:
"I don't mind you dating my only daughter, but you can't expect me not to have some fun along the way."

The next morning, Toby comes into the office totally wiped out after the victory on the Mendoza confirmation. He is so out of it that he can't maintain his usual facade. After smiling and greeting everyone he runs into, he says to Mandy:
"I feel like I've lost 180 pounds. I am smiling, I am laughing, I am enjoying the people I work with -- I gotta snap out of this. What's on your mind?"
"I want you to help me get the Chinese to give us a new panda bear to replace LumLum."
"Well that did the trick." This dialogue was supplied by Mary Santiago

Toby's meeting with Mandy does the trick and when she asks:
"Help me."
"What do you want?"
"Cause Josh pain."
"Hm. Okay."

Interrupting Leo's work, Mallory calls Sam a Fascist.
"He's in favor of school vouchers."
"No, Mallory, he's really not. . . . [The position paper is] 'opposition prep'.... When we're getting geared up for debate, we have the smart guys take the other side."
"I thought you were trying to drive a wedge between us," Sam says, confused by Leo telling Mallory how he came to write the position paper.
"Yeh, but now you're just boring the crap out of me."
When Mallory leaves the room, Leo tells Sam, "You're doing fine."

While Sam's been arguing with Mallory, a civil rights lawyer, Jeff Breckinridge, who the administration wants to name as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights has been arguing with Josh saying that the United States owes Blacks well over a trillion dollars. Finally, he says what he really means to convey by the argument:
"This country is meant to be unfinished. We're meant to keep doing better. We're meant to be discussing and debating. And we're meant to read books by great historical scholars and talk about them."

Theme of Episode: Various sides of various arguments

coverIn this episode C.J lip syncs to "The Jackal". Many people write that they want to find this song so here is a link to the CD at Amazon (where you can click on a link and make sure it is the song you want before ordering the whole CD. This information was provided by the webmaster of the former Inside the Bartlet White House who wrote: "'The Jackal' is sung by Ronnie Jordan" and is available at Amazon. We also have the lyrics to the song which we are posting from Jen Pelcheck's Community to The West Wing, who spent the time to write them down (her site has quite a bit of information on the show, by the way).

For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode, let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
28 Amendment
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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