West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Episodes * #101 "The West Wing" (pilot)
Fake George Magazine
Fake George Magazine (April 1999 issue) from the display case at Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Under the "Ge" that begins "George", blurb reads:
The President's Man
Joshua Lyman
Is Bartlet's Man
Of the Moment...
For the Moment
Picture taken by Linda Mayberry.
(Click on image for larger version)
Written by Aaron Sorkin, Directed by Thomas Schlamme
Takes Place: August (1999?) (nine months before George Washington Law School Graduation, while Congress is in recess)
Broadcast: September 22, 1999
Subplot: Josh's Problems with What He Said on the Talk Show
Queries: Why Doesn't Toby Know What Commandment is the Third?
Queries: Does the Nobel Prize winning economist/President think economists make astrologers look good?
Queries: If Leo is called about the bike accident around 6 am, it is around 4 am in Jackson Hole; so was the President hitting the tree in the middle of the night?

Leo is at the breakfast table not listening to a morning show on a TV in the background or the telephone ringing in another room. He is muttering to Ruth (the cook?/maid?) about the New York Times crossword puzzle:
"Seventeen across is wrong. It's just wrong. You believe that, Ruth?"
"You should call them," she says as if she's been through this before.
"I will call them."
"Telephone, Leo." Woman's voice is heard from off screen (assumed to be Leo's wife).
"I'm in the shower," Leo lies.
She calls back, "It's POTUS." He picks up the phone.

CJ is talking to a guy at the gym, telling him that from 5 am to 6 am is time she makes for herself when she can exercise or meet an interesting man. The guy pretty much ignores her but does point out that her beeper is going off. She looks at it and stumbles off the machine.

Josh is at his desk asleep and although he doesn't hear the roar of the vacuum cleaner around him, he wakes up immediately when his beeper goes off.

Toby is on an airplane, arguing with a stewardess about whether he has to turn off his laptop, when another stewardess comes up with a message radioed: "POTUS in a bicycle accident." He reaches for his phone but the stewardess won't let him call because they are about to land:
"We're flying in a Lockheed Eagle Series L-1011. Came off the line twenty months ago. Carries a Sim-5 transponder tracking system, and you're telling me I can still flummox this thing with something I bought at Radio Shack?"

Sam is with a woman he met the night before. He's in the shower when his beeper goes off, and the woman, at first thinking it's her beeper, sees the message. It is 5:30 in the morning, but when Sam sees the message, he says he has to go. She says that he should tell his friend, POTUS, that he has a funny name and he should learn to ride a bike. He says that POTUS is not his friend, POTUS is his boss, and it's is not his name, it's his title: President of the United States. (Later in the episode, having taken her pager, by mistake, Sam finds out she is a call girl, though she never asked him for money.)

When Leo gets to the White House, he's greeted at the front desk by someone named, Mike:
"It's a nice morning, Mr. McGarry."
"We'll take care of that in a hurry, won't we, Mike?"
"Yes, sir."

Right afterwards Bonnie tells him:
"Don't kill the messenger, Leo."
"Why the hell not, Bonnie?"

When Donna, Josh's assistant, asks Leo to explain what happened to the President, Leo responds petulantly,
"What are you --- from State Farm?" But Donna is not intimidated and does not give up.
Finally Leo says, "He was swerving to avoid a tree."
"And what happened?"
"He was unsuccessful."

Leo is greeted at the Oval Office by the President's secretary who asks,
"Have they done an x-ray?"
"Yep," Leo answers.
"Is anything broken."
"A $4000 Lynex, titanium touring bike that I swore I'd never lend anyone."
"I don't understand. How did he..."
"He's a klutz, Mrs. Landingham. Your president's a geek." She complains about this kind of talk and Leo apologizes with his hand over his heart. As he leaves her, he smiles broadly. (Was he baiting her, or is he just pleased she's so protective of the President?)

C.J. doesn't know what to say to the press,
"Is there anything I can say other than the President rode his bicycle into a tree?"
"He hopes to never do it again."
"Seriously, they're laughing pretty hard."
"He rode his bicycle into a tree, C.J., what do you want me --- The President while riding his bicycle on his vacation in Jackson Hole came to a sudden arboreal stop. What do you want from me?"
"A little love, Leo."

In a meeting, later that day, Leo is berating a couple of economists:
"The President's going to look at the W.B.O. revenue analysis and say that economists were put on this planet to make astrologers look good." (Which would be a strange thing for a Nobel Laureate in Economics to say [one can only assume that when Sorkin wrote this line, he didn't know the President was an economist].)

Before he talked to the economists or C.J., Leo told Margaret, his assistant, to get the New York Times crossword on the phone:
"And tell them that Khaddafi is spelled with an 'H' and two 'D's and isn't a seven letter word for anything."
"Is this for real or just funny?" she asks.
"Apparently, it's neither."

Later, when he gets through to someone at the Times:
"Seventeen across is wrong... You're spelling his name wrong.... What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I'm just an ordinary citizen, who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I've met the man twice and I've recommended a pre-emptive Exocet missile strike against his air force, so I think I know how..." Leo pauses and looks at the phone then hangs it up. He turns to C.J., who had come in while he was talking. "They hang up on me every time."
"That's almost hard to believe," C.J. says, laughing.

For additional conversations from this episode see:

Theme of Episode: Introduction

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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