Martin Sheen & Stockard Channing as the First Couple © NBC Photo: Byron J. Cohen
- Written by Aaron Sorkin & Paul Redford, Directed by Thomas Schlamme
- Broadcast: November 10, 1999
- Queries: Is Indonesian a Language?
- The White House is swamped with crises. C.J. summarizes the ones of the day:
- "...a hurricane's picked up speed and power and is headed for Georgia. Management and labor are coming here to work out a settlement to avoid a crippling strike that will begin at midnight tonight. And the government is planning a siege on 18 to 40 of its citizens. All while we host a state dinner for the President of Indonesia."
- Toby and Sam are writing the toast for the evening's dinner for President Rahm Siguto. Sam wants to start with:
- "We have been friends for over 50 years."
"I don't think we should remind people how friendly we were with dictators who oppress their people while stealing their money."
"How else are you going to steal their money? . . . Toby, do you really think it's a good idea to invite people to dinner and then tell them exactly how to run their lives?"
"Absolutely. Otherwise, it's just a waste of food. . . . "
- When Josh can't answer any of Mandy's questions about the various crises, she asks:
- "What is it you do here exactly?"
"It's never really been made clear to me."
- And things just get worse. Hurricane Sarah changes course and choices the White House has agreed to, have put the lives over 50,000 people at risk.
- "How bad can it get?" C.J. asks Leo.
- The hurricane was not suppose to act like this:
- "It's not an anomaly but it is unusual," Leo tells the President.
Later the President asks his Chief of Staff, "What do I do now?"
"Go back to the party."
- Other choices the White House has made risk other lives.
- Theme of Episode: The helplessness of the powerful
For anyone interested in guest stars of this episode, let us recommend the West Wing Episode Guide.
Inaccuracy in the facts they present herein: Indonesian *is* a language, albeit a synthetic one
that uses Malay as a grammatical base but uses the vocabularies of the
various languages of the archipelago. At least it is a language in the world most of us normally live in and government officials of the country all speak this language.