Writer: Aaron Sorkin, Director: Tommy Schlamme
The Whiffenpoofs at "The Bartlet White House"
- Takes Place: Christmas time, December 23rd
- Broadcast: December 11, 2002
- Query: Were those the actual members of the current Whiffenpoofs?
- Query: Who was Albert Anastasia; what was Murder, Incorporated, and how were they connected?
- Query: Where did Bartlet get his figures for how badly the U.S. is doing in math and science?
- Query: Could Zoey's boyfriend really be a prince of the house of Condé?
- Query: What was Toby talking about when he said, "I know about the candy store in Brownsville. I know about Louie Amberg. I know about The Half Moon Hotel. A sixth-story window in Coney Island."?
- We open on the day Toby was born, December 23, 1954; then jump ahead to the December 23rd of the current year in the West Wing universe. This birthday isn't one of Toby's "sunniest of days". He is stuck giving a deposition about Andrea's pregnancy (of course, he resents having to talk about his private life). Although, she wanted to be sued and fight it, and he likes a good fight, he wants to protect his children from those behind this suit. Returning from the deposition, Toby discovers that Will is too cautious of the seats of power and doesn't want to come into the West Wing or get close to the Oval Office.
- "This has become inconvenient for me. . . . I'm moving you closer."
"The office next to me."
"I'm not moving into the deputy's office. . . . A) I'm not the deputy, B) it's Sam's office, and finally. . . ."
"You'll move your stuff in today."
". . . Seriously, Toby, you put me in that office and everyone on the speech-writing staff is going to resent me."
"Don't be ridiculous. It's a West Wing office. Everyone who works in the White House is going to resent you. . . . Yet curiously, I don't care." But in a moment, Toby has more to worry about than where Will is working from. Sitting in Toby's office when he gets there is his father. Toby is obviously unpleasantly surprised. So far, it seems, nothing on this day has pleased Toby.
- But Toby isn't the only one who is being surprised. C.J. is kissed by a strange Santa who turns out to be Danny --- he later tells her he is really there tracking down a story about Shareef's plane that he has "stumbled" across. And Charlie is surprised by Zoey outside the Oval Office --- she is with her new boyfriend who is "French Royalty". Josh is surprised by Leo's request o find a way for someone to fix the roof of the Church of the Nativitiy (which is complicated by the state of affairs between the Israelis and the Palenstinians) and the President deciding that he wants to rewrite the Federal Budget before it goes to the printer on January 1. And a snowstorm has closed the airports and even stopped the trains --- some people visiting the White House are suddenly stuck there. And Will is surprised to discover that a point he objects to to Toby was really a test and he failed it when, given two chances, he doesn't tell the President his concerns about the note.
- "In his defense," Toby tells Leo in an Oval Office meeting, "he caught the bad note. He came to me, he made it important. . . . He wasn't distracted by the fact that his office was filled with bicycles."
"Excuse me?" Will interrupts. ". . . You said that I caught the bad note?"
"Yeah, that was planted there to see how you'd do telling truth to power." Toby tells Will.
"Not very well so far," the President muses.
"I have no difficulty, Sir, telling truth to power."
"Okay, except when I asked you to come into the Oval Office," the President says, referring to a previous chance, "You said, "No. No, no. No, no, no, no.
"And I was firm in my convictions. . . ."
Leo interrupts. "Can we get back to why you think. . . ." And finally Will makes his point. "Maybe," Leo says. "But I'm not convinced and that's 'cause you haven't convinced me. This isn't Tillman at the Stanford Club or the California 47th. This is big-boy school, Mr. Bailey. You understand?"
"Yes, sir, I do."
- Josh has convinced Toby to ease up a little on his father and he finally does and surprises his father by inviting him to stay the night on his couch. Jules Zieglar is further surprised when he discovers that the group that has been singing in the White House all day are the Whiffenpoofs. On the day Toby was born, he had been discussing that very group. As Toby and his father leave the White House, they stop to listen to "O' Holy Night".
- "I'm having the strongest memory," Jules Ziegler says, remembering that fateful discussion on December 23, 1954.
- Jules Ziegler may be remembering guilt for a murder he had unknowingly been a party to (perhaps later he was more a part of Murder, Inc. but on December 23, 1954, it was unknowing). But both the President and Leo are also dealing with guilt about Shareef's murder (which they were directly responsible for) and both are tempted to tell people close to them what they have done. After almost telling Josh, Leo expresses his frustrations about things in general.
- "It's four years later and there are things that are worse and things that are exactly the same. Where do you start?"
"By fixing a roof?" Josh suggests. "I'm staying on the phones. You want to stay with me?"