The West Wing: Season 2, Episode 10

Noël (20 Dec. 2000)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
9.1
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Ratings: 9.1/10 from 556 users  
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Josh speaks to a psychiatrist about the events of the last three weeks: Toby hired musicians for the foyer, an Air Force pilot disobeyed orders, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House, and Josh managed to cut his hand quite badly.

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Title: Noël (20 Dec 2000)

Noël (20 Dec 2000) on IMDb 9.1/10

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Robbie Mosley (as Gregalan Williams)
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Bobby (as Gary Cervantes)
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Carol
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Storyline

Leo orders Josh to speak to a trauma psychiatrist, who asks him to review the events of the last three weeks: Toby insisted on having live music in the foyer for Christmas, an Air Force pilot separated from his flight team without explanation, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House, and Josh managed to cut his hand quite badly. Also, C.J. looks into a report of a woman freaking out during a tour of the White House. Written by Murray Chapman

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Drama

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Release Date:

20 December 2000 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the DVD commentary for this episode, Aaron Sorkin recalls that during a break from the filming of Yo Yo Ma's performance scene, in an attempt to help his performance and "get into the rhythm" of the scene, Dulé Hill (who plays Charlie) started to tap dance to the cello piece. Hill is a highly accomplished professional tap dancer who has performed with Savion Glover and other tap luminaries. See more »

Goofs

(at around 45 mins) President Bartlet says, "When I was in tenth grade, me and my friends took my father's Country Squire out on a joyride to Vermont." He should have said, "...my friends and I..." A man of Bartlet's education should not have made such an elementary mistake in English grammar. See more »

Quotes

Josh Lyman: I don't need a doctor.
Donna Moss: Are you a doctor?
Josh Lyman: No.
Donna Moss: Then be quiet.
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Soundtracks

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by We Wish You a Merry Christmas
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User Reviews

 
A powerful, passionate piece of work; The West Wing's most incredible episode
25 November 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is it, The West Wing's greatest episode. The previous year's Christmas episode, In Excelsis Deo, was great, and I think the first season is generally my favourite season, but Noël from season 2 outdoes every prior episode of the series. Noël is one of the best works of drama I've seen.

After What Kind of Day Has It Been, where the White House staff is shot at, there were complaints. Was it too cliché? Should a show that finds drama in politics and dialogue and its characters really resort to action? Well, if it was a misstep, this episode alone makes it well worth it. Noël isn't action; it explores the psychological aftermath of the shooting. It focuses on its characters.

As is common for the show, this episode makes very trivial things interesting and kind of funny; here we see the president wanting to sign his Christmas cards, which turns out to be an impossibility. Much of the episode is not trivial, however. Josh, who was hurt the worst in the shooting, is acting increasingly strange; yelling at the president is a dramatic high point of the episode. A pilot Josh was looking into has some parallels with Josh in ways more profound than that they shared the same birthday. This is a dark time for Josh. Luckily, the president and Leo are understanding bosses- Josh isn't the only standout character of the episode.

It's not just the characters and the writing that shine; the Christmas and music themes help the episode along; Josh associates the Christmas music with sirens. This Christmas may not be merry- but it is memorable and moving. 9.4/10


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