The West Wing: Season 2, Episode 16

Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail (28 Feb. 2001)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
8.7
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On this year's "Big Block of Cheese Day", a college friend of Donna's asks Sam to help her get her late grandfather, accused of being a Communist spy inside the U.S. government, a ... See full summary »

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Officer Rhonda Sachs
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Stephanie Gault
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Storyline

On this year's "Big Block of Cheese Day", a college friend of Donna's asks Sam to help her get her late grandfather, accused of being a Communist spy inside the U.S. government, a presidential pardon; dealing with the recent revelation that his father had been having an affair for the past 27 years, Sam faces off with an F.B.I. agent, and later with Nancy McNally, over the pardon. Elsewhere, a group of cartographers completely re-educates C.J. on her perception of the globe, and one-time protester Toby, with the help of a straight-talking female security guard, speaks for the w.h. at a rally to protest against U.S. participation in the WTO and various free trade agreements. Written by meebly

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28 February 2001 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Trivia

Josh mentions to Sam that Lincoln signed a pardon on April 14, 1865, the same day he was shot. Until over a decade after this episode was filmed, historians thought this was true. However, in January 2011, Lincoln researcher Thomas Lowry admitted that he had altered the date of the pardon (which he had "discovered" in the permanent records of the U.S. National Archives) from 1864 to 1865 so that it would seem more historically significant. See more »

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The geographer states the map maker Mercator was German; he was, in fact, Flemish. See more »

Quotes

Toby Ziegler: In my day, we knew how to protest.
C.J. Cregg: What day was that?
Toby Ziegler: 1968.
Josh Lyman: How the hell old were you when you were protesting?
Toby Ziegler: My sisters took me.
[beat]
Toby Ziegler: Anybody got a problem with that?
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New York Minute
Written by Don Henley / Danny Kortchmar / Jai Winding
Performed by Don Henley
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User Reviews

 
Woefully Weak West Wing
20 December 2009 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

It's Big Block of Cheese Day again at the West Wing- time for the White House staff to meet with interest groups usually ignored. The first such episode, season 1's The Crackpots and These Women, was a classic; it made us think about fringe issues, provided some humour in the process, and made one feel good about government. This sequel episode pales in comparison. Thankfully, it's rare at this point of the series to have a weak West Wing episode.

One of my major gripes about this episode is where Donna explains the purpose of this day to a visiting woman, who replies that it sounds amazing. Donna agrees. This is much too self-congratulatory. Please let others decide for themselves when the show is amazing. This unnecessary exchange is the equivalent of banging one's fist on the table and yelling "Give us our Emmy now, damn it!" And it looks worse considering that Cheese Day this time around is a let down. What was Josh's assignment, exactly? Josh just sits in on CJ's, which admittedly was interesting. It's about the inaccuracy of the flat map, which I learnt about in grade 11. Meanwhile, Toby tries to address the anti-globalization movement, but nothing productive comes out of it. They won't listen- they're portrayed as an unreasonable crowd- and he puts down the movement. No one gets to refute Toby's insults. Not exactly a balanced representation.

The rest of the episode deals with Sam in a bad place, and he tries to get a pardon for an accused spy from the Cold War. A song is played, trying to make us feel emotion for Sam, not quite successfully. A lyric from that song gives us the title for the episode, a title which doesn't actually describe anything in the plot. It is interesting this person turned out to be a spy. But usually one should expect more from The West Wing than this.


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