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"Previously on the West Wing" spoken by Sam
"Take out the Trash Day" is the thirteenth episode of the first season of the West Wing.
While President Bartlet and his staff debate the appropriate response to a controversial new sex education study, there are fears that the parents of a murdered gay teenager should be excused from attending the signing of a hate crimes bill because of the father's embarrassment about his son's homosexuality. Josh and Sam meet with an appropriations subcommittee which is investigating Josh's lack of cooperation in the White House staff drug probe - all of which is designed to expose Leo's former substance-abuse problem.
The President tries to convince daughter Zoey to drop a sociology class taught by a professor whose ideas offend him - not to mention Charlie. Toby relishes his verbal duel with some congressmen who have held up the newest appointments for the Public Broadcasting Corporation. C.J. is advised to save a few embarrassing stories for release on Friday to blunt the effect on the media over the weekend, but she also finds time to continue her frisky flirtation with a White House reporter.
During a press conference, CJ Cregg is telling the press gaggle the details of the signing ceremony for the new Hate Crimes legislation that Congress has passed. She tells them that there will be 15 pens used for the signature, and Danny Concannon questions how that can be, since "Josiah Bartlet" has only 13 letters. "You know you were the only one in the room doing the math on that, right?" Checking her notes, She tells him the President will literally dot the I and cross the Ts. "Freak boy!" She tells him the Lydells will be there for the ceremony, whose son was killed and who inspired the legislation. The press has heard rumors that they won't be there since they don't support the legislation while Mandy watches nervously. The PC ends, and Mandy tells CJ she is nervous about the Lydells, and that she thinks his father was embarrassed by his son's homosexuality. CJ should meet with them in the morning and judge for herself whether they will be good for PR.
Back in CJ's office, Josh tells CJ that there is a new report out about sex education saying that abstinence only sex ed doesn't work and encouraging what Sam calls "everything but" Josh adds "By the way, pages 27-33? A couple of things every girl should know".
Danny asks CJ out, but she declines, saying she has to read a report on sex education. "I'm anticipating any joke you could possibly make right now and I'm not finding any of them funny." He doesn't mind because she keeps "grabbing him and kissing him". He wants to know about an advance man for the VP who took a Navy chopper to Pebble Beach to play 18 holes of golf, a story he got from an anonymous White House source. Before he leaves her office she grabs him and kisses him again.
Donna brings Josh his takeout, and asks him about "Take out the trash day". He explains that it is the day when the White House releases as many stories it does not like as it can, hoping they will be buried under the flood, and it is always a Friday since no one reads the paper on Saturday.
In Toby's office, Sam tells him that there is a town in Alabama that wants to abolish all laws except the Ten Commandments. Toby says they will have a problem with separation of church and state, and Sam tells him he wonders how they will enforce "Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife." He tells Toby that the Georgetown Hoya (the student newspaper) asked him to comment on a story that Zoey Bartlet has a racist Sociology professor. Toby wonders why Sam is bothering him with such trivialities. Leo calls them into his office. Sam starts to tell him about the Alabama town, and Leo brings up the same issue (coveting). Sam says "Plus, if I were arrested for coveting my neighbor's wife, when asked about it I'd probably bear false witness!"
In Leo's office, he tells Josh that the sex ed report could not have come at a worse time, with an education bill and the hate crimes bill coming to fruition. Josh tells Leo that he and Sam are meeting with Congressman Bruno from one of the appropriations sub-committees, to try and avoid hearings about Leo's admission of his past drug problem. Leo tells them he hates to make them do it, but they are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid getting Leo bogged down by it.
A few of the assistants, including Donna, Carol, Margaret, and Kathy, are discussing that they might know who the White House source is. Mrs. Landingham scolds them for gossiping, and when Josh enters Donna tells him, in Sam's office, that they may know the source of the leak that outed Leo. Josh slams the door shut VERY quickly.
In CJ's office, Toby gives her the news. Then he tells her about Zoey Bartlet's professor, and that they are pulling her out of the class. She should dump it out with the trash.
The next day, Josh gives Toby all the details about the leak (Karen Larsen). She was moved into the Personnel office and given a high enough FBI clearance. Toby tells Sam to talk to her after their meeting on The Hill. Leo and President Bartlet are on their way to the oval office while discussing trade rules that discriminate against poor Latin American countries. The President asks Toby to find out why Congress is holding up the appointments of 5 people to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The staff is skeptical about Toby's commitment to the issue, but he tells them he was raised on PBS and will work hard to defend it.CJ will meet with the Lydells, and the President doesn't want to put the spotlight on a father who was embarrassed his son was gay. The President talks to Josh and Sam, and tells them not to give away too much in their meeting on the hill. He doesn't want a hearing, and tells them not to take anything off the table until they talk to him.
Back in the Oval Office, The President asks Leo if Simon Blye is coming to meet with him. "How did you know?" Leo wonders. Margaret told him. The President wonders why Leo is meeting with him, and Leo tells him he is a friend. No, he is not, replies the President, and he tells Leo that the true measure of a friend is someone who stands by him in bad times as well as good. Leo tells the President that he needs all the help he can get.
CJ meets with Danny and wants to talk with him off the record but she doesn't believe he can do so easily. She wonders to him if it is possible that a father can be embarrassed about his son being gay, even after his son was murdered, to the extent that he wouldn't support a law imposing stiffer penalties on the murderers. "Yes". CJ wonders how that can be possible. She leaves, but there is still a lot of sexual tension between them.
At their meeting on the Hill, Bruno talks to Sam and Leo and tells them he wants to avoid hearings. Interspersed with this is Leo's meeting with Simon Blye. Bruno, having seen Josh's Claypool deposition, wants to talk to him. Simon tells Leo that he will only be a drag on the administration, and that he should resign. Leo tells him he has offered, and that the President refused. Simon tells him that there will be an editorial in The Post saying that Leo should resign. Leo: "Tell me something: Where's your great concern for Crown and Country when you're out whoring for Atlantic Oil?!" Simon leaves, clearly offended, and Leo is upset with himself that he lost his temper.
Act ThreeEditThe deal has been offered to supress the sex ed report for a year, and in exchange there will be no hearings. Josh, very angry, tells Bruno that the hearings will produce nothing. Bruno tells them that the content of the hearings won't matter, but what will matter is that there are hearings at all. It's the White House, it's drugs, it's sexy. He is a Republican throwing his Democratic rivals a rope, something he hopes they will remember in the future. They screwed this up from the beginning, and the President is probably waiting for their call. Josh and Sam, while clearly very angry, are forced to swallow their pride and take the deal.
Toby and CJ, meeting with Congressional aides about the situation with PBS, is asked why the government should continue funding "Television for rich people." Toby tells them that it is not that, and tells them that viewership of PBS follows the same trends as viewership of the other networks. Carol gets CJ out of the meeting and tells her the Lydells have arrived. CJ tells Carol to get Mandy, and tells her that Mandy is in the Oval Office having a very uncomfortable conversation with the President.
Cut to said conversation where the President is reading the sex ed report, VERY reluctantly. Mrs. Landingham enters and tells Mandy that the Lydells are in the Mural room, to her obvious relief. Mrs. Landingham wonders if the President wants to share the contents of the report and he tells her he'd rather not be in therapy for the rest of his life.
CJ and Mandy are meeting with the Lydells. CJ tells them that it was Mandy's impression that they are reluctant to support the President and the hate crimes legislation, and she wonders if they were embarrassed about their son's homosexuality. Mr. Lydell loses all patience and tells CJ that he isn't embarrassed by his son, he is embarrassed by the President that he voted for. How can he take such a weak position on gay rights? They are not allowed in the military, or to adopt, or to get married. What qualities did his son lack to be able to do such things. He is not embarrassed by his son--his country is! After leaving, Mandy tells CJ that they can't include the Lydells in the ceremony to her objections. "CJ, get it together!"
The congressional aides tell Toby that the Nielsen diaries are often falsified by people wanting to appear to be more sophisticated TV viewers than they really are. Also, product licensing for toys based on PBS childrens' series goes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Toby, exasperated, tells them that in a time when the public is getting increasingly concerned about sex and violence on TV, maybe now is a time for them to get behind the one TV network where it is not prevalent! Toby tells CJ when she interrupts that there will be no hearing in Congress on Leo.Karen Larsen is brought into Sam's office, and he tells her he has found out about her leaking Leo's story. He gets her to admit she did, and fires her on the spot.
In the Oval office, the President tells CJ that the sex ed report will be shelved until after the mid-term elections. She realizes that it was part of the deal Sam and Josh made with Bruno, and understands and agrees. Throw it out with the trash, he tells her. She leaves, but not before telling him that they could be doing a better job.
In the press room, Danny talks to CJ. She starts to give him the real story about the Lydells, but he tells her to stop before she tells him something she will regret telling him later. He doesn't want to take advantage of their relationship. He tells her that he will find the story, but she says that he won't because they've gotten good at hiding things. "Yes you have" he agrees.
Karen Larsen enters Leo's office, carrying the box containing her personal items. He asks her why she outed him, and when she is reluctant to answer he tells her that the only thing he can do to her is fire her, which has already been done. She admits that her father was an alcoholic. He tells her his father was too, and that it caused him to commit suicide. "Is that why you drank and took drugs?" "I drank and took drugs because I'm a drug addict and an alcoholic." She asks him how he was cured, and he tells her he will never be cured, but that he has been clean and sober for six and a half years. It is day to day. He can never have a drink, because he can never drink, because he will want ten drinks. Things aren't that bad, but he is an alcoholic.
She doesn't understand, but it is OK--few people do. She tells him he isn't like what she thought he would be like, and she tells him that her father caused a lot of problems for her. He tells her that her actions caused them problems, but they showed a bit of bravery. He tells her that maybe that they can forgive each other, and that she can keep her job. She leaves, very touched, and Leo watches the news coverage of Take out the trash day on TV.
- Cast member Dulé Hill does not appear in this episode.
- The hate crime and subsequent legislation referred to in this episode is a reference to the real world murder of Matthew Shephard.
- The Georgetown Hoya is the real name of the student newspaper of Georgetown University. Their website is here
- When talking to Karen Larsen, Leo claims to not have had a drink in six and a half years. This is not true, as we later learn that he relapsed on the night of the debate during the first campaign.
- This episode holds special meaning for John Spencer, who plays Leo McGarry. Spencer himself was a recovering alcoholic.
- Leo tells Karen Larsen that he hasn't had a drink or a pill in 6 1/2 years, but it is later revealed during the season 3 episode Bartlet for America that he suffered a minor relapse during the final days of the first campaign after accepting a drink offered by some high level donors whose support he was courting.
- Leo McGarry: I'm not cured. You don't get cured. I haven't had a drink or a pill in six and a half years. Which isn't to say I won't have one tomorrow.
- Karen Larson: What would happen if you did?
- Leo McGarry: I don't know. But probably a nightmare the likes of which both of our fathers experienced and me too.
- Rob Lowe as Sam Seaborn
- Moira Kelly as Mandy Hampton
- Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg
- Richard Schiff as Toby Ziegler
- John Spencer as Leo McGarry
- Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
- and Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet
- Timothy Busfield as Danny Concannon
- Janel Moloney as Donna Moss
- Suzy Nakamura as Cathy
- Dakin Matthews as Congressman Simon Blye
- James Handy as Congressman Joseph Bruno
- Ray Baker as Jonathan Lydell
- Liza Weil as Karen Larsen
- Linda Gehringer as Jennifer Lydell
- Renee Estevez as Nancy
- Kathryn Joosten as Mrs. Landingham
- NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper
- Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick
- Kim Webster as Ginger
- Larry Sullivan Jr. as Hamlin
- Bradley James as Secret Service Agent Donnie
- Sheryl Arenson as Lock
- Jana Lee Hamblin as Reporter Bobbi
- Jacqueline Torres as Reporter Sondra
- Charles Noland as Reporter Steve
- Kris Murphy as Reporter Katie Witt