LadyGhosts of TV Past: The West Wing 1.13, “Take out the Trash Day”

This episode opens with CJ holding her press briefing, with some good ribbing for Danny. This briefing brings to light one of the episode’s storylines – the invitation to Lydells, the parents of a boy who was brutally murdered for being gay. Toe Pick mentions to CJ that the parents didn’t seem to be very supportive of the president, and CJ is ready to throttle her right there.

As CJ’s getting ready to go for the evening, Josh dumps a sex education study in her lap. This study comes into play later, but there are many funny puns and inuendos throughout the episode.

There’s also lots of flirting and more kissing between CJ and Danny. And some good scenes between Josh and Donna. Anyway.

Take out the trash day is always Friday, and it’s the day that CJ feeds the press the stories they aren’t crazy about but need to share. The rationale? No one reads the paper on Saturday.

Josh and Sam find the staffer who’s been leaking stories to the press, and Sam connects the dots that this person has also passed Leo’s personnel file into Claypool’s hands.

The leak is discovered by the assistants, who are caught by Mrs. Landingham and told not to gossip in the office because they all work for very important people.  If Mrs. Landingham was looking at me this way, I’d feel bad for years.

Sam and Josh are called to the Hill to strike a deal to avoid a hearing for Leo. The sex ed report that has the White House somewhat stressed by its findings is what’s on the table. Sam and Josh agree to put the report in  a drawer until after the midterm elections. Again we see the fierce loyalty Sam and Josh have for Leo.

Meanwhile, Toby goes to bat for Public Broadcasting. He announces he’s been raised on PBS, and goes on to describe how the demographics of PBS are similar to the demographics of the country. His passion for PBS is genuine and his respect for Miss Julia Childs is amusing. One of my favorite lines is Toby correcting someone who clearly lives under a rock, “It’s Fozzie bear, not fuzzy bear.” He fights the good fight for PBS.

The Lydells arrive, and the White House seems to think they’re are stand0ffish because they are embarrassed about their son being gay. CJ is very troubled by this, and she runs the whole story by Danny. This leads to more flirting and more “OK”s by Danny. ((Love.))

CJ discovers the exact opposite is true. In one of the best gay-rights speeches on television, the boy’s father sets CJ straight:

 

CJ: If you appear in front of the press to be at all embarrassed by your son’s homosexuality, let me just ask you, do you support the president?

Lydell: No we do not. (confers with his wife, then continues) The hate crimes bill is fine, who gives a damn, I don’t care. If you ask me, we shouldn’t be making laws against what goes on in a person’s head, but I don’t give a damn, it’s fine.

I don’t understand how this president, who I voted for, how this president can take such completely  a weak ass position on gay rights.

Gays in the military, same-sex marriage, gay adoption, boards of education, where the hell is he?

I want to know what quality necessary  of being a parent the president feels my son lacked.

I want to know from this president, who’s served not one day in uniform, I had two tours in Vietnam, I want to know what quality necessary to being  a soldier this president feels my son lacked.

Lady, I’m not embarrassed that my son was gay. My government is.

 

Toe Pick excuses herself and CJ from the room. CJ is so relieved that this man loved his dead gay son that she wants them to come to the bill signing. Toe Pick is the voice of reason. CJ agrees the family needs to be sent home.

When CJ learns that Sam and Josh have struck a deal for Leo, and the sex ed report she’s been hounding the president to read is being tabled, she starts to see the light. Danny finds her sitting in a stairway, and she’s ready to give him a lead about the Lydell family. He stops her, and she comments on how good they (the White House) are getting at covering up what they don’t want seen.

The episode wraps up the focus on the White House staffer who gave Leo’s file to Claypool in two scenes. In the first, Sam tears into her, fueled by his loyalty to Leo. Interestingly, in the second, Leo requests for this young staffer to come to his office, and they have a heart-to-heart. He tells her about his father’s drinking and his drinking, she tells him of her father’s drinking. It’s a pleasant exchange, and in the end, Leo gives her her job back. I wanted to give Leo a big hug after that scene.

The show closes with CJ wrapping up Friday’s press briefing. As she is finishing, she mentions the stories that have been brewing all episode, almost in one swift sentence. Yes, Ms. Cregg is getting very good at taking out the trash.

5 thoughts on “LadyGhosts of TV Past: The West Wing 1.13, “Take out the Trash Day””

  1. Let us all remember that the young staffer who tattled on Leo is none other than..Paris Gellar! Gilmore Girls (which I saw before I saw TWW) is one of my all time favorite shows, so when she walked into Leo’s office it was like a bizzaro world meeting of my favorite characters!

    1. Also, wasn’t the man who visited Leo to ‘advise’ him, the one who had an article about to come out calling for his resignation (his name was Byd? Byrd? Don’t remember), the headmaster of Chilton on GG? He was lacking his usual beard. Leo chewed him out REAL good.

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