The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 2

20 Hours in America (2)

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Sep 25, 2002 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Lily Tomlin takes over the role of Martin Sheen's secretary. The role was previous played by Kathryn Joosten. Tomlin & Joosten would go on to play sisters on Desperate Housewives.

    • Sam Seaborn has worked in the White House for 3 years and 8 months.

    • C.J.: Today at 5:32 PM Central Saving Time, two pipe bombs were set off inside the Geiger Indoor Arena, which is the swimming team's facility at Kennison State University. The Kennison Hawkeyes. The women's team was hosting a match. A meet with Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota. They're all Big Ten schools.
      Kennison State University is fictional. It is possible that it is meant to stand in for the University of Iowa, which is a Big Ten school and is also known as the Hawkeyes. Kennison State University is said to be in Cedar Rapids, while the Univeristy of Iowa is located in Iowa City, IA, placing it in the Central time zone. Cedar Rapids, IA and Iowa City are about thirty miles from one another.

    • Fitzwallace: Qumar saying it was someone else.

      Qumar is not a real country.

  • Quotes

    • Bartlet: You were strange the first time I met you and you're strange now.
      Debbie: Hey, the first time you met me there was a good reason.
      Bartlet: What?
      Debbie: I was high.
      Bartlet: Okay...

    • Bartlet: Hey, do we have a GPS-read on Josh and Toby? Have they been sighted?
      Sam: I talked to them a little while ago, they're on their way.
      Bartlet: 300 IQ points between them, they can't find their way home. I swear to God, If Donna wasn't there they'd have to buy a house.

    • Sam: Good writers borrow from other writers. Great writers steal from them outright.

    • Bartlet: ...restoring abundance amid an economic shortfall, securing peace in a time of global conflict, sustaining hope in this winter of anxiety and fear. More than any time in recent history, America's destiny is not of our own choosing. We did not seek nor did we provoke an assault on our freedom and our way of life. We did not expect nor did we invite a confrontation with evil. Yet the true measure of a people's strength is how they rise to master that moment when it does arive. 44 people were killed a couple of hours ago at Kennison State University.Three swimmers from the men's team were killed, and two others are in critical condition, when, after having heard the explosion from their practice facility, they ran into the fire to help get people out. Ran into the fire. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels tonight. They're our students and our teachers and our parents and our friends. The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels, but every time we think we have measured our capacity to meet a challenge, we look up and we're reminded that that capacity may well be limitless. This is a time for American heroes. We will do what is hard. We will achieve what is great. This is a time for American heroes and we reach for the stars. God bless their memory, God bless you and God bless the United State of America. Thank you.

    • McNally: Leo. Yeoman Fitzwallace.
      Fitzwallace: Dr. McNally.
      McNally: Let's attack.
      Fitzwallace: Who?
      McNally: Qumar. Let's recommend to the President that we attack.
      Leo: Why?
      McNally: 'Cause I've had it.
      Fitzwallace: I don't think the UN is going to let us do it for that reason.
      McNally: That's 'cause you're a sissy. You want peace in the Middle East? Give me a pair of third generation ICBM's and a compass. You get B-2 Spirit stealth bombers over Qumar right now as if the Qumari Air defense sytem requires stealth capability. Just fly in at night, and while you're at it, could you order the USS Louisians to fire off a D-5 Trident just to see if it works? What's the worst that could happen?
      Fitzwallace (bewildered, to Leo): Is she talking to me?
      McNally: Yes!
      Fitzwallace: Well, 98% of all living organisms within a seven mile radius would die instantly in a torrent of fire.
      McNally: Admiral Sissymary... We're running out of options on the menu.
      Fitzwallace: Well, I'm with Dr. Strangelove on keeping our military secrets secret.

    • Bruno: When did you write that last part?
      Sam: In the car.
      Bruno: Freak.

    • Bartlet: The streets of Heaven are too crowded with angels tonight.

    • Bartlet: What I lack in memory I more than make up for in deductive reasoning.
      Debbie: Does that come with tights and a cape?
      Bartlet: I think the meeting´s over.
      Debbie: Yes, but let´s do this every once in a while."

  • Notes

    • Awards and Nominations: Episode received nomination in 2003 at the Emmys for Outstanding Art Direction for a Single-Camera Series along with the Part 1 (Kenneth Hardy, Ellen Totleben).

    • Music:
      1. Tori Amos sings "I Don't Like Mondays" from her album entitled Strange Little Girls.
      2. The music playing in the bar where Donna, Josh, and Toby are is "The Wanderer" by Dion from the album Runaround Sue.

  • Allusions

    • Fitzwallace says to Nancy, "I'm with Dr. Strangelove". This is a reference to the 1960's film by the same name which is about American advisers who are itching to start a nuclear war.

    • President Bartlet: The Depression started the day after Oct. 23, 1929.
      Since the stock market crash of 1929 took place on Oct. 29, some people think this date is wrong, or that Bartlet must have meant to say "the week after."

      Actually, the stock market crash DID start on the day after Oct. 23, 1929, which would later be dubbed Black Thursday, Oct. 24, when a record 13 million shares were sold. The sell-off contined until the market eventually bottomed out five days later, on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929, Black Tuesday. So Bartlet was right. Black Thursday was the start of it, and then Black Tuesday cemented it.

      "On October 24, 1929, dubbed Black Thursday, the stock market crashed. Prices began to decline early in the day, triggering a selling panic in the New York Stock Exchange. When trading closed the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 9 percent and 12,894,650 shares of stock had changed hands, smashing the previous record of 8,246,742. Despite the crash, reports remained optimistic. Major New York banks united to buy up $30 million worth of stock in efforts to stabilize the market, and president Herbert Hoover announced that recovery was expected. Hoover's claims had little merit; the situation became bleaker during the next week. October 29 (Black Tuesday" broke the now four-day old NYSE record for number of transactions: 16,410,035 shares changed hands in total. The market dropped 17.3 percent, confirming, and cementing, the permanency of the crash."