The West Wing

Season 5 Episode 9

Abu el Banat

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Dec 03, 2003 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
95 votes

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Episode Summary

The Bartet clan attempts to gather for a holiday dinner. Jed must deal with a hostage situation in Sudan, an assisted suicide in Oregon, his son-in-law's yearn to run for the House of Representatives, and his grandson's want to spend time with his grandpa. C.J. takes a stand on the assisted suicide because of her father's worsening condition.moreless

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  • Christmas..

    I think it is probably the first Christmas episode I have watched around Christmas of this serie.. :) So, the feeling was right.

    I most say, I adored the story. The whole complex of Barlet's family.. that was beautifully written and I loved that all their daughters were together. Have we seen them all at once before? I am not sure. And that grandson. I loved the ending, the playing with the switch.

    As usual Christmas episode, it had beautiful music, lovely Christmas decoration and everything else that goes with it. So.. I think they succeeded well, coming up with good episode.moreless
  • The West Wing returns to form!

    The fifth season of the West Wing had a rather shakey start (the thrilling opening episode being an exception) but this episode showed the world that the West Wing is still on top.

    Debora Cahn is to be thanked for this - her writing for the characters is spot-on, especially evident in scenes with Josh and Donna where Donna has organised Josh's Christmas presents (including one for herself!)

    Most touching is Bartlet's confrontation of Abbey regarding a plan for his own death. The scene is brilliantly understated in its scripting and superbly acted.

    Jed and his grandson at the Christmas tree bring this season's holiday episode to the touching end we remember from "In Excelis Deo" and "Bartlet for America" in previous seasons.moreless
Dylan Baker

Dylan Baker

Alan Fisk

Guest Star

Mark Moses

Mark Moses

Donald Richter

Guest Star

Michael Krepack

Michael Krepack

Gus Westin

Guest Star

Annabeth Gish

Annabeth Gish

Liz Bartlet Westin

Recurring Role

Steven Eckholdt

Steven Eckholdt

Doug Westin

Recurring Role

Nina Siemaszko

Nina Siemaszko

Ellie Bartlet

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This is the second time we see Gus Westin, Bartlet's grandson, but the first time the character gets any real screen time or lines. The first time we see him is in "7A WF 83429."

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Debbie: Do you want to belly dance for the Joint Chiefs or shall I?

    • Bartlet: You know, 15 years ago, we took a trip to Egypt, all five of us, saw the pyramids and Luxor, then headed up into the Sinai. We had a guide, a Bedouin man, who called me "Abu el Banat." Whenever we'd meet another Bedouin, he'd introduce me as "Abu el Banat." The Bedouin would laugh and laugh and then offer me a cup of tea. And I'd go and pay them for the tea, and they wouldn't let me. "Abu el Banat" means "father of daughters." They thought the tea was the least they could do.

    • Bartlet: 3.2 billion men in the world. She picks him.
      Debbie: I hear he had a great pitching arm.
      Bartlet: When he was 19, sure. She dumped a Rhodes scholar for this guy. Zoey left Charlie for the Frog. Ellie and the guitar player with the purple van. My children choose morons. Every one.
      Debbie: They say daughters look for their fathers.

    • Donna: It's important that you look at the catalogues before the end of the day.
      Josh: That's three weeks away.
      Donna: Hannukah's two.
      Josh: There's plenty of time.
      Donna: Who's in charge of shopping?
      Josh: You are.
      Donna: There are pages turned down with Post-its to tell you which of your relatives the gifts are for. If you're happy with the choices you should initial at the X. If you're not happy with the choices, you should remember how this goes when you try to do this yourself.
      Josh: I like the polar fleece stuff.
      Donna: Who's in charge of shopping?
      Josh: You are.

  • NOTES (3)


    • The title of the episode "Abu El Banat" is an Arabic phrase meaning 'Father of daughters'.

      Traditionally in the Arab world when a man has a son and he names him, for instance, Yousuf he is then referred to as Abu Yousuf (Father of Yousuf). However when a man has no sons he is referred to as Abu El Banat.
      By this definition Jed Bartlet is Abu El Banat.

    • Bartlet: The lid's off.

      This is a reference to Pandora's Box.

    • Bartlet: When does my administration completely deteriorate into the Third Reich? The Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. The term "Third Reich" is often used synonymously with the term "Nazi Germany."

    • Leo: We fire him over assisted suicide, it's 16 verses of "Grandma Got Run Over by the Bartlets" now till Easter.

      This is a reference to a song called "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo and Patsy. The song, which actually has 10 verses, chronicles the death of Grandma by way of Santa's Reindeer.

    • The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is a consolidation of numerous laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances. All the substances are placed into one of five schedules. Which schedule each is placed in usually depends upon the degree of danger to the user (i.e. hamfulness and potential for addiction). Schedule I is the most dangerous and Schedule V is the least dangerous.

    • C.J.: We restarted the government, Toby. There was a showdown at the OK Corral, and we gunned down the Clantons. We're heroes.

      The OK Corral is the famous historical site in Tombstone Arizona, where Wyatt Earp, Morgan Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday fought against Billy Claiborne, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton, and Ike Clanton on October 26, 1881. Thirty shots were fired in thirty seconds. Both McLaurys were killed, as was Billy Clanton.