The West Wing

Season 1 Episode 15

Celestial Navigation

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 16, 2000 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Possibly the funniest episode in West Wing history.

    Most episodes of this series invoke multiple emotions throughout. Someone will die, you'll be sad, someone will crack wise, you'll laugh, the building will explode, you'll freak out, that sort of thing. This episode has one not-funny plot. The rest are ha-ha funny to side-splittingly hilarious, depending on who you are and whether or not you like this show when it's silly.

    The plots in this episode take place at different times. The two in the present are Josh being present at a lecture (Robert David Hall from CSI plays the professor, yay!), and Sam and Toby going to Connecticut to get Judge Roberto Mendoza (Edward James Olmos of Miami Vice, of course) out of jail. The plots in the past are very much intertwined. While Josh is at his lecture, his cell phone continues to ring with updates from Sam and Toby.

    [Toby and Sam are in the car.]
    Toby: We're supposed to be going east.
    Sam: We're going east.
    Toby: How do you know we're going east?
    Sam: The sun rises in the east.
    Toby: It's dark outside!
    Sam: Also, that star in the northern sky is Polaris.
    Toby: So what?
    Sam: I'm using celestial navigation.
    Toby: Hey, Galileo, get off at the next exit and turn the car around.

    [Toby and Sam are in the car. Toby's phone rings and he answers it.]
    Toby: Yeah.
    Josh: What's up?
    Toby: Sam feels we're zeroing in on it.
    Josh: You haven't found it yet?
    Toby: We've been navigating by the North Star, which turned out to be the Delta shuttle from
    LaGuardia. It's a miracle we’re not in Nantucket right now. [evil look at Sam]
    Josh: Toby, how hard can it be to find the Wesley police station?
    Toby: I don't know, Josh, but while we're looking, can you tell me a little more about the President's secret plan to fight inflation?
    Josh: How long until you let up on me on that?
    Toby: Oh, it's gonna take a little while, I would think.
    Josh: Call me when you know something. [hangs up]

    Secret plan to fight inflation, you ask? CJ had a root canal and couldn't talk to the press, so Josh did the briefing while CJ watched in horror from her office. Josh screwed up majorly and invented a secret plan to fight inflation that the press badgered him about. Leo, of course, got quite, shall we say, peeved. CJ's absence also caused a problem when Bartlet told the press HUD Secretary Deborah O'Leary had to apologize for calling Congressman Wooden a racist, which caused Leo some major headaches. And poor Bartlet hadn't gotten his nap that day, either.

    [The phone next to Bartlet's bed rings. He answers it after a few rings.]
    Bartlet: What?
    Charlie: Good morning, Mr. President. It's Charlie. I hope...
    Bartlet: What could you possibly want right now?
    Charlie: Sir, it's 6:30 a.m. and...
    Bartlet: In the morning?
    Charlie: Yes, sir. And I wanted to remind you that...
    Bartlet: I mean, what in the name of everything holy could you want right now?
    Charlie: I wanted to remind you that you have a 7am at the Oval Office with senior staff, followed by your security and intelligence briefings, and a meeting with the Chairman of the Fed. Would you like me to have the stewards bring you some coffee and the Washington Post?
    Bartlet: Who the hell is this?
    Charlie: Sir.
    Bartlet: And what could you possibly want?
    Charlie: Sir, I need you to dig in now. It wasn't a nightmare. You really are the President.
    Bartlet: All right.
    Charlie: I'll have the stewards bring the coffee to your room.
    Bartlet: I'll get up now. [hangs up the phone]

    Of course, he doesn't get up, and Charlie has to go wake him. So he's cranky when he meets with senior staff, and takes it out on Josh and his secret plan to fight inflation in a hilarious scene.

    By the way, Toby and Sam do get Mendoza out of jail. He was arrested for driving drunk, according to the police, but Mendoza does not drink. But this whole plot was pretty secondary to the humor, don't you think?
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