The West Wing

Season 4 Episode 15

Inauguration: Over There

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 12, 2003 on NBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Toby discovers that Will's frankness, stubbornness, and commitment to ideals is much like his own; Charlie remains on the hunt for an inaugural Bible; Bartlet and the staff continue to debate over sending American troups into Kuhndu to stop a genocidal war until Laurel and Hardy provide some needed inspiration; Bartlet appoints Will Deputy Communications Director; Donna takes one for Jack when a comment he thinks he is making off the record is included in a "Post" article by Danny's editor.moreless

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  • Who is the Big Band?

    Does anyone know the name of the Dance Band playing for the inaugural ball in this episode?
  • An excellent follow-up to Inauguration: Part I

    I love the title of this episode. "Over There". It seems everything is "over there" in this episode, and yet everything is so close to home. The issue of what to do to intervene with a country so clearly in the midst of genocide? Seems like an easy question to answer, but it's not that easy when you send the kids of someone's parents. It's not that easy when there's a political difference between "acts of genocide" and genocide. It's not that easy when you are the world's only superpower.

    The fact that the genocide is "over there" is the fly in the Metamucil. I still remember Abbey's line to Bartlet in "The White House Pro-Am". "Jed, if they were your kids, you'd send in the Marines." No doubt. The problem is, those kids are "over there".

    Toby says the issue "haunts" the President. It haunts everyone. Aaron Sorkin deals with this issue so delicately, so intelligently -- he actually makes the issue a layer of grays rather than the "at-first" black-and-white feel to the discussion. He brings debate and question to the issue so effortlessly, so brilliantly. It's hard to describe.

    What Sorkin has done with these two episodes, certainly masterpieces in his repertoire, is created something as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. After all, it's not easy to balance the issue of genocide with family ribbing. "You bought their love," Abbey says at one point when Jed says he supplied their kids with candy. And it slowly evolves into a "March of the Toys" epitome for Bartlet. Just amazing to me.

    Although I think Part I is slightly smoother in flow, tone, and presentation, Part II is almost its equal. I was especially pleased with the first half hour. I think the second half hour became a little too cheesy and even "moralistic". But these complaints are minor. "Inauguration" is a two-part tour-de-force from Aaron Sorkin and his writing team, portrayed once again so flawlessly by a top-notch cast.moreless
  • Special episode..

    A second term starts and it is quite much hard work to get the inauguration right - the bible is still a question and so in the end they just go with one in building library.

    And Will gets his ideas about foreign policy and they change the speech and oh.. Donna does something stupid. She really manages to bull quite many of those stupid things lately. Anyway - there is a quote and she takes the blame but it was Jack in the matter of fact.. and the scene where they all go to get her.. and those snowballs.. that was fun.moreless
David Goodman

David Goodman


Guest Star

Jacqueline Harris

Jacqueline Harris


Guest Star

Jill Sobule

Jill Sobule



Melissa Fitzgerald

Melissa Fitzgerald

Carol Fitzpatrick

Recurring Role

William Duffy

William Duffy


Recurring Role

Peter James Smith

Peter James Smith


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • Besides the series always being in the off-years from the real presidential elections (the series' presidential elections are held in 2002 and 2006 and stated as such years), the inauguration ceremony/address/parade/balls are held on a Sunday. In reality, if January 20th falls on a Sunday, the president takes the oath of office as constitutionally required, but the ceremonies are held the next day. This happened in reality in 2013 with Barack Obama's second inaugural.

    • Will: Which is more than you can say for the Kuhndunese.

      Kuhndu is a made-up country.

    • Toby: ...but we're not talking about the President going to Asia or the President going to Rwanda or the President going to Qumar.

      Qumar is a made-up country.

    • According to Toby his office is 63 feet from the Oval Office, so wouldn't the Secret Service come running into the room from the sound of Will shattering a pane of glass?

    • The expression "Avoid entangling alliances" is incorrectly attributed to Jefferson -- it's from George Washington's Farewell Address.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Will: It was a casual conversation.
      Toby: With the President?
      Will: He came here, he was standing in the doorway.
      Toby: The Dow plummets because of casual conversations with this man.

    • Will: You don't ever worry about the window breaking?
      Toby: During moments of peak frustration. When the speaker of the House threatened to repeal the 16th Amendment. A couple of Yankee games. And there was the time Congress centured my boss. But it's always held up, that window, that window's a game-day player.

    • Bartlet: "Set free the oppressed, break every yoke, clothe the naked, and your light shall break forth like the dawn, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard."
      Leo: Ten minutes ago you promised me you'd go easy on the Moses references.
      Bartlet: That was Isaiah.
      Leo. Still. They frighten people.
      Bartlet: Who?
      Leo. Me.
      Bartlet: Well, then, here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women.

    • Jed: You know I gave the kids candy all the time, right?
      Abbey: Behind my back?
      Jed: Yes.
      Abbey: You bought their love.
      Jed: Well, it was for sale, and I wanted it.
      Abbey: You gave the girls candy?
      Jed: I was their dealer. Live with it.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Additional Credit:
      Washington D.C. Production Services by Thinkfilm, Inc.

    • Special Musical Appearance by Jill Sobule and Jude Christodal.

    • Music:
      Bartlet is watching 1934's "March of the Wooden Soldiers", starring Laurel and Hardy, a movie version of Victor Herbert's operetta "Babes in Toyland". The music heard is the famous "March of the Toys".
      "Heroes" and "Rock Me to Sleep" from Jill Souble's album Pink Pearl.



      Danny: I talked to an officer who works in U.S. foreign intelligence activities there who believes that Miles Hutchinson is the commander in chief and in the course of the discussion he told me the president had rescinded Executive Orders 11905 and 12333. Executive Orders 11905 and 12333, originally emplaced by Presidents Ford and Reagan respectively, deal with the activities of American Intelligence assets. In this particular case, the discussion is about the concept of political assassination. Section 5g of 11905 states: "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination." Section 2.11 of 12333 states: "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination." There has been some activity on this matter on the front of 9/11 and terrorism, but whether this applies in the West Wing timeline is anyone's guess.

    • Danny: The Jets and the Sharks.

      The Jets and the Sharks are the opposing gangs in West Side Story, a musical modernization of Romeo and Juliet. Every member of each gang was intent on killing every member of the other gang while singing and dancing.