The West Wing

Season 2 Episode 16

Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 28, 2001 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
145 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

It's Big Block of Cheese Day again. Toby meets with World Trade Organization protesters, and CJ meets with a group of cartographers who want the standards for maps changed to be a more accurate reflection of geographical and political reality. Donna asks Sam to look into granting a pardon for a friend's deceased grandfather. Barlet is having problems selecting a site for his Presidential library.moreless

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  • The things you're sure of.

    Well not being an Eagles fan that title was a bit misleading, lol. The crazies were back in force for Leo's big block of cheese day. What I love about them is that they always have a valid point to make(well maybe not the DC statehood guys), but it gets drowned out by them taking it into a bizarre direction. Last season with the wolves only road way and this season with the, well...

    CJ: "I'm meeting with the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality? What do map makers have to do with social equality?"

    Leo: "I guess you're about to find out."

    CJ: "Well probably not, because I won't really be listening to them."

    The entire scene where Leo's handing out the assignments was great. Especially Margaret letting everyone know she put no thought into who received which assignment and Toby's illustrious history of protesting.

    Josh: "How the hell old were you when you were protesting?"

    Toby: "My sisters took me. (Everyone snickers) Anyone have a problem with that!?"

    Leo: "No one has a problem with that!"

    His scenes at the WTO were also hilarious.

    Sam's plot involving Donna and her friend provided some excellent drama. I felt really bad for Sam, to find out his dad was having an affair for 28 years is pretty rough. On top of that to find out a guy he had thought was innocent, at least since his thesis at Princeton, turns out to be guilty of treason and responsible for the death of at least one woman, added up to a pretty bad day for Sam. His scene in the stairwell with Donna was incredibly well acted and written. TWW, and especially this episode, have definitely changed my feelings on Rob Lowe. he's convincing in every emotion he displays.

    Giving these a number rating really is getting pointless for me. They are just varying degrees of excellence.moreless
  • Big Block of Cheese Day... again...

    It is the time of a year when minorities have their voice and it usually ends in laughter. CJ has to deal with some people who try to show how maps should be and it was just funny. I do not say what they said was not right but the way it was done - it was a perfect example of the intelligent humor this serie has.

    The more serious topic is given to Sam who has to deal with Donna's friend's dead grandfather who was thought to be traitor and so he has to find a way to grant pardon for him but learns a truth while doing it and it is not what he expected. And in the end, there is hard decision for him. Very good acting on that part.moreless
  • Perfect mix of drama, comedy and social commentary.

    This episode gave Rob Lowe the chance to do show his acting chops. It starts "in medias res" with a plot line about Sam's father that serves only to put some extra dramatic dimension into what follows: Sam discovers that a man he felt was innocent - and someone's father - did in fact spy for the Soviets. The many different emotions he goes through could serve any actor as a concise summary of his craft. Rob Lowe pulls it off beautifully, never going over the top.

    Of the other story lines the most interesting one is Toby's confrontation with modern day protesters and his scorn for the way they handle things. Richard Schiff is brilliant in his sarcasm, as usual, but can also suggest melancholy with a fleeting look or gesture.moreless
  • Another big block of cheese day.

    I thought that this episode Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail of The West Wing. I liked that Leo decided to do another big block of cheese day. I thogutht that it was really funny that CJ was meeating with an organizition that wanted the map of the world to be changed because it was not accurate. I felt bad that The President did not get his chocie of where he wanted his Presidental library. I also felt bad for Sam that he was helping a girl try and prove that her grandfather was not a spy but learned that he was.moreless
  • Big Block of Cheese Day!

    Awww... This episode just rocks so much. Sam is always under appreciated, and this one is all about him, I love it! His thing with Gault and his dad, it's just so well done, and Rob Lowe acts it out perfectly. I also love him and Donna being friends, and his sugar throwing. Such a sweet guy.

    Toby's so funny too, he's great though, I love him and the police woman, they were great.

    I LOVE Cartographers for Social Equality! OMG, how amazing is that??? So great. I love that scene so much.

    Plus it's Big Block of Cheese Day, so you know, it's like ten times better than any episode...

    Definently a classic. LOVE IT!moreless
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe

Sam Seaborn (Episodes 1-84)

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Jolie Jenkins

Jolie Jenkins

Stephanie Gault

Guest Star

John Billingsley

John Billingsley

John Fallow

Guest Star

Richard Stay

Richard Stay

Terry Webber

Guest Star

Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson


Recurring Role

Kim Webster

Kim Webster


Recurring Role

Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith

Nancy McNally

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The story that Josh relates to Sam about Abraham Lincoln signing a pardon for Patrick Murphy, a California soldier, on the day he was assassinated, though thought to be true at the time, was revealed to be a fraud in 2011.

    • In one scene, the president puts his glasses in his left pocket and then two shots later retrieves them from his right.

    • Mercator is named here as a German cartographer, while he is in fact a Belgian (Flemish) one. He was the most respected and famous map maker of his time (16th century) and well beyond that.

  • QUOTES (11)

    • Toby: (Sitting on a stage with a DC cop while an unruly crowd totally ignores him They claim to speak for the underprivileged. But here, in the blackest city in America, I'm looking at a room with NO Black faces! No Asians, no Hispanics. Where the hell's the Third World they claim to represent?
      Offficer Sachs: (cynically)A lot of Third Worlders in the Cabinet Room this morning, were there?
      Toby: Now you're starting to bother me.
      Officer Sachs: That's because I'm armed.

    • Josh: How the hell old were you when you were protesting?
      Toby: My sisters took me.
      (Everyone snickers)
      Toby: Anyone have a problem with that!?
      Leo: No one has a problem with that!

    • Toby: It's activist vacation is what it is. Spring break for anarchist wannabes. The black t-shirts, the gas masks as fashion accessories.
      Sachs: These kids today, with the hair and the clothes...
      Toby: All right, that's it, flatfoot.
      Sachs: I got great feet.
      Toby: You want the benefits of free trade? Food is cheaper.
      Sachs: Yes.
      Toby: Food is cheaper, clothes are cheaper, steel is cheaper, cars are cheaper, phone service is cheaper. You feel me building a rhythm here? That's 'cause I'm a speechwriter and I
      know how to make a point.
      Sachs: Toby...
      Toby: It lowers prices, it raises income. You see what I did with 'lowers' and 'raises' there?
      Sachs: Yes.
      Toby: It's called the science of listener attention. We did repetition, we did floating opposites and now you end with the one that's not like the others. Ready? Free trade stops wars. And that's it. Free trade stops wars! And we figure out a way to fix the rest! One world, one peace. I'm sure I've seen that on a sign somewhere.
      Sachs: God, Toby... Wouldn't it be great if there was someone around here with communication skills who could go in there and tell them that?
      Toby: Shut up.

    • Sam: It's just there are certain things you're sure of... like longitude and latitude.
      Donna: Sam, I don't know if this is the best time to tell you, but according to C.J., I wouldn't be so sure about longitude and latitude.

    • Leo: Andrew Jackson, (staffers groan) in the main foyer of the White House had a big block of cheese. The block of cheese was huge...
      C.J.: Leo, who made these assignments?
      Leo: I think this will go faster if I'm not interrupted, don't you?
      C.J.: I'm meeting with the Organization of Cartographers for Social Equality?
      C.J. What do mapmakers have to do with social equality?
      Leo I guess you're about to find out.
      C.J.: Well, probably not, because I won't really be listening to them.
      Leo: The block of cheese was huge...
      Larry: Excuse me, Leo. C.J., I got NIH research funding for cancer treatment using shark cartilage, if you want to trade.
      Ed: I'll take that.
      Larry: What do you got?
      Ed Citizens for D.C. Statehood.
      Larry: Forget it.
      Donna: I've got the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle Society, but I'm keeping it.
      Leo: You're all keeping it. I'm sure Margaret worked long and hard to make sure that the appropriate petitioner went to the appropriate staffer.
      (Margaret shakes head 'no', Leo turns to look at her and she nods 'yes'.)

    • (After Sam learns the identity of a deceased Communist Spy)
      Donna: It was people pushing paper around fifty years ago. Why does it matter?
      Sam: It was high treason, and it mattered a great deal! This country is an idea, and one that's lit the world for two centuries and treason against that idea is not just a crime against the living! This ground holds the graves of people who died for it, who gave what Lincoln called the last full measure of devotion. Of fidelity. You understand the last full measure of devotion to... Treason against them is... [almost crying]

    • Bartlet: What plaid-flannel-wearing cheese-eating yahoo-of-a-milkman governor signed that idiot bill into state law? (Pause) It was me, wasn't it?
      Charlie: Yes, sir.

    • Sam: I'm just going to change my shirt.
      Leo: You look bad. You're tired. You slept in the office. It's Friday. Go home.
      Sam: Why?
      Leo: Because I think you're putting too much faith in the magical powers of a new shirt.

    • Leo: Okay, Andrew Jackson, in the main foyer of the White House, had a two-ton block of cheese.
      Josh: And a Wheat Thin™ the size of Lake Tahoe.

    • Toby: How many different ways do you know to kill a man?
      Rhonda: How many different ways do I need?
      Toby: I like you.

    • C.J.: No cameras.
      Toby: You negotiated that?
      C.J.: Yeah.
      Toby: They agreed to it?!
      C.J.: You wanna make out with me right now, don't you?
      Toby: When don't I?

  • NOTES (3)

    • Another instance in which Aaron Sorkin borrows part of a plot from Sports Night. This episode has Sam having a hard time dealing with his father's infidelity. Coincidently the episode of Sports Night "The Sword Of Orion" has Jeremy (Joshua Malina) having trouble dealing with his father's infadelity.

    • Awards and Nominations:

      2002 WGA Awards: Nomination for Episodic Drama

    • Music: While it is true, that the song at the beginning and end is "New York Minute" by Don Henley (of the Eagles), it is NOT the version on his The End of the Innocence CD. The song featured in this episode is from the Eagles album "Hell Freezes Over" and is a live version.


    • Josh: "These guys find Brigadoon on that map, you'll call me, right?"

      The musical "Brigadoon" was the first big hit for creative team Frederick Loewe (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics). The story revolves around the small Scottish town of Brigadoon which only appears for one day every hundred years. In 1954 it was made into a movie starring Gene Kelly, Van Johnson, and Cyd Charisse.

    • Episode Title: Somebody's Going to Emergency, Somebody's Going to Jail. The title of this episode comes from "New York Minute" on Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence" cd.

    • John Fallow: " teach geography using the Peters projection map instead of the traditional Mercator."

      While the OCSE (Organization of Cartographers and Social Equality) is a ficitonal group, the Mercator vs. Peters argument does in fact exist.

    • Sam: "Ring Lardner just died."

      Ring Lardner was a famous early 20th century writer who became a member of the Communist Party In 1936. During the McCarthy hearings in 1947, he refused to name other former or current Party members by saying: "I could answer the way you want, Mr. Chairman, but I'd hate myself in the morning."