The West Wing

Season 2 Episode 3

The Midterms

Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Oct 18, 2000 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
152 votes

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Episode Summary

While Josh recovers from bullet wounds there's a noticeable tension among some of the White House Staff. Toby is gung-ho to go after extremist groups in light of the attack. Charlie withdraws from the First Family after learning more about the shooting. Bartlet's mind is preoccupied with a small time school election because of an old rivalry. CJ mangles physicists by referring to them as psychics as Josh listens from his sick bed. A subplot involves a reception for radio talk show hosts. Dr. Jenna Jacobs, whose doctorate is in English Lit., is one of those attending. Sam encourages a friend to run for office, unfortunately it doesn't go as he intended.moreless

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  • The full injury count.

    While I agreed with Toby that they should go after extremist groups anyway they can(even knowing he was in post traumatic stress I still agree with him), CJ was absolutely right in what she said to him.

    CJ: You get my support the same way I get yours; when I agree with what you're saying or when I don't care about what you're saying.

    Toby would sooner bake cookies for the junior staffers before giving his support to something he didn't agree with. His and CJ's argument in his office(the one Charlie overhears) was probably one of my favorite Toby moments so far. I know he was upset, but it's hard not to side with him in that situation.

    Seeing the after effects of the shooting on the characters was really tough to watch. Especially Charlie. I can't even imagine the guilt he felt over the shooting and then finding out near the end that he had asked his mother to switch shifts. I was nervous he was getting to hand in his resignation. Sam's storyline was also pretty upsetting, though I guess it didn't have so much to do with the shooting. Having to toss a friend to the wolves like that is rough, especially when Sam was the one that convinced Tom to run for congress.

    Bartlet's reaction was the worst though I think. Seeing him lose control and focus, over the school board election in New Hampshire, was pretty frightening. It was good he was able to pull it together in the end, to help Toby pull it together.

    Toby: Why does it feel like this? I've seen shootings before.

    Bartlet: It wasn't a shooting, Toby. It was a lynching. They tried to lynch Charlie right in front of our eyes. Can you believe that?


    Bartlet: We saw a lynching, Toby, that's why it feels like this.

    Toby: I'm not sure I'm gonna come out the other side on this thing.

    Bartlet: I'm not sure I can either. But until we are sure, I think we should keep coming to work everyday.

    Also so he could rip apart "Dr." Jenna Jacobs. That scene was just incredible, I've always said you shouldn't quote the bible unless you quote the whole thing.

    Bartlet: One last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the 'Ignorant Tight Ass Club', in this building when the President stands, nobody sits.

    The ending was kind of depressing, with them unable to gain the house majority(spending 400 million dollars and still not getting the desired result has to be a horrible feeling). I guess the second half of Bartlet's term isn't going to be any easier than the first.

    Certainly not one of the funnier episodes, but it was extremely well written and moving. Season 2 has thus far been some of the finest television I've ever seen, without a doubt the best television I've ever seen come from the broadcast networks.moreless
  • For me.. it was somehow confusing.

    maybe I am not very familiar with the USA elections or the system there but as a person outside that country and watching it - for long time I did not even understand what elections are coming and when you miss that very important detail, it was hard to follow.

    But the episode defenetly had some great moments and much character development - the aftermath of psychological effect of the shooting seems to be the main problem - Toby and CJ have different ideas how to act now, Charlie feels like he risked president life because he was the target and withdraws from Zoey who is not letting him go so easily.

    It had it pluses but it was nothing special too.moreless
  • Josh is at home recovering from the shooting.

    What is it with the West Wing to me it seems that all of their episodes are top notched they never seem to disappoint me. I thought that it was really funny that Donna would not let Toby go to josh's apartment to talk to him and that she was acting like his mother or girlfriend. It was also funny that Josh told CJ how to pronunce a word and she still said it incorrectly. I liked that President wanted to get involved in a school board election but he should have reliezed that he was to interested in it then he should have.moreless
  • How fabulous is the episode? very, very, very fabulous!!!

    *I love Toby so much for working so hard to try and "throw out the 1st ammendment." He is so sweet, and his heart to heart with Jed is great. *Charlie's thing was cute too, I loved the little kid. And what a great moment between him and Zoey. They are so cute together!

    *Josh and his outdoor, theoretical physics and big pajamas. On of the most classic scenes is everyone sitting on his porch steps. God Bless Bartlet's America.

    *Donna and her rules and Yiddish.

    *I don't know what to think of the Sam plot...

    *The Dr. Jacobs Slam!!! OMG! I love that scene so much, I've watched is so many times, and recite it all the time. How amazing, and then Sam's goes up and asks for a crab puff, and he lectures Ainsley for asking for a muffin!

    *Bartlet and Elliot Roush. I just love Jed Bartlet. There's no recovery time, WW jumps right back into the season after the explosive premiere.moreless
  • The best episode ever. Period.

    I became a fan of this show during season #4. I had a friend help me tape episodes on Bravo until I had them all and boy, am I glad. The first two seasons were the best, as the writing was crisp and we got to know some of our favorite characters.

    This episode is awesome from both the "Dr' Laura Slam" to the idea that the first ammendment protects and angels and the devils equally. Sure, it would be great to get a list of all the people involved in the troublesome groups, but the founding fathers said that free assmbly was a right and darn it, no one messes with our rights.

    By far my favorite episode. Watched it 20 times at least.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

James Denton

James Denton

Tom Jordan

Guest Star

Claire Yarlett

Claire Yarlett

Jenna Jacobs

Guest Star

Rebecca Creskoff

Rebecca Creskoff

Sarah Jordan

Guest Star

Melissa Fitzgerald

Melissa Fitzgerald

Carol Fitzpatrick

Recurring Role

Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson


Recurring Role

Kim Webster

Kim Webster


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (16)

    • CJ: Hey you're wearing my pajamas.
      Josh: Yes I am.
      CJ: Take your coat off, let me see. Those are too big.
      Josh: Yes they are. All this time I've been working with you did you also think I was playing power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    • Sam: Grant Samuals, died.
      CJ: Really?
      Sam: Yes.
      CJ: He's really dead this time?
      Sam: Yeah.
      CJ: Because last time you told me he was dead, he wasn't.
      Sam: He's dead this time.
      CJ: Somebody poked him a little to see if...
      Sam: He died C.J..
      CJ: Well ok then I shouldn't have make a joke.
      Sam: I'm almost certain he's dead.
      CJ: Sam!
      Sam: I was making a joke too. You work alone.

    • Josh: It's called The Theory of Everything.
      CJ: The Theory of Everything.
      Josh: Yes.
      CJ: Is it comprehensive?
      Josh: C.J..
      CJ: That was a joke there pal o'mine.

    • C.J.: Sir...the President can't publicly take sides in a local school board election.
      Bartlet: Why can't he?
      C.J.: Because it's not done. It's not fair. It's personal, and it's irresponsible. It will galvanize Republicans, and the Democracts in Congress will think you've abandoned them, that you don't care about winning back the House.
      Bartlet: I don't care about winning back the House. I don't care about winning back the House!
      C.J.: Well, I don't believe that's true, so let's just keep that between you and me.

    • C.J.: You wanna lock up everybody with a white sheet?
      Toby: Yes, I do, yes, I do! Who has a problem with that? Bring them to me right now. Yes, I do!

    • Bartlet: You wanted to talk to me?
      Zoey: Not if you're in this mood.
      Bartlet: (deep sigh) This is real. And a man who makes the Spanish Inquisition look like a Barbara Walters special is now polling at 46% in your school district for which I have personally baked things to raise money. (To C.J.) You can go, too.
      C.J.: You baked things?
      Bartlet: You can go.

    • Leo: Good morning, Mr. President.
      Bartlet: Elliot Roush is now polling at 46%.
      Leo: How do you know? You had our people check.
      Bartlet:(in unison) I had our people check. I have three daughters who grew up in that school district.
      Leo: Leave Elliot Roush alone, you beat him already.
      Bartlet: And he has come back, like crabgrass pulled from the lawn, not by the root, but by the other thing.

    • Toby: Donna?
      Donna: Yes?
      Toby: You going to see Josh?
      Donna: I'm taking him his lunch.
      Toby: Can I come?
      Donna: No.
      Toby: Listen.
      Donna: No.
      Toby: Donna?
      Donna: You know the rules.
      Toby: The rules are dumb!
      Donna: The rules are not dumb.
      Toby: Donna, seriously.
      Donna: I'm perfectly serious, Toby. He's recovering from an attempted murder, he's supposed to be resting, and I don't want people going over there getting him fartusht.
      Toby: Fartusht. Don't bring the Yiddish unless you know what you're doing.
      Donna: You know what word should be Yiddish but isn't?
      Toby: Huh?
      Donna: "Spatula".
      Toby: Thank you.
      Donna: Also "far-fetched".
      Toby: I need to talk to him about...
      Donna: The hate crimes and how best to bring it to the President. He's got the papers you wrote, he's got the materials you sent him, you talk to him on the phone 93 times a day.
      Toby: I'd like to got to his apartment and talk to him.
      Donna: No.
      Toby: Donna?
      Donna: Maybe if you hadn't said the rules were dumb.
      Toby: ...Yeah.

    • Toby: Sam?
      Sam: Right here.
      Toby: Oh, I thought you were in there.
      Sam: I wasn't.
      Toby: I've got it.
      Sam: Got what?
      Toby: How to avoid the appearance that we're randomly and generically going after extremist groups in violation of their civil liberties.
      Sam: We can avoid that appearance by not doing it.
      Toby: Yes, or with this: the shooting was the action of not one, but at least three card-carrying members of West Virginia White Pride.
      Sam: They have cards?
      Toby: What?
      Sam: They actually have membership cards?
      Toby: Who the hell knows, Sam? It's an expression.
      Sam: Okay.
      Toby: The key phrase is "at least." At least three members. There might be more!

    • Sam: Hey, you guys ever been in the White House?
      Tom: No.
      Sarah: We were looking forward to a tour.
      Sam: Well, that's my office over there, and the President works in that round room over there, and nobody else really matters. Come on in. This is the Mural Room.
      Sarah: Hmm. Can you tell us anything about it?
      Sam: It's called the Mural Room. Have a seat.

    • (over the phone)
      Leo: How'd that bullet not kill you?
      Josh: Just lucky I guess.
      Leo: Yeah

    • CJ: Holy interruptus, Batman!

    • C.J.: In a democracy, oftentimes, other people win.

    • Bartlet: I wish I could spend more than a few minutes with you, but the polls in the East don't close for another hour, and there are plenty of election results still left to falsify.

    • Toby: Why does it feel like this? I've seen shootings before.
      Bartlet: It wasn't a shooting, Toby, it was a lynching. They tried to lynch Charlie right in front of our eyes.

    • Bartlet: I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
      Jacobs: I don't say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
      Bartlet: Yes, it does. Leviticus.
      Jacobs: 18:22.
      Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important, because we've got alot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions would you? One last thing, while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Jenna Jacobs is likely based on Dr. Laura Schlesinger a well-known, but controversial talk show radio host.

    • Credit Was Not Available At Show Level or At All:
      Executive Producers: Aaron Sorkin, Thomas Schlamme, John Wells
      Associate Producer: Julie Herlocker, Mindy Kanaskie
      Consultants: Dee Dee Myers, Merlin Fitzwater, Peggy Noonan
      Executive In Charge of Casting: Barbara Miller
      Key Make-Up: John Damlani
      Key Hairstylist: Jeffery Sacino
      Costume Supervisors: Emma Trenchard, Michael Long
      Special Consultant: Fred Einesman, M.D.
      Assistant to John Wells: Shelagh O'Brien
      Researcher: Felicia Wilson
      Producer: Kristin Harms
      Produced by: Llewellyn Wells

      Wrong Name or No Name:
      Co-Producer: Richard H. Cadell (no H.)
      Casting: Kevin Scott (too many Kevin Scott's)
      Post Production Supervisor: Rebecca Moline
      Re-Recording Mixers: Gary D. Rogers

    • Awards and Nominations:
      This episode won the Scene Stealer award at the 2001 Shine Awards.


    • CJ: Holy interruptus, Batman!

      This is a reference to the type of things Robin used to say in the old Batman series such as "Holy exploding building batman..." This phrase is now used often by many people as a joke.