The West Wing

Season 6 Episode 14

The Wake Up Call

0
Aired Wednesday 9:00 PM Feb 09, 2005 on NBC
7.6
out of 10
User Rating
81 votes
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EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

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Valentine's Day starts badly when the Iranian air force shoots down a British airliner, killing 100 passengers. The U.K. Prime Minister threatens to retaliate by bombing nuclear reactor sites, which could doom future support for political reformers in Iran. But C.J. has made an agreement with Abbey to allow the President to get more rest, and she is reluctant to awaken him at 5 A.M. to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, Toby and a visiting law professor answer questions from a foreign delegation that is trying to write a new constitution for the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, and harried staffers pass the buck of Leo's traditional meeting with the new Miss World.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Yes, this show does need a wake up call.

    5.0
    Meh.



    I wasn\'t inspired or particularly amused, but neither was I distraught or feeling betrayed. There was just not much to this episode. It was interesting enough to see CJ dealing with her new job and her new relationship with the President. I enjoyed seeing these two have some Jed-Leo moments in this episode. Its good to see that they are making CJ into the Chief of Staff that the President needs-someone he trusts and respects, but can yell at and disagree with in order to come to a better solution. I think we missed this once Leo suffered his heart attack, and its good to see it back. But now they are arguing about... bedtime? I\'m sorry, not buying it.



    I have loved Christopher Lloyd since I saw him in Angels in the Outfield, but he was particularly good as Professor Lessig. He and Toby\'s conference about Belarus\' constitution was probably my favorite part of this episode. Its good when this show gets back to its roots and discusses democracy at its core. And this also fulfilled my \"hey so that how it happens\" weekly quotient. I have always kind of wondered how countries not blessed with the Founding Fathers draft their constitutions in today\'s world. Where do you even start? This segment of the episode also confirmed my belief that Toby is one of the show\'s most underrated characters. Sure, he\'s bitter at the world and at times lacks facial expression or personality, but he believes so strongly in the work that he does. This passion is usually understated though, and I love when it bubbles to the surface. I loved when CJ caught him still there at 3:45 am reading constitutions. I wish I had his exact quote, but he said something great about how perplexing it is to start a democracy. Hmm, I so didn\'t do it justice.



    As for the little tiff between CJ and the First Lady, I was not enthralled to say the least. First of all, I thought the First Lady was being unreasonable. I have always loved her character and I hate when they take my favored characters and make them stupid. I know that I would be concerned about my husband\'s health too, but does she really have the right to criticize CJ for waking him up to deal with an international crisis? Bring up your issues with the President himself! Stop making CJ be his babysitter. The thing that bothers me most is that I know Abbey knows better. A woman who has been the First Lady for 6 years (or more, who really knows what they are doing with time on this show) that the White House Staff need to have room to do their jobs and that getting enough sleep cannot always be a priority. And what happened to the supportive wife we saw in In the Room? When did she start nagging so much? I might have been more accepting of this storyline if it had actually produced some better conflict. Sure we have Abbey and Jed disagreeing (although we didn\'t get to see it much) and CJ coming into her own with her new job, which is all fine and good. But these stories could have been approached from much more dramatic fronts.



    And finally, I have to talk about this season as a whole. This show is having serious continuity issues. I personally cannot be expected to invest in a storyline in Iowa, take a break for a week to invest in White House drama, go back and try to remember the goings-on in Iowa, and then return to the White House (sometimes after 2 weeks if pesky real government business gets in the way)...over and over. Its like I\'m watching two different shows that alternate every Wednesday night. I think the writers start to forget stuff too. Like where was all that ideological stuff that Leo was preaching about in 365 Days? The greatness of that episode was in Leo reminding the staff to start putting their lofty plans and ideas into action, into real policy before they leave the White House. It seems everyone forgot about that and went back to dealing with day-to-day crisis. ‘Thanks for the advice Leo, but we aren\'t going to actually listen.\' And so, I have a message for the show\'s writers: You people are talented. You have the ability to create a unifying theme between what is going on in the White House and on the campaign trail. So please do so. Put both settings in one episode or you are going to start losing focus in a major way. Television is extremely effective when you do the whole \"switch back and forth between two storylines that have parallel ideas but not hit-you-over-the-head-with-them themes and at the end cut between the two sets of stories while you play an appropriately moving song\" thing. So do that. Thanks. Sincerely, A Concerned Fan.



    OTHER THOUGHTS:



    - How does Annabeth expect to be taken seriously? I would think that as a squeaky-voiced blond girl who is new in the West Wing you would want to make a concerted effort to prove yourself. How is passing out chocolate and merrily humming while you prancing around doing nothing that even resembles trying to do your job and find a new Press Secretary going to achieve that?



    - This week\'s Leo-CJ scene really lacked the magic that they usually have. I liked the idea behind \"the wake up call was always one of the hardest decision to make,\" but there was some spark missing here.



    - Some props must go to the writers for at least mentioning Josh\'s name and the fact that they are seriously suffering from a lack of staff and that it is creating some scheduling conflicts.



    - The whole Miss World subplot felt ripped straight from about a hundred other show\'s scripts. You are so much better than all of them, The West Wing. Everyone wants to drop by just to see the beauty queen and a reporter forgets his journalistic persistence to chat it up with her? C\'mon.



    - I think that we really need to create an idea of how to get everyone together again. This extended separation between the Josh/Donna/Will club and the Jed/CJ/Leo/Toby club can\'t go on much longer.



    - I have yet another message for our dearly beloved writers: Please do something with Josh and Donna next week. Please! This has been the most drawn out storyline ever, and while I am all for subtlety and extended denial, its too much. All I can say is, its about time. (Anyone who can email me with what movie this is quoting, you get all the bonus points for the week, no the year.)



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Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen

President Jed Bartlet

Dule Hill

Dule Hill

Charlie Young

Allison Janney

Allison Janney

Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg

Richard Schiff

Richard Schiff

Toby Ziegler

John Spencer

John Spencer

Leo McGarry

Stockard Channing

Stockard Channing

Abbey Bartlet (Episodes 45-, recurring previously)

Christopher Lloyd

Christopher Lloyd

Prof. Lawrence Lessig

Guest Star

Elya Baskin

Elya Baskin

Mr. Zubatov

Guest Star

Anthony Azizi

Anthony Azizi

Asefi Hossein Kamal Bin Hamid, aka "Chet"

Guest Star

Kristin Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth

Annabeth Schott

Recurring Role

Roger Rees

Roger Rees

Lord John Marbury

Recurring Role

Steve Ryan

Steve Ryan

Miles Hutchinson

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (2)

    • In this series Miss World is Lyonpo Palden Wangchuk of Bhutan, outside of the West Wing The House of Wangchuk is the royal family of Bhutan.

    • When C.J., Hutchinson and Harper are in the Situation Room discussing the shot-down plane, C.J. refers to the RC-135 as "a 737 with a large dish on it". That would be an AWACS, or E-3 Sentry. The RC-135 doesn't have a radar dish on it and it resembles a four-engined 707, not a twin-engined 737.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Bartlet: If an American dies and there is even the slightest suspicion of international intrigue, she's supposed to wake me.
      Leo: Since when? If I had used that rule, you'd be dead by now of sleep deprivation.

    • Toby: You're not planning on writing a constitution this week?
      Lessig: The document is just a beginning. A constitutional democracy succeeds only if the constitution reflects democratic values alive in the citizenry. Which is why our most important job is to instill those values in their leaders through discussion and debate.

    • Toby: I don't think a strong executive is such a good idea... Half the faculty at Yale Law describes the American Presidential system as one of this country's most dangerous exports... It is a recipe for constitutional breakdown!
      Lessig: Well, I can see this is going to be a vibrant discussion.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Music: Bartlet is listening to the aria known as "The Willow Song" from Guiseppe Verdi's opera "Otello". It is also available in collections such as this CD of Shakespeare in Music.

    • Professor Lawrence Lessig, played in this episode by Christopher Lloyd, is a real person, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University who had a hand in drafting the constitution for the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

    • Bradley Whitford, Jimmy Smits, Janel Moloney and Joshua Malina do not appear in this episode. Alan Alda's image appears briefly in a televised news report but he has no on-screen credit.

  • ALLUSIONS (5)

    • C.J. (to Leo): You take the French, I'll take Chet and Kate can stay and entertain Lord Flibbertigibbet. (refering to Lord Marbury)

      Flibbertigibbet was a character in Anglo-Saxon mythology and has come to refer to anyone who's overly talkative and overly whimsical.

    • C.J.: Are we gonna throw on sailor caps and chase after Miss Turnstiles?

      C.J Asks this after the President suggests that she and he and Toby go out "On the Town." On the Town was a musical and then a movie about three sailors who are let loose on a 24 hour pass in New York where one is on a quest to meet the town's reigning beauty of the month... Miss Turnstiles.

    • Annabeth: Your ticktock.

      A running gag done by Annabeth is that she uses the word "ticktock." This is yet another sly reference to Cheno's character, Glinda, in "Wicked." In Act 2, she says, "Excuse us, just a ticktock."

    • The tune Annabeth is humming for Valentine's Day while handing out chocolates is "My Funny Valentine," one of the most beloved songs on Kristin Chenoweth's first solo CD, Let Yourself Go.

    • Professor Lawrence Lessig: "...we were having a most stimulating discussion on The Rule Against Perpetuities."
      The Rule Against Perpetuities is an ancient rule of property law which according to one first year law professor is never used in the real world practice of law but states: No future interest is valid unless it can be shown that it will necessarily vest, if at all, no later than 21 years after some life in being at the creation of the interest.

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