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Dead Irish Writers

Original Airdate 03-06-02 Rerun 07-24-02


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Descriptions  |  Credits  |  Information Links  |  Awards  |  Media Quotes

Descriptions

From TVGuide.com:
Abbey (Stockard Channing) is observing her birthday, but she's hardly in a celebratory mood: The medical board is about to rule on her conduct in the MS affair, and it doesn't look good. But there's a party to attend. On the guest list for the East Room gala: Britain's irrepressible ambassador, Lord John Marbury (Roger Rees), who has business (on Ireland) to conduct. Amy Gardner, too, sneaks some business into her party conversation with Josh. Back in the West Wing, Donna's stuck there: The Secret Service won't let her into the party.
From NBC:
Many issues are in play during a White House party to celebrate the argumentative First Lady's (Stockard Channing) birthday as she contemplates the likely loss of her medical license the next day while the President (Martin Sheen) is visited by proper British Ambassador Marbury (Roger Rees) who argues against Bartlet's meeting with a murderous Irish terrorist. In other rooms, Sam (Rob Lowe) meets with a Senator (Robin Thomas) who is blocking funding a controversial superconductor that would cost billions; Donna (Janel Moloney) discovers that she's really Canadian -- and technically not an American; Abbey, C.J. (Allison Janney) and several of the women mischievously steal away in a closet to drink, dish and diss.
From Warner Bros.:
As Abbey contemplates the likelihood that her medical license will be taken away the following day, she grumpily attends a big White House party for her birthday. Bartlet receives another visit from decorous British Ambassador Lord John Marbury (Roger Rees), who argues against Bartlet's meeting with a murderous Irish terrorist. Meanwhile, Sam meets with Senator Enlow (Robin Thomas), who is blocking the funding of a controversial scientific project that would cost billions. Donna discovers that the national border near her Minnesota birthplace has been redrawn slightly--making her officially a Canadian. Abbey, C.J. and several of the staff women mischievously hide in a closet to drink and gossip.
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Credits

Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Stockard Channing as Abbey (Abigail Ann) Bartlet M.D. First Lady
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
and
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
     
Special Guest Stars    
Mary-Louise Parker as Amy (Amelia) Gardner Lobbyist
with
Roger Rees as
Lord John Marbury British Ambassador to the United States
and
Hector Elizondo as
Dr. Dalton Millgate Sam's former physics professor
Guest Starring    
Robin Thomas as Senator Jack Enlow D-Ill.
NiCole Robinson as Margaret Hooper (last name) /
Assistant to Chief of Staff
     
Co-Starring    
Jerry Lambert as Chuck Kane  
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Information Links

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Awards

Emmy Awards

Submitted for consideration for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Win by
Stockard Channing
Submitted for consideration for Outstanding Drama Series Win
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Media Quotes

"She's formidable without being off-putting in any way," [Stockard] Channing says of her Abigail. "She's honorable. She's also quite passionate. I think what people respond to is, they sense this tremendous love that she has for her husband -- and he has for her."

And that love is getting her into trouble, as she is a target of an investigation for covering up the president's multiple sclerosis.

"Aaron has put me in a lot of hot water," she says. "I don't know if he knows how to get me out of it but that's up to him."

"Taking Stock(ard) of the First Lady on The West Wing"
by Douglas J. Rowe
December 30, 2001
Associated Press

Tonight's lesson subjects: Ireland; federal funding for scientific ventures (Hector Elizondo plays a physicist who demands that Sam get to the bottom of why the Senate isn't acting on his supercolliding superconductor); and, for an Enron-attuned nation, what to do when a very large company run by a major campaign contributor hits the skids. (There's a major difference between real life and this subplot, however, and it's the difference between apparent shenanigans and an honest mistake.

...

... and, tonight, his [Jed's] marriage to Abbey; and Josh's evolving relationship with women's-group lobbyist Amy Gardner (Mary Louise Parker).

...

... [Josh] doesn't have a life, but at least she complains about that tonight.

...

Tonight his [Toby's] agenda is Ireland, and we're in luck because he's conducting it with Britain's irrepressible ambassador, Lord John Marbury (Roger Rees), who's always a welcome sight. Rees makes Marbury both outrageous and instantly likable (to everyone but Leo), and his appearances always provide both substance and comic relief.

And speaking of comic relief, why must that burden fall with such regularity on poor Donna (Janel Maloney)? She gets that helpless look on her face far too frequently and silly things happen to her too often. Tonight, for instance, the Secret Service won't let her into the East Room party (although Abbey lets her into her private party and -- to Maloney's credit, and Sorkin's -- Donna makes the most of it).

"IT'S MY PARTY"
by Paul Droesch
March 6, 2002
TV Guide Online

But previous fleeting references to America's northern neighbour were totally eclipsed by Wednesday night's episode, which closed with the playing, then the singing, of O Canada against a backdrop of giant Canadian flags.

They even got the words right.

"It is amazing. It's quite amazing," said Roz Wolfe, senior officer at the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles, who suggested the embassy should organize an event in honour of actress Janel Moloney, for whom the anthem played.

In the episode, Moloney's character Donna loses her security clearance when the Secret Service discovers her Minnesota birthplace has become part of Manitoba in a finetuning of the border. She bemoans the fact she's been throwing away Canadian pennies all her life, doesn't know the words to her national anthem and is developing an instant inferiority complex.

More than 1.5 million Canadians tuned in to the episode. Many were atwitter over the high profile Canadian content, e-mailing, faxing and phoning CTV to express their excitement, said Mike Cosentino, the network's director of programming communications. CTV broadcasts The West Wing in Canada.

Cosentino said that while the majority of comments were positive, a few viewers grumbled that several of the show's characters talked over the anthem.

West Wing is must-see TV for the staff at the L.A. consulate, which is thrilled by the prime-time acknowledgment of America's largest trading partner - even when the reference is wrong.

That happened in the season opener last fall, a special two-part episode called "Isaac and Ishmael" which dealt with the issue of terrorism against the United States. It opened with word that a sought terrorist had snuck into the country from Canada via a remote border crossing on the Vermont-Ontario border.

Vermont and Ontario don't share a border - as Sorkin subsequently learned.

"Even when we're mentioned in the context of geographic confusion, it's still kind of fun that we're on the radar screen," Wolfe said. Fun, but not necessarily surprising, says John Rogers, a Canadian screenwriter living in Los Angeles.

"The Canadian presence in Hollywood is really strong," explained Rogers, who was born American but became a Canadian after he studied at McGill University.

"Especially on sitcoms for awhile . . . you had two Canadians wandering around somewhere on the staff. Mostly because we came down to be sitcom stars and we were all so pale and pasty they just wouldn't put us on camera so we wound up writing."

Consequently Canada has a much higher profile in the entertainment industry than in the country in general.

"So when you're looking for something that's a little offbeat, it's kind of a natural thing to go to because you're familiar with it," he said. "It's a foreign nationality you can explore without it being too difficult to understand or laden with politically incorrect freight."

Wolfe is convinced, however, that someone on the West Wing staff knew the words to O Canada before this week's episode.

"I'm convinced that there is Canadian input there. Because most Americans who haven't had contact with Canada, didn't go to school there or don't have a Canadian connection wouldn't think of it.

"So it would have to probably be a Canadian who said: 'Let's just sneak that in.' "

"Does West Wing's Aaron Sorkin have a thing for the Great White North?"
by Helen Branswell
March 8, 2002
Canadian Press

The 40-year-old thesp adds that she barely catches West Wing -- though she adored last week's episode, when the First Lady (Stockard Channing) invited C.J. and the other ladies to confab over several bottles of vino. "Yay Stockard!" she cheers. "The women getting drunk, wasn't that fabulous? I love that. That was the first time we women all got to be together. I hope [creator] Aaron Sorkin writes more for us." - Allison Janney

"West Wing Star's Soapy Past"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
March 13, 2002
TV Guide Online

Oregon wines are becoming television stars.

Willamette Valley Vineyards wines have made it on two television shows this year, including a recent spot on the popular sitcom "Friends."

They got a mention on "West Wing" earlier this year, and they showed up on "Friends" this past Thursday.

"We're still on cloud nine," Willamette Valley Vineyards president Jim Bernau said.

...

On the "West Wing" segment, the specific wine was mentioned in a description of a birthday dinner.

President Bartlett [Bartlet] (portrayed by Martin Sheen) was describing the wine he selected for the First Lady's birthday. It was a 1997 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir.

"Oregon wines appear on television"
by Unknown
November 6, 2002
Salem Statesman Journal

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For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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