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The West Wing: The Fall's Gonna Kill You

Oliver Babish questions both Abbey and C.J. about their involvement with President Bartlet's MS cover-up, and Josh secretly asks Joey Lucas to take a public opinion poll about a hypothetical situation similar to the one Bartlet is in. Meanwhile, Sam is happy to hear about a lowered surplus estimate; Josh tries to seek out more funding for the Justice Department and its prosecution of tobacco companies; and as a Chinese satellite sails towards Earth at 2000 miles per hour, none of the staff members are alarmed -- except Donna.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 2x20
Production Number: 226220
Airdate: Wednesday May 02nd, 2001

Alternate Airdates:

FR (France 2) Nov 27, 2003

Special Guest Stars
Marlee MatlinMarlee Matlin
As Joey Lucas
Oliver PlattOliver Platt
As Oliver Babish
Stockard ChanningStockard Channing
As Abbey Bartlet

Guest Stars
NiCole RobinsonNiCole Robinson
As Margaret
Douglas RobertsDouglas Roberts
As Henry, Congressional Aide #1
Lee WilkofLee Wilkof
As Martin Connelly
Lucia VincentLucia Vincent
As Helen, Congressional Aide #3
Rosalind ChaoRosalind Chao
As Jane Gentry
Spencer GarrettSpencer Garrett
As Richard Will

Co-Guest Stars
Emiko PariseEmiko Parise
As Carrie, Abbey's Aide #1
Jossie ThackerJossie Thacker
As Staffer (as Jossie Harris Thacker)
Peter James SmithPeter James Smith
As Ed
William DuffyWilliam Duffy
As Larry
Ariel FelixAriel Felix
As Bobby
Barry LivingstonBarry Livingston
As Speechwriter #2
Debbie Ann ThomasDebbie Ann Thomas
As Speechwriter
Jon Wolfe NelsonJon Wolfe Nelson
As Dale Bracket
Julie A. KoehnenJulie A. Koehnen
As Abbey's Aide #2
Katie RimmerKatie Rimmer
As Waitress
Lenore FosterLenore Foster
As Staffer
Shannon NelsonShannon Nelson
As Staffer #2
Main Cast
Martin SheenMartin Sheen
As President Jed Bartlet
John SpencerJohn Spencer
As Leo McGarry
Allison JanneyAllison Janney
As Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg
Bradley WhitfordBradley Whitford
As Josh Lyman
Janel MoloneyJanel Moloney
As Donna Moss
Rob LoweRob Lowe
As Sam Seaborn
Richard SchiffRichard Schiff
As Toby Ziegler
Dulé HillDulé Hill
As Charlie Young
Episode Quotes
Oliver: In my entire life I've never found anything charming.

Sam: Henry, last fall, every time your boss got on the stump and said, "It's time for the rich to pay their fair share," I hid under a couch and changed my name. I left Gage Whitney making $400,000 a year, which means I paid twenty-seven times the national average in income tax. I paid my fair share, and the fair share of twenty-six other people. And I'm happy to because that's the only way it's gonna work, and it's in my best interest that everybody be able to go to schools and drive on roads, but I don't get twenty-seven votes on Election Day. The fire department doesn't come to my house twenty-seven times faster and the water doesn't come out of my faucet twenty-seven times hotter. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay for twenty-two percent of this country. Let's not call them names while they're doing it, is all I'm saying.

C.J.: You guys are like Butch and Sundance peering over the edge of a cliff to the boulder-filled rapids 300 feet below, thinking you better not jump 'cause there's a chance you might drown. The President has this disease and has been lying about it, and you guys are worried that the polling might make us look bad? It's the fall that's gonna kill ya.

Sam: First of all, it's bad writing. It sounds like it was written by a high school girl.
Helen: Is there something wrong with the way a woman writes?
Sam: There usually is when she's in high school.

Cultural References
C.J.: You guys are like Butch and Sundance peering over the edge of a cliff to the boulder-filled rapids 300 feet below.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (Harry Alonzo Longabaugh) are notorious bank and train robbers from the 19th century.

Episode Title: The Fall's Gonna Kill You

The episode title comes from a line from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. During the movie, Cassidy and Sundance are on a cliff and Sundance doesn't want to jump into the river below because he can't swim, but Butch tells him that the fall will probably kill him.

Other Episode Crew

MusicW.G. Snuffy Walden
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