The West Wing
The Lost Episode.
by Sal Rosken
March 9, 2003
Dear Mr. Sorkin,
I am a great fan of your show so I was very distressed to learn that as a result of Mr. Sheen's recent political activities the show may lose some of it's popularity with its viewers. I would hate to see such a great show go off the air for such a reason. I think the only way to deal with this situation is to confront the issue head on. Let the public know you are aware of the issue and are ready to tackle even the most controversial political topics of the day. To help in that regard I am submitting for your kind review a script for the next episode. Please let me know of your interest in producing this treatment.
All characters portrayed are completely fictional and any similarity or resemblance to real people living or dead is unintended and purely coincidental. Events portrayed may include real historical figures, but since the events themselves are fictional, any statements or actions by those historical figures may also be understood to be fictional.
Leo and President Bartlet striding quickly down a corridor.
Leo: Mr. President, we have a serious situation.
Bartlet: Can it wait Leo? I have a dinner date with Abbey. I'm already late and I'm hoping to get lucky tonight.
Leo: Well Mr. President, this is kinda important. I think you might want…
Bartlet: Want what? To cancel a dinner date with my wife? Are you crazy?
Leo: No, sir.
Leo and Bartlet reach end of corridor and turn right down another corridor where they are joined by Toby who emerges from an adjoining corridor. All three stride quickly down new corridor.
Toby: Mr. President, if you don't mind I'm going to need a minute of your time.
Bartlet: Tell him Leo.
Leo: Toby, the President has a very important meeting he is trying to make and is running late.
Toby: O.K., but I think Mr. President you should know…
Leo, Toby and Bartlet reach end of corridor and turn left down another corridor where they are joined by C.J. who emerges from an adjoining corridor. All four stride quickly down new corridor.
C.J.: Mr. President, I'm afraid I have some bad news.
Bartlet: (turning over his shoulder to answer) Not now C.J., I'm late for…
Leo: The President has a very pressing matter on his mind C.J.
C.J.: But Mr. President, this is very serious.
Bartlet: Jesus. Can't I just once get lucky?
Leo, Toby, Bartlet, and C.J. reach end of corridor and turn right, down another corridor where they are joined by Josh who emerges from another adjoining corridor. All five stride quickly down new corridor.
Josh to Toby: Have you told…?
Toby: Not yet.
Josh: We better tell…
C.J.: Leo, tell him.
Leo: Mr. President I really think you ought to…
Leo, Toby, Bartlet, CJ and Josh reach end of corridor and turn left, down another corridor where they are joined by Sam who emerges from another adjoining corridor. All six stride quickly down new corridor.
Sam to Josh: Hey.
Sam: What's up?
Josh: Trying to tell…
Toby: Mr. President the situation is …
C.J.: Can we please just stop a minute? My shoes are killing me.
Bartlet: (again over his shoulder) The race is to the swift C.J. The race is to the swift.
Leo: Watch out Mr. Pres….
Bartlet trips and falls. Leo trips and falls over Bartlet, Toby trips and falls over Leo, C.J. trips and falls over Toby, Josh trips and falls over C.J., Sam trips and falls over Josh. All land in a pile in the center of the corridor.
Leo: (struggling on the floor) Thank God. I thought that would never end.
Bartlet: (sitting up on floor, irritated) Well all right then, what is so damn important. And this better be good.
Leo, CJ, Josh, Sam, Toby: (all speaking at once) Unintelligible
Bartlet: (shouting) One at a time! One at a time! Leo you first.
Leo: Well Mr. President. (hesitantly) Barbra Streisand has issued a manifesto. In it she calls you a fascist dictator just like the Ancient Greek Julius Caesar and urges America to rise up in Resurrection.
Bartlet: A manifesto?
Leo: Yes sir. It says you are worse than Spain's Noriega.
Leo: There's more. In the manifesto, she compares you to Shakespeare's villainous character Bill Sikes.
Leo: And she says if you don't leave Saddam Hussein in Iran to enjoy his Sinatra albums and Southern Comfort in peace, you should be tried for war crimes in the Vague.
Bartlet: The Vague? Is she serious?
Toby: I'm afraid that's not all Mr. President. Alec Baldwin…
Bartlet: Is he still here?
Toby: Yes sir.
Bartlet: I thought he was leaving the country?
Toby: Yes sir.
Bartlet: Toby, never trust a man who doesn't keep his word.
Toby: Yes sir. Alec Baldwin has threatened never to make another movie if you don't resign immediately.
Bartlet: What was his last movie?
Leo, Toby, CJ, Josh and Sam look at each other searchingly. All shrug their shoulders.
Bartlet: Do you think he's serious?
Toby: Word on the street says he's willing to negotiate. He wants a bigger trailer with bottled spring water and a full gym and a point and a half of the gross.
Bartlet: Leo, call Jack Valente. See what he can do. Anything else?
Sam: Yes, Mr. President.
Bartlet: Somehow I knew there would be. Let's have it.
Sam: Well it seems a group calling itself the Tattooed Celebrities for Saddam Hussein are going on a tattoo strike.
Bartlet: A tattoo strike?
Josh: What about body piercing?
Sam: They didn't mention anything about body piercing.
Bartlet: Go on.
Sam: Well they threaten never to get another tattoo until Saddam Hussein is free to govern the Kurds and Shiites as he sees fit - as is his God given right.
Toby: Mr. President, I'm afraid I have worse news.
Bartlet: Worse than a Tattoo strike?
Toby: I'm afraid so.
Bartlet: Lay it on.
Toby: Well sir, Harry Belafonte is demanding America provide reparations to Saddam Hussein, the Ayatollah Khameini and Kim Jong Il for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of America's interference with their plans to execute their political opponents, control their media and starve their people.
Bartlet: He demanded reparations?
Toby: Yes sir. And…
Bartlet: And what?
Toby: Well sir, he said Admiral Fitzwallace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was an Uncle Tom serving his Plantation bosses and he should…should…
Bartlet: Tally me banana?
Toby: I'm afraid so Mr. President.
Bartlet: CJ, you look like you have something you want to say.
C.J.: Yes, Mr. President.
C.J.: I'm sorry Mr. President but Susan Sarandon, Mike Farrell and Ed Asner are threatening to lead a Million Man Hollywood Award Winners March down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
President: Are there a million Hollywood Award winners?
Toby: At least, what with the Oscars, the Emmys, the Daytime Emmys, the People's Choice Awards, the Critic's Choice Awards, the Grammy Awards, the Kennedy Center Awards, the NY Film Critics Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the…
Bartlet: I had no idea.
Sam: Variety puts the number at two and a half to three million.
Leo: And that's not counting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award winners.
C.J.: Mr. President, this is serious. That much Vanity and Ego located in one place at one time will seriously deplete the nation's supply of hairdressers, makeup artists and dress designers.
Josh: Not to mention the run on the markets for rhinestones and sequins.
All struggle to their feet.
Bartlet: What is going on out there? Is it something in the water? Have the vibrations from the earthquakes shaken something loose? Leo, what do the Think Tanks say?
Leo: Mr. President, the guys over at TV Guide say all those Reality TV shows have seriously hurt the Hollywood fantasy industry; cut into their demographics big time, so in order to fight back they are now trying to take reality and treat it as fantasy.
Bartlet: But that's crazy, not to mention extremely dangerous.
Leo: I know Mr. President. I know.
Bartlet: (excitedly) Before we know it we'll have actors who only play Presidents thinking they actually are Presidents. They'll be going before the public, as if they were elected, making policy pronouncements as if they actually knew something about foreign policy.
Leo: I know Mr. President. I know. It's all the fault of that Stanislavsky guy and the Method.
C.J.: What should we do Mr. President?
Bartlet: I'm going to have to sleep on this. I had no idea things were this serious. I am going to have to give this some serious consideration.
Leo, Toby, C.J., Josh, Sam: (in unison) Thank you Mr. President.
End of Scene.
Cut to President Bartlet and Abigail in the Presidential private living quarters sitting at a small candlelit table set for two, each holding a glass of wine about to toast each other.
Abigail: How was your day dear?
Bartlet: OK I guess, some problems out West.
Abigail: Nothing terrible I hope?
Bartlet: Nothing I can't handle. After all, I am a member of Mensa, an undefeated Grandmaster chess champion, a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, a world renowned economist who was nominated for the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes, the winner of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition two years running, a top money earner on the PGA tour, a black belt grand master in both karate and jujitsu, a Certified Financial Planner and, did I mention, Ambidextrous.
Abigail: Oh, Jed I love it when you recite your curriculum vitae. (Provocatively) Are you feeling lucky tonight?
The door to the Presidential private quarters swings open.
Bartlet and Abigail startled.
Leo and Admiral Fitzwallace (carrying a file under his arm) enter hurriedly through the door.
Leo: (apologetically) I'm very sorry Mr. President. Good Evening Mrs. Bartlet.
Abigail: (resigned) Hello Leo. Admiral.
Admiral Fitzwallace: M'am
Bartlet: (exasperated) What is it now Leo?
Leo to Admiral Fitzwallace: Tell him.
Admiral Fitzwallace steps forward: Mr. President, Strategic Air Command has just confirmed North Korea launched a nuclear armed ballistic missile about 20 minutes ago. It is now well past half way across the Pacific heading our way.
Bartlet: (stunned) Do we know its trajectory and where it's going to hit?
Admiral Fitzwallace: Yes Sir. (reading from file) Based upon the calculations of SACs tracking of the missile's flight trajectory and speed it is going to hit in about 10 minutes.
Bartlet: (alarmed) Ten minutes? Where?
Admiral Fitzwallace: (looking down at file) Let's see, according to SAC - Hollywood California.
Bartlet: (reflectively) Hollywood?
Leo: (excitedly) We can scramble F-16 intercept fighters to try to shoot the missile down Mr. President. SAC says they have a 50/50 chance of success.
Admiral Fitzwallace: (assuredly) We can also activate the experimental STAR WARS anti missile defense system as a last resort if the F-16 intercept fighters fail to shoot the missile down. We don't know if it will work, but it's worth a try.
Silence. Long Pause
Leo and Admiral Fitzwallace exchange glances.
Leo: Mr. President?
Silence. Long Pause
Leo: (urgently) There's not much time Mr. President.
Tight Closeup of President Bartlet.
He raises his hand to his chin in deep thought.
Fade to black.
Leo: Mr. President?
Well Mr. Sorkin there it is. What do you think? By the way if you decide to use my treatment, I want a point and a half of the gross.
About the Author:
Sal Rosken is a private investor living in New York.
This article was printed from www.partialobserver.com.
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