What Kind of Day Has It Been

Infobox Television episode
Title = What Kind of Day Has It Been
Series = The West Wing


Caption =
Season = 1
Episode = 22
Airdate = May 7, 2000
Production = 225921
Writer = Aaron Sorkin
Director = Thomas Schlamme
Guests = Timothy Busfield
Jorja Fox
Janel Moloney
Elisabeth Moss
Suzy Nakamura
Michael O'Neill
John Amos
Tim Matheson
Episode list = List of "The West Wing" episodes
Season list = Infobox The West Wing season 1 episode list
Prev =
Next =

"What Kind of Day Has It Been" is the 22nd episode of "The West Wing", the season finale of the show's first season. It originally aired on NBC May 7, 2000.cite web|url=http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/episode_guide/22.shtml|title=What Kind of Day Has It Been|accessdate=2007-05-27|publisher=NBC.com] Events circle around the attempted rescue of a US fighter pilot in Iraq, and the president taking part in a town hall meeting in Rosslyn, Virginia. The episode was written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Thomas Schlamme, and marked the last appearance of Moira Kelly on the show.cite web|url=http://www.westwingepguide.com/S1/Episodes/22_WKODHIB.html|title=What Kind of Day Has It Been|accessdate=2007-05-27|publisher=The West Wing Episode Guide] cite web | url = http://www.tv.com/the-west-wing/what-kind-of-day-has-it-been/episode/809/summary.html?tag=ep_list;ep_title;21 | title = What Kind of Day Has It Been | publisher = TV.com | accessdate = 2007-05-28]

"What Kind of Day Has It Been" is also the name of the first season finales of both the series "Sports Night" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", which were both created by Thomas Schlamme & Aaron Sorkin. It was also a quote by Leo in the fourth season episode "Commencement" in the situation room. [cite web|url=http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/articles/content/a2221/index-11.html
title=Commencement|accessdate=2007-05-27|publisher=NBC.com
]

Plot

"What Kind of Day Has it Been" begins with the president attending a town hall meeting in Rosslyn, Virginia. As the entourage exit the building, Secret Service Agent Gina Toscano seems to sense danger from the window of an overlooking building. The story is then told in retrospect, going back to the start of the day, with President Bartlet preparing for the town hall question and answer session that evening. Meanwhile, the Secret Service are becoming increasingly concerned about threats on the life of the President's youngest daughter, Zoey, and her black boyfriend, the President's personal aide, Charlie, from White Supremacist groups. In addition to this, the military are performing a delicate rescue mission of an American pilot, stranded in Iraq, with Iraqi security forces trying to find him.

Toby is worried, because his brother is in a space shuttle orbiting Earth but unable to land due to some technical problems. Josh has to put some pressure on Vice President Hoynes, on the subject of campaign finance reform. C.J. has to lie to the press to keep the Iraqi rescue mission covert, but doing so she incurs the anger of reporter Danny Concannon.

Returning to the town hall meeting, the evening is turning into a great success for the whole Bartlet administration. The pilot was saved without any bloodshed and while Bartlet is answering questions, the news comes through that the shuttle carrying Toby's brother is safe. As the senior staff come out of the building laughing and joking, Gina tells Zoey to get in the car, made nervous by the sight of a young man who doesn't seem to fit with the crowd. Suddenly, he looks up to a window and removes his hat, before disappearing. As Gina turns around, she spots the shooters in a window and yells a warning, screaming "GUN!" Suddenly shots ring out. Scenes show each member of the senior staff being thrown to the ground by agents and chaos erupting. As the scene pans out to show the carnage, a Secret Service agent can be heard on the radio, asking "Who's been hit?! Who's been hit?!"cite web|url=http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/articles/content/a2146/|title=What Kind of Day Has It Been|accessdate=2007-05-27|publisher=Television Without Pity]

Real-life connections

While waiting with Bartlet in the Oval office for news on the missing pilot, Admiral Fitzwallace makes an observation on the presidential seal. The eagle on the seal holds an olive branch in its right talons and arrows in its left, and faces towards the olive branch. Yet when Congress declares war, he says, the eagle faces the arrows. This is an urban legend; though the design of the seal has changed over time, President Truman decided by Executive Order 9646, in 1945, that the eagle should always face right, towards the olive branch. [cite web | url = http://www.snopes.com/history/american/turnhead.asp | title = A Turn of the Head | publisher = Snopes | accessdate = 2007-05-28]

President Bartlet's supposed ancestor Josiah Bartlett (written with two 't's), of whom the president speaks during the town hall meeting, was in fact one of the signators of the Declaration of Independence. He later also served as Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court and as Governor of the state. [cite web | url = http://westwing.bewarne.com/discontinuity/constitution.html | title = Government Documents | publisher = The West Wing Continuity Guide | accessdate = 2007-05-28]

The leg of actress Jorja Fox, playing Agent Gina Toscano, was accidentally run over during the final scene. She was rushed to emergency but was fine and came away with only bruises. [cite web | url = http://www.post-gazette.com/tv/20000725owen.asp | title = Giving Her All | publisher = Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | author = Rob Owen | date = 2000-07-25 | accessdate = 2007-05-28]

Reception

"The West Wing"'s first season finale was nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Single Camera Picture Editing for a Series (Tina Hirsch). This was one of two Emmy nominations the series received in this category for 2000, the other being for episode 10, "In Excelsis Deo" (Bill Johnson).cite web | url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200276/awards | title = Awards for “The West Wing” | publisher = IMDb | accessdate = 2007-05-28] In the end the award was won by ER though, [cite web | url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108757/awards | title = Awards for “ER” | publisher = IMDb | accessdate = 2007-05-28] yet Hirsch did win an Eddie Award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for Television. "What Kind of Day Has It Been" was also one of eight episodes submitted for the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy, which the first season won. The other seven episodes were: "The Pilot," "The Crackpots and These Women," "In Excelsis Deo," "Take This Sabbath Day," "Celestial Navigation," "The White House Pro-Am," and "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet."

Yet in spite of the good reception there were those who believed the cliffhanger ending to the season was a cliché; that it was a cheap dramatic trick simply intended to maintain high ratings. The creators and cast members refuted this, and claimed that it was never intended as a traditional cliffhanger, but rather as a narrative device for exploring new story lines:

References

External links

* [http://www.nbc.com/The_West_Wing/episode_guide/22.shtml What Kind of Day Has It Been] at NBC.com.
* [http://www.westwingepguide.com/S1/Episodes/22_WKODHIB.html What Kind of Day Has It Been] at The West Wing Episode Guide.
* [http://westwing.bewarne.com/22day.html What Kind of Day Has It Been] at The West Wing Continuity Guide.
* [http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/articles/content/a2146/ What Kind of Day Has It Been] recap at Television Without Pity.
* [http://www.tv.com/the-west-wing/what-kind-of-day-has-it-been/episode/809/summary.html?tag=ep_list;ep_title;21 What Kind of Day Has It Been] at TV.com.
* [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0745728/ What Kind of Day Has It Been] at the Internet Movie Database.


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