The Red Mass (Episode 404)
First Aired: Wednesday, 9th October, 2002
Teleplay: Aaron Sorkin
Story: Eli Attie
Director: Vincent Misiano











You're Just Having That Day Today?
Josh's office. He reads the Sports section of the paper in extreme irritation while venting to Donna.

JOSH: Just throw strikes! I don't understand why that can't happen! You have a three-run lead--just throw strikes! I mean, my God!
DONNA: Honestly.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: You want to see the wires?
JOSH: I'll tell you something else--in a situation with a runner on first who's a threat to score and a batter at the plate who's going to be intentionally passed, why not just pitch out four times?
DONNA: Makes me nutsy.
JOSH: What are the wires?
DONNA: The latest on the stand off in Iowa, the final recommendation from the debate commission and Ritchie to the AMA, which just ended a few minutes ago.
JOSH: Give me the AMA.
DONNA: And you have Senior Staff.
JOSH: You know, there comes a day in every man's life--and it's a hard day--but there comes a day when he realises he's never going to play professional baseball.
DONNA: You're just having that day today?
JOSH: Yes I am. You understand--you're going to be walking a guy anyway, you're going to be throwing four balls, why not just ...
DONNA: Pitch out.
JOSH: Yeah. Why not just ... you know, to ... catch the runner. (he trails off, deep in thought about something he's just read from the wire copy Donna gave him)
DONNA: What is it?
JOSH: I know how Ritchie's going to win this election.








They'll Probably Be On A T-Shirt, Won't They?
Bullpen. Josh approaches Donna at her desk.

JOSH: Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?
DONNA: I'm going bike riding, as a matter of fact, and then I'm meeting some friends for lunch, and then I'm having my nails done.
JOSH: God, that sounds great--if only you were actually doing all those things.
DONNA: Yeah, yeah, what.
JOSH: Teddy Tomba.
DONNA: What about him?
JOSH: Well, he has millions of followers worldwide, has a $20 billion dollar empire of self-help seminars--
DONNA: I know who Teddy Tomba is!
JOSH: --Work books, board games--
DONNA: Seminars?
JOSH: Capitol Sheraton, tomorrow morning, 10 a.m. Your registration's been pre-paid.
DONNA: Why?
JOSH: We're efficient.
DONNA: Why am I going?
JOSH: He's consulted for Ritchie in the last few weeks, and I would like for that to be embarrassing for Ritchie.
DONNA: Really.
JOSH: Yes.
DONNA: Well that lacks a certain nobility of purpose, doesn't it?
JOSH: I don't believe it does. Write down any key slogans or philosophies or insructions.
DONNA: They'll probably be on a t-shirt, won't they?
JOSH: Probably. You know what I'm looking for.
DONNA: Should I go in disguise?
JOSH: As what?
DONNA: Somebody who would go to one of these things.
JOSH: Meet me here at the office when you're done.
(Donna walks away, glaring at Josh over her shoulder as she does)








I Located The Light Switch
Bullpen / Josh's Office. Donna is wholly absorbed in a book as Josh walks up to her.

JOSH: Hey.
DONNA: Hmm? Hello.
JOSH: How was it?
DONNA: I'm sorry?
JOSH: How was it?
DONNA: It was ... I don't know, it was ... I don't--I don't think maybe I'm not ready to talk about it yet.
JOSH: What was--
DONNA: It was a transforming--no, that's the wrong word. "We are not transformed--we locate the light switch." (smiles to herself) I own myself, Josh. You don't mind if I say that out loud at frequent intervals with no provocation for a little while, do you?
JOSH: Why?
DONNA: Because I live my life out loud.
JOSH: You're reading the book?
DONNA: The Owner's Manual.
JOSH: Are you serious?
DONNA: No, you idiot--I need a shower!
JOSH: All right.
DONNA: I've got like, radioactive stuff all over me!
JOSH: And you call me a snob?
DONNA: Please. It was like a meeting of the 'There but for the Grace of God' society.
JOSH: Anybody ask you out?
DONNA: Shut up.
JOSH: So? Report to me--what did he say?
DONNA: Why is this important?
JOSH: What did he say?
DONNA: This is cheap!
JOSH: (looks at the book) I'll say.
DONNA: I'm talking about this! So the guy's consulted for Ritchie--he-he's a buffoon, but he's harmless. Why should this be part of the campaign?
JOSH: Because it's not harmless to an American president.
DONNA: Nothing he said was wrong or objectionable. As opposed to the man sitting next to me, whose name was Fern.
JOSH: Open this book to any page. (she does, and hands it back to him) Okay, well ... this is an order form to buy Owning Yourself, follow-up to the worldwide best seller--
DONNA: --Leasing Yourself.
JOSH: (clears his throat and reads) "It's good to be trapped in a corner; that's when you act."
DONNA: That happens to be true.
JOSH: It is. In my case, it's the only time that I do.
DONNA: So?
JOSH: It's Immanuel Kant! "Duty! Sublime and mighty name that embraces nothing charming or insinuating but requires submission ..." Every year, a million freshman philosophy students read that sentence--
DONNA: --And change their major?
JOSH: You've just got a mouth full of wise-ass today, don't you?
DONNA: I located the light switch.
JOSH: Could you locate it again?
DONNA: So he cribbed Kant. Isn't that what you're supposed to do?
JOSH: It comes from a 193-page book called A Critique of Practical Reason. It's about metaphysics and epistomology. Tomba's impressively boiled it down to two-thirds of one page. Give me another one.
DONNA: "Look outside the cave."
JOSH: Right. That's from an old paperback called The Republic by Plato. Luckily Tomba's been able to fit it on a fortune cookie so it suits the attention span of the Republican nominee. Here he quotes Robert Frost: "Good fences make good neighbours." Did he talk about that?
DONNA: Yeah.
JOSH: What did he say?
DONNA: Basically, that if you stay within your personal space, you'll end up getting along fine with everyone.
JOSH: You had to study modern poetry.
DONNA: Yes.
JOSH: Is that what Frost meant?
DONNA: No, he meant that boundaries are what alienate us from each other.
JOSH: Why did he say "Good fences make good neighbours?"
DONNA: He was being ironic. But I still don't see--
JOSH: What does it remind you of? (he mimics Ritchie) "I believe in hope, not fear!" ... "I'm a leader, not a politician!" ... "It's time for an American leader!" ... "America's earned a change!" .... "I before E except after C!" ... It's fortune cookie candidacy! These are important thinkers! And understanding them can be very useful, and it's not ever going to happen at a four-hour seminar when the President's got an embassy surrounded in Haiti or a keyhole photograph of a heavy water reactor or any of the 50 life-and-death matters that walk across his desk every day. I don't know if he's thinking about Immanuel Kant or not--I doubt it, but if he does, I am comforted at least in my certainty that he is doing his best to reach for all of it, and not just the McNuggets. (beat) Is it possible we would be willing to require any less of the person sitting in that chair? The low road? I don't think it is.
DONNA: All right. I'll go through the book this weekend, highlight some things and I'll trace it back.
JOSH: Yeah. Make sure--
DONNA: I said I'd do it, Buckminister!
JOSH: (beat) Guy named Fern?
DONNA: Don't talk to me about Fern.
JOSH: You sure it wasn't Vern?
DONNA: No, I thought it was Vern, but it's Fern.
JOSH: Let me know when the report gets in.




Many thanks to The West Wing Collection for the wonderful screencaps!