It’s in the second season, during the episode titled “17 People.” This is a fantastic episode–one that shows the incredible talent of Richard Schiff (who plays the curmudgeonly, patriotic Toby Ziegler)–in which, among other things: Toby is made the 17th Person to discover that President Bartlet has MS; Ainsley Hayes (my favorite Republican on television) reveals that she is a Smithie; and Sam & Ainsley have a fantastic argument about the need (or lack thereof) for the Equal Rights Amendment.
But the very best moment in the whole show is when Donna and Josh peel off from the rest of the group, and she confesses that she came to work for the White House not (as he’s always believed) when her boyfriend dumped her, but when she dumped him–because the tool stopped to have a drink with friends on the way to pick her up from the hospital after she had been in a car accident:
Josh gets superior (as he does), and says:
“I’m just saying that if you were in an accident, I wouldn’t stop for a beer.”
“If you were in an accident I wouldn’t stop for red lights.”
ok. le sigh.
But if that weren’t enough, here’s the kicker. The audience knows in that moment (if they didn’t already) that Josh and Donna are destined to be. But the stellar writing staff of the show doesn’t give in to what I am certain was an overwhelming desire to just-get-them-together-already-and-have-them-make-out. They go another five seasons before we get the smooch we want here in season two.
And OMG it’s worth it.
And that is just one of the many reasons why I think The West Wing is the greatest thing that has ever been on television.