Isaac and Ishmael

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Aired: Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Rating: 18.0/26

Review by Toniann

Written by Aaron Sorkin
Directed by Christopher Misiano

Guest starring
Ajay Naidu
Michael O'Neill as Ron Butterfield
Jonathan Nichols
Jeanette Brox
Cyd Strittmatter as Joan
Frantz Turner as Agent Greg
Susie Geiser as Marjorie Mann
Mongo Brownlee as secret service agent
Josh Zuckerman as boy #1
Ben Donovan as boy #2
Marcus Toh as boy #3
Arjay Smith as boy #4
Kristine Woo as girl #1
Chastity Dotson as girl #2
Dan Horton as agent #1
Willie Gault as agent #2
William J. Jones as FBI agent

TV Guide reports that although the students in this episode were actors, the program that brought their characters to the White House – Presidential Classroom (PC) – is real. West Wing creator and executive producer Aaron Sorkin heard about PC – created in 1968 to give America's top high school students an opportunity to learn about the three branches of the federal government firsthand – when he was in high school.

PC's more than 92,000 alumni include Sen. Robert Torricelli (Democrat, New Jersey), Rep. Chet Edwards (Democrat, Texas), actress Angela Bassett and TV Guide assistant photo editor Alex de Toth. "I was kind of ostracized for being this tall, smart geek," says the 6-foot-2 de Toth, 23, who attended PC in 1994. "You realize you can be smart and have an interest in politics and not be considered a nerd," she says. The office of Ginger King, PC dean and chief operating officer, was not consulted on the episode, but King says, "[The show] represented our program and students very well as the brightest of the bright." Still, she did notice discrepancies: "We would have required all our students to wear our Presidential Classroom badge." -Ty Holland

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