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I don't think anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it.
—Richard L. Evans
(16 hours 30 minutes)
|Sorting Category:||TV Show|
Synopsis: Inside the lives of staffers in the West Wing of the White House.
Reaction: Great first season to a fantastic series.
Personal Rating: ...
Select Guest Cast
|Aaron Lustig|| => ||Senate Aide (Let Bartlet Be Bartlet)|
|Andy Buckley|| => ||Mike Satchel (Let Bartlet Be Bartlet)|
|Paul Provenza|| => ||Steve Onorato, Aide to the Sen. Maj. Leader (Let Bartlet Be Bartlet)|
|Allison Smith|| => ||Mallory O'Brien (Pilot)|
|Annie Corley|| => ||Mary Marsh (Pilot)|
|Devika Parikh|| => ||Bonnie (Pilot)|
|F. William Parker|| => ||Rev. Al Caldwell (Pilot)|
|Lisa Edelstein|| => ||Laurie (Pilot)|
|Mindy Seeger|| => ||Reporter #3 (Pilot)|
|Suzy Nakamura|| => ||Cathy (Pilot)|
|Austin Pendleton|| => ||Barry Haskell (Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics)|
|David Huddleston|| => ||Sen. Max Lobell, R (Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics)|
|Reiko Aylesworth|| => ||Janine (Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics)|
|Bill O'Brien|| => ||Kenny Thurman (Take This Sabbath Day)|
|Karl Malden|| => ||Father Thomas Cavanaugh (Take This Sabbath Day)|
|Marlee Matlin|| => ||Joey Lucas (Take This Sabbath Day)|
|Noah Emmerich|| => ||Bobby Zane (Take This Sabbath Day)|
|Bob Balaban|| => ||Ted Marcus (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Christopher Shea|| => ||Man #2 (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|David Hasselhoff|| => ||David Hasselhoff (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Jay Leno|| => ||Jay Leno (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|John de Lancie|| => ||Al Kiefer (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Jorja Fox|| => ||Agent Gina Toscano (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Robert Pine|| => ||Greer (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Veronica Webb|| => ||Veronica Webb (20 Hours in L.A.)|
|Bradley James|| => ||Secret Service Agent (Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc)|
|Jana Lee Hamblin|| => ||Bobbi (Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc)|
|Renée Estevez|| => ||Nancy (as Renee Estevez) (Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc)|
|CCH Pounder|| => ||Deborah O'Leary, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development (Celestial Navigation)|
|Vaughn Armstrong|| => ||Sgt. MacNamara (Celestial Navigation)|
|Charley Lang|| => ||Congressman Skinner (Mr. Willis of Ohio)|
|Eric Balfour|| => ||Frat Boy #3 (Mr. Willis of Ohio)|
|Michael O'Neill|| => ||Secret Service Agent Ron Butterfield (Mr. Willis of Ohio)|
|Clyde Kusatsu|| => ||Joe (Lord John Marbury)|
|Erick Avari|| => ||Pakistani Ambassador (as Eric Avari) (Lord John Marbury)|
|Iqbal Theba|| => ||Indian Ambassador (Lord John Marbury)|
|Roger Rees|| => ||Lord John Marbury (Lord John Marbury)|
|Edward James Olmos|| => ||Mendoza (The Short List)|
|Harry Groener|| => ||Secretary of Agriculture Roger Tribbey (He Shall, from Time to Time...)|
|James Handy|| => ||Rep. Joseph Bruno, R-PA (Take Out the Trash Day)|
|Jay Underwood|| => ||Congressman Christopher Wick (Five Votes Down)|
|Victor Love|| => ||Reporter Mike (Five Votes Down)|
|John Amos|| => ||Percy Fitzwallace (A Proportional Response)|
|Kathleen York|| => ||Andrea Wyatt (Mandatory Minimums)|
|Kim Webster|| => ||Ginger (In Excelsis Deo)|
|Raynor Scheine|| => ||Homeless Man (In Excelsis Deo)|
|Nick Offerman|| => ||Jerry (The Crackpots and These Women)|
|Richard Fancy|| => ||Congressman (The White House Pro-Am)|
|William Lucking|| => ||Bobby Russo (The State Dinner)|
Random Trivia For This Title:
- Janel Moloney originally auditioned for the part of CJ Cregg. After being cast as Donna, she was never supposed to be a regular. Co-star Bradley Whitford pointed out the obvious chemistry between the characters of Josh and Donna, and Aaron Sorkin agreed. Nevertheless, Moloney was credited as a guest star for the entire first season. The first time her name appears in the opening credits, is in season two, episode one, "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part I." To the horror of her father, in particular, her last name was misspelled. This was subsequently corrected.
- During a 2014 Screen Actors Guild Foundation interview with Roger Rees (moderated by writer [?] Rick Elice, Rees's husband), Elice said that Rees had originally auditioned to play Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, and it eventually came down to a choice between Rees and John Spencer, who won the role. But after that process, Aaron Sorkin told Roger Rees that he would write a different part for him, which he did: Rees played the recurring character of British advisor (and eventually ambassador) Lord John Marbury throughout the show's run. Elice also said that Sorkin came to Rees for help with tracking down the composer of a piece of music that Sorkin remembered from the Royal Shakespeare Company 1982 production of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" that Sorkin wanted to use in the episode "Posse Comitatus"; Rees had played the title character in that production.
- Martin Sheen was originally only scheduled to appear in four episodes per season. It was only after the pilot was filmed, that it was decided to make him a regular cast member.
- Actors originally considered to play the President included Alan Alda, Sidney Poitier, and [?] Jason Robards Jr.
- Eugene Levy was considered to play Toby Ziegler.
- Bradley Whitford was originally cast as Sam. Whitford, who had read for the part of Josh, called Aaron Sorkin and told him "I'm not Sam, I'm Josh!".
- Edward James Olmos was asked to play Judge Mendoza on a semi-regular capacity, and even though he wanted to, he had just been offered the role on [American Family], a show he considered important to have on television at the time.
- At the 2000 Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Awards (the Emmys), the show won a record nine Emmy awards - the most for any season of a television series - and it was also only in its first season.
- In Excelsis Deo - A stuffed penguin is on a table during a scene in which Charlie and Ms Landingham are discussing why Ms Landingham is depressed over Christmas. This is the same penguin called "Hugsy" that Joey from [Friends] gives away to Rachael's daughter Emma.
- What Kind of Day Has It Been - During the taping of the final scene, Jorja Fox's foot was run over by one of the limousines. She continued working on the scene until Aaron Sorkin was informed by the driver of the car that her foot had been run over. She was taken to the hospital and treated for a broken foot before returning to work. According to Sorkin, Fox apologized and said that it was her fault for missing her mark.
- Six Meetings Before Lunch - Aaron Sorkin found Allison Janney lip syncing to [?] Ronny Jordan's The Jackal in her trailer, and wrote it into the episode. Janey was initially doing it too well, and was told to make it more awkward.
- A Proportional Response - The acronym BDA is used without explanation - it stands for "bomb damage assessment".
- Pilot - The first time President Bartlett is on screen, he is walking with a cane due to his biking accident. The last time he is seen, he is walking with a cane again (due to his MS), acting as an interesting character and series bookend.
- Take This Sabbath Day - This was Karl Malden's final acting role before his death on July 1, 2009.
- 20 Hours in L.A. - During a party Donna walks away from Josh to "Go stalk Matthew Perry". Matthew Perry goes on to appear in episode 20 of season 4. He also appears in Aaron Sorkin's later TV show [Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip] with Bradley Whitford who plays Josh Lyman.
- Lord John Marbury - Erick Avari, who plays the Pakistani ambassador, is Indian, while Iqbal Theba, who plays the Indian ambassador, is actually from Pakistan.
- In Excelsis Deo - After reading through the script, the Pentagon was very touched by the handling of the story line dealing with the death of a homeless veteran of the Korean conflict. In fact, they were so impressed that they gave the show access to film at Arlington National Cemetery, (ANC is administered by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington). The Department of Defense then supplied the Marine Honor Guard and chaplain, and set up the whole funeral. During the funeral scene, all persons in uniform are members of the U.S. Armed Forces, performing their actual roles in a military funeral. Richard Schiff, (Toby Zeigler) has said that it was such a powerful and moving story, that after every take, he broke down and cried.
- Enemies - China is in fact known for its romantic songs despite Sam Seaborne's sarcastic comment on the matter.
- A Proportional Response - John Amos (Fitzwallace) guest starred as Dulé Hill's (Charlie's) Uncle Burton on his later TV show [Psych].
- The Crackpots and These Women - Aaron Sorkin got the idea for a story about the NSC card after [?] George Stephanopoulos showed him his card. Press Secretary [?] Dee Dee Myers assured Sorkin that the card didn't exist, unaware that only certain people were issued one.
- Five Votes Down - While President is high on his back pills, he tells his aide Charlie that "Charlie's a great name." Martin Sheen, who plays President Bartlet, named his youngest son "Carlos" but nicknamed him "Charlie", i.e. Charlie Sheen.
- The State Dinner - "Indonesian" is indeed a language, albeit an invented one. It starts with Malay as its grammatical base, then adds vocabulary items from the various other languages of the islands.
- Five Votes Down - The long Steadicam shot in the episode teaser took thirteen takes and five hours of filming to accomplish.
- The State Dinner - CJ is asked and has told the Press that the First Lady will be wearing a "Gabriel Sanchez freshwater pearl necklace with tourmaline beads" and "will be carrying a Christina Bomba silk pleated organdy drawstring evening bag". Abbey Bartlet, when seen is neither carrying an evening bag (and most-likely would not, there would be no need), and is never wearing a necklace.
- The Crackpots and These Women - Leo's "Big Block of Cheese" story is true. [?] Andrew Jackson received an enormous block of cheese from the people of New York City, and when he hadn't touched it in two years, gave it to the people of D.C. to celebrate Washington's birthday. They finished it in two hours. Several years after this show went off the air, President Barack Obama also added a real "Big Block of Cheese Day" to his administration's schedule. On January 24, 2014, the Obama White House announced that in the spirit of both [?] Andrew Jackson and the television program [The West Wing], they would host a real version of the show's "Big Block of Cheese Day," in which White House officials would be available to answer questions from ordinary Americans (albeit online instead of in person, as the "cheese day" meetings were on the show).
|Episode Name||Disc||Side||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|Pilot||1||A||1||Thomas Schlamme||Aaron Sorkin||The West Wing staffers are introduced as each learns via phone or pager that the President was in a cycling accident. Josh faces the possible loss of his job after an on-air insult of a political opponent, which Toby tries to prevent by having Josh make a personal apology. Sam's fling the previous night with Laurie, who unbeknownst to Sam is a call girl, puts him in hot water, which he compounds when ineptly lecturing a class of 4th-graders about the White House and then asking their teacher which child is Leo's daughter.||8.8|
|Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc||1||A||2||Thomas Schlamme||Aaron Sorkin||Josh trumps a potential Democratic challenger in a masterful political move and then hires the challenger's chief of staff and ex-girlfriend Mandy Hampton. Toby tries to warn Sam away from his friendship with the call girl, but to Toby's horror, Sam seems intent on reforming her. CJ tries to spin the latest clash between President Bartlet and Vice President Hoynes. After an American plane is shot down carrying Bartlet's physician, Bartlet's response leaves Leo worried about the President's response.||8.3|
|A Proportional Response||1||A||3||Marc Buckland||Aaron Sorkin||After being offered "a proportional response" to the Syrian military's downing of a U.S. military plane on a medical mission (and carrying his newly named personal physician), the president demands an option that will have greater impact. Leo gradually must talk him down, while Bartlet snipes at everyone, including Abby. The president ultimately agrees to the initial option, but is not happy about it. Charlie Young is introduced as an applicant for a messenger job whom Josh decides to hire as Bartler's personal aide.||8.7|
|Five Votes Down||1||A||4||Michael Lehmann||Aaron Sorkin||When an admittedly weak gun-control bill the White House has been backing turns out to be five votes short of House passage, Josh makes deals and threats to several Democratic reps, while Leo appeals to Hoynes for help. Elsewhere, while working the bill, Leo misses his anniversary, which he tries in vain to atone for, but eventually his wife Jenny decides to leave him.||8.3|
|The Crackpots and These Women||1||B||1||Anthony Drazan||Aaron Sorkin||On the series' first "Big Block of Cheese" Day (nicknamed "Total Crackpot Day" by Josh), staffers meet with reps of various organizations causes, e.g., C.J. hosts a group that wants $900 million for a "wolves only" highway. The president has everyone to the residence for a homemade chili party, we learn about Mrs. Landingham's past, and Zoey is introduced to the group, including Charlie, for whom the intro soon becomes fateful (recurring romantic relationship throughout the series).||8.8|
|Mr. Willis of Ohio||1||B||2||Christopher Misiano||Aaron Sorkin||In the first of several episodes throughout the series' run that portrays ordinary Americans and how they interact with and ultimately affect the W.H., an Ohio middle school social studies teacher, a widower who has recently filled the brief remaining term of his late wife in the House, joins two other reps to meet with Toby and Mandy about changes to unfair rules in the U.S. Census written into the latest federal budget.||8.8|
|The State Dinner||1||B||3||Thomas Schlamme||Aaron Sorkin|
|While preparing for (and enduring) a state dinner for the newly-elected president of Indonesia, staff deal with a multitude of other problems: Josh and Mandy argue over the best way to handle an FBI standoff with militants in Idaho; Leo (and eventually Bartlet) intervenes in a negotiations between the Teamsters Union and national reps for the trucking industry; Toby tries to convince an Indonesian cabinet member to release a friend of his, an activist or incites anti-government protests, from prison.||8.4|
|Enemies||1||B||4||Alan Taylor||Ron Osborn|
|A crucial banking bill is at risk when political rivals of environmentally sensitive President Bartlet attach a land-use rider to it that would allow strip-mining some of the Montana wilderness. C.J. tries to stamp out rumors that the Chief Executive chastised the Vice President during a cabinet meeting. An overworked Leo isn't too keen on his independent daughter Mallory dating the handsome Sam. C.J. continues to fend-off the romantic charms of a perceptive reporter with a knack for sniffing out juicy stories.||8.1|
|The Short List||2||A||1||Bill D'Elia||Aaron Sorkin|
|When a Supreme Court justice retires, President Bartlet has a golden opportunity to impact the court's composition by nominating a favorite judge but when further study reveals the candidate's conflicting ideology, the President might change his mind and opt for another judge. In addition, a headline seeking congressman on the House Government Oversight Committee accuses the White House staff of substance abuse -- a dicey issue for one important member.||8.7|
|In Excelsis Deo||2||A||2||Alex Graves||Aaron Sorkin|
|When a homeless veteran dies on the National Mall and his body remains uncollected for hours, Toby becomes fixated on getting him a proper burial.||9.1|
|Episode Name||Disc||Side||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|Lord John Marbury||2||A||3||Kevin Rodney Sullivan||Aaron Sorkin|
|When India sends troops into Kashmir, President Bartlett calls for a British former ambassador to India to help out - over Leo's strong objections.||8.3|
|He Shall, from Time to Time...||2||A||4||Arlene Sanford||Aaron Sorkin||When the President collapses on the eve of his State of the Union, it's diagnosed as the flu. But when the First Lady cancels a trip and rushes home to look after him, Leo suspects the first family is hiding something about Bartlett's medical condition.||8.7|
|Take Out the Trash Day||2||B||1||Ken Olin||Aaron Sorkin||In preparation for the Friday night briefing for the Saturday papers and news broadcasts -- nicknamed "take out the trash day" because it disposes of all the stories the White House doesn't want heavy coverage on, and because Saturday is the least read paper of the week -- the staff take on a variety of chores: C.J. prepares to meet with the family of a Matthew Shepard-type victim of murder just because he was gay, and discovers something unexpected about the young man's reticent father.||8.6|
|Take This Sabbath Day||2||B||2||Thomas Schlamme||Aaron Sorkin||A drug dealer's appeal of the federal death penalty is rejected by the Supreme Court, which upholds the death sentence with execution scheduled for the following Monday. One of the defense lawyers on the case is Sam's old high school bully, and he appeals directly to Sam to involve the president. During a weekend in which he was supposed to be in a yacht race, Sam opts to stay at the W.H. and try to convince his fellow staffers and ultimately Bartlet that the president should commute the sentence.||8.9|
|Celestial Navigation||2||B||3||Christopher Misiano||Aaron Sorkin||In a lecture at Georgetown, Josh recalls the previous week at the White House, during which he replaced a dentally impaired C.J. in the press room and gave a memorably disastrous briefing, responding to a reporter's question (sarcastically, although taken quite seriously) that the White House had a secret plan to fight inflation. Meanwhile, he's intermittently on the phone with Toby and Sam, who have flown to Connecticut and are now lost in a rental car on the Connecticut Turnpike.||9.0|
|20 Hours in L.A.||2||B||4||Alan Taylor||Aaron Sorkin||The President meets Zoey's new bodyguard on a 20-hour trip to California; Josh tries to keep a fund raiser from being canceled; Leo needs the VP to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate.||8.1|
|The White House Pro-Am||3||A||1||Ken Olin||Aaron Sorkin||When the Federal Reserve Chairman dies, Bartlet must quickly choose a successor in order to avoid a financial chaos. However, he is reluctant to pick the obvious choice for Fed Chair, who used to be Abby's boyfriend. The matter is worsened when Danny Concanon receives a quote from the first lady saying she supports her ex-boyfriend, leaving Bartlett more irate. Meanwhile, Josh and Toby are courting congressman in order to get more votes for a bill they already won. However, a congresswoman, who felt 'betrayed' by Abby, poses a threat to the bill.||7.9|
|Six Meetings Before Lunch||3||A||2||Clark Johnson||Aaron Sorkin||The morning after Mendoza's confirmation, various staff members are brought back to earth by difficult meetings.||8.3|
|Let Bartlet Be Bartlet||3||A||3||Laura Innes||Aaron Sorkin||The West Wing staff are feeling malaise as it seems they never get anything accomplished. Meanwhile, a leaked memo is a land mine that could embarrass the administration.||9.0|
|Mandatory Minimums||3||B||1||Robert Berlinger||Aaron Sorkin||A newly energized administration prepares to take on soft money, increase addiction treatment, and remove mandatory minimum sentencing.||8.4|
|Episode Name||Disc||Side||Disc Order||Directors||Writers||Synopsis||IMDB|
|Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics||3||B||2||Don Scardino||Aaron Sorkin||The staff waits for a poll to tell them if their new, activist policies are moving them in the right direction. C.J. feels like her opinions are being discounted.||8.7|
|What Kind of Day Has It Been||3||B||3||Thomas Schlamme||Aaron Sorkin||A stealth fighter is shot down over Iraq, leading to Bartlet ordering a military rescue as Toby worries about his brother trapped on a space shuttle orbiting the Earth. CJ deals with the ramifications of misleading the press about the rescue as the staff prepares for a town hall meeting that night. The town hall meeting goes well until the President leaves...and shots ring out.||9.2|